By Miki Mullor
STCA, the Town Center developer owned by Matt Samwick, has contributed $70,882.80 to former Mayor Don Gerend’s Livable Sammamish PAC.
Gerend and Kathy Huckabay, also a former mayor of Sammamish, were the only citizen contributors to Livable Sammamish. Gerend was the public face of the political action committee.
STCA role in the election revealed
The PAC attempted to distance itself from the STCA brand by attaching itself to the reputable Seattle-based RD Merrill Co. During the election cycle, the only outside contribution it took was from Merrill, at the amount of $44,000. It also renamed itself Livable Sammamish Sponsored by Merrill Company, 2019. Merrill Company is a highly regarded developer and operator of commercial properties and senior living housing.
But now, with its $70,882.80 contribution, representing 60% of the total raise, it’s clear that it was indeed STCA and Matt Samwick who have been behind the failed attempt to win a Sammamish City Council majority.
Record spend in Sammamish election history
In total, Gerend spent $116,769 to support Karen McKnight, Rituja Indapure and Karen Howe and oppose then-Mayor Christie Malchow, who sought reelection, and first-time council candidates Ken Gamblin and Kent Treen.
Opposing Gerend was Michael Scoles, a Sammamish resident, with his “Sammamish Life” PAC, who spent $42,000, all raised from Sammamish residents, none of which had any financial interest in development in the city.
The two PACs made this election the most expensive in Sammamish’s history.
Malchow, Gamblin and Treen, who won by a landslide, made over development and the lack of infrastructure their core campaign issue. Malchow, in her first term, joined Council Member Karen Moran (now mayor) and Council Member Chris Ross and former Council Member Tom Hornish, in a year-long push to overhaul the City’s concurrency regulations, that are suppose to ensure infrastructure is keeping up with development.
Concurrency audit contract awarded
Under previous councils, the concurrency regulations were rigged to always pass, allowing development to continue even as roads were becoming congested and schools were getting overcrowded.
Yet, in August, City Staff approved the 400 units first STCA project in the Town Center in a controversial move by assuming Sahalee Way will undergo a $55 million improvement project–a project that only existed on paper. In November City Council fired City Manager Rick Rudometkin.
This week, the new City Council approved a contract to audit the work done by staff to implement the new concurrency rules and the suspect approval of STCA’s project. Results of the audit are expected in a few months.
Legal action continues
In July 2018 Gerend initiated legal action to reverse City Council’s new concurrency regulations. A hearing on the merits is scheduled for March 6, 2020 in Sammamish Council Chambers.
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Karen Mcnight is not a leader and glad she didn’t win. She is apparently the leader of Sammamish Chamber and as a chamber member and local business owner would not support her.
A fool and his money are soon parted. Misspent money went the wrong way.
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