That is a question the City of Spokane Ethics Commission will have to answer.
“Did Mayor David Condon lie to the City Council when he told them that the Monique Cotton/Frank Straub Affair had nothing to do with the termination of the Mayor’s really rotten hire of Frank Straub as Chief of Police for the City of Spokane.”
The hearing lasted approximately four hours, and unfortunately was conducted as a “Contested Hearing” which prohibited the Ethics Commission from hearing all the evidence available to them unless they took it upon, or take it upon, themselves to review voluminous evidence available for their decision-making process.
Having studied all the available evidence I obtained through the PRR I submitted regarding the “Cotton/Straub Affair”, and the response to which was intentionally delayed by Mayor Condon until well after his election, I know full well that for the Ethics Commission to study all the evidence, it would consume a good amount of their own time.
The complainant in the case against Condon, Joe Shogan, did subpoena me as a witness, I did comply with the subpoena and was the first to testify. Not everyone Shogan had subpoenaed showed up including a critical witness City Administrator Teresa Sanders, who had previously been fined by the Ethics Commission for false public comments and played a major part in delaying the response to my PRR until after Mayor Condon’s election. Other no shows were Amber Waldref, and Breean Beggs. I should probably point out that an individual does not have to comply with an “Administrative Subpoena” and the only way the Ethics Commission an enforce their Administrative Subpoena is to obtain a court order for compliance in Superior Court.
It took a while to get the logistics for positioning witnesses for their testimony/questioning ironed out, but eventually it was and likely will be used in future hearings.
Mayor Condon’s lawyer Jim King, as anticipated, objected to my testimony as being too narrative, and of course after Ethics Commission Vice-Chair Brian Steverson who honchoed the hearing consulted with former City Prosecutor Milt Roland who is now legal counsel for the Ethics Commission, Steverson sustained King’s objection. Steverson did always defer to Milt Roland when there was an objection, and there were lots, the majority f which were sustained.
One of the funny things regarding my testimony is when Mr. King tried to imply to the Ethics Commission that I was violating the terms of the settlement agreement with Mayor Condon and the City by discussing the settlement, nothing of course could be further from the truth since as hard as the Mayor and the City tried, I absolutely refused to have confidentiality be a part of any settlement agreement. When I pointed out that Mr. King himself represented Mayor Condon during that process and he knew full well there was no confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement, he had no further questions for some reason. I testify that during the process of exposing the Cotton/Straub Affair and the intentional delay of providing responsive records to me, Mayor Condon kept the City Council completely in the dark about what was going on with the Cotton/Straub Affair even to the point that then Council Member Jon Snyder had to submit his own PRR requesting that he receive everything I did in response to my PRR.
I think a reasonable person could, if they wanted to, draw the conclusion that Mayor Condon tried so hard to keep the details of the Cotton/Straub Affair from the City Council back then that it would only make sense that he wouldn’t want to admit that Monique Cotton had anything to do with his rotten hire of Frank Straub and Straub’s subsequent termination.
It is too bad Teresa Sanders didn’t show, I would have liked to have heard Mr. Shogan ask her why she lied in this email to Laurie Farnsworth.
Of course, after a long drawn out battle we learned that Sanders did in fact have a lot of responsive records including text messages and interview notes, but who in the heck would want that kind of bad stuff made public…right?
During the hearing there was quite a bit of testimony, including from Mayor Condon regarding why he moved Cotton to Parks, basically Condon testified that the Park Department needed her because of the River Front Park imitative and her great PR expertise. What didn’t come out was that prior to moving Cotton from SPD she had been working from home to stay completely away from Straub, aside from that fact before moving Cotton to Parks he tried to dump her on the Fire Department, but they would have nothing to do with it.
Another interesting fact that wasn’t brought out was that Monique Cotton received a pay raise when she was transferred, some of course believe it was hush money for some reason…can’t understand why!
What is also interesting from the public record is the different drafts regarding Cotton’s move to Parks that were negotiated with the Mayor.
At east the May 4th, 2015 letter finally got the raise thrown in.
Mr. King, Condon’s lawyer did call as a witness former City Attorney Erin Jacobson, who of course backed her former boss by stating that Monique Cotton had nothing at all to do Straub’s termination, then quickly invoked Attorney Client Privilege and of course just couldn’t say anything more, which was to be expected.
Despite Jacobson claiming the Privilege it would have been nice to have heard Joe Shogan cross-examine her regarding statements she reportedly made to Sara Lynds regarding the Cotton/Straub Affair.
Cappel Interview Notes of Sara Lynds Re Erin Jacobson etc… Don’t read these notes if you aren’t into that Soap Opera Stuff:
There was of course a lot of testimony about a meeting that took place prior to the letter submitted to Condon by the Unions and Senior SPD Staff interesting thing about that meeting is that according to Steinolfson the Unions and Senior Staff “Not looking towards vote of no confidence…”.
To answer a question a couple of the Ethics Commission Members had regarding why despite no formal complaint being made by an investigation wasn’t done regarding Straub Harassing Cotton, among others. The answer is simple, if you do conduct the proper investigation it leaks out and boy are we gonna look bad!
Some folks might find this email exchange between Bob Dunn, Cotton’s lawyer, and Nancy Isserlis in which Dunn tries to get the City to pay his bill for representing Cotton, kind of funny, I actually didn’t and can’t help but wonder if we taxpayers ever did pay Cotton’s legal bill.
I for one find it a bit odd that even though Cotton was represented by a lawyer, made allegations among other things that Straub “grabbed her ass”, and “tried to kiss her”, Mayor Condon was so concerned he even went to Dunn’s office to discuss the complaint, that Monique Cotton according to Condon had nothing what so ever to do with Straub’s termination… weird stuff…right?
Yes, that’s right, there is a big pot load of evidence the Ethics Commission doesn’t have to gain a much better picture of what actually took place, I have made up my mind based upon a study of all the available public records, and can’t see how any reasonable person could not draw the conclusion that Monique Cotton was a major part of the Straub termination, of course you can draw your own conclusions, but keep in mind there is plenty of more evidence than the small amount I provided here.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!