- Rudat complaint alleges cyberstalking, harassment; court denies request for protective order and cites lack of evidence.
- Seeks to block Mullor from writing about her on Sammamish Comment, other forums and messages.
- Ironically, Rudat’s petition prompts a peak into what triggered ethics complaint against her father.
- Stephanie Rudat’s plot against council member Stuart revealed.
- Clear evidence of Stephanie’s knowledge of city’s legal strategy against STCA-Town Center litigation.
By Scott Hamilton
March 22, 2022: In an unusual twist in the long-running battle between Stephanie Rudat, daughter of embattled Sammamish City Manager David Rudat, and Miki Mullor, editor of Sammamish Comment, Stephanie on Feb. 24 filed for a restraining and protective order against Mullor in King County District Court. The court denied the request for an emergency restraining order. The court also found that “a preponderance of evidence has not been established that there has been harassment.”
A virtual hearing was scheduled for March 9 at which evidence could be presented. However, Rudat was a no-show. Mullor filed his response on March 18. The next court date is April 4.
In her 10 page petition, Rudat accused Mullor of harassment and stalking. Rudat claims she is a victim of cyberstalking and “repeatedly contacting the victim (Rudat) or monitor the victim for no lawful purpose and his/her actions caused the victim to feel intimated, frightened or threatened.”
Rudat also claimed she suffered substantial emotional distress or “caused me to fear for the well-being of my child.” In the complaint, she offered no example of Mullor contacting or threatening her child, however.
Rudat asked the Court to prohibit Mullor from engaging in “social media posts, comments, messages or blog post on The Comment.”
Mullor, in his response, denied all allegations. He called Rudat’s complaint frivolous. “In connection with her support for her father, the City Manager, Petitioner has thrust herself forward into the public controversies regarding his corrupt activities and the City’s investigations into those corrupt activities, making herself a public figure,” Mullor’s response states. In an exhibit, Mullor includes a screenshot of Rudat’s own profile in which she identifies herself as a public figure.
Back and forth
Mullor and Stephanie Rudat have been engaged in an increasingly acrimonious exchange on Facebook since before he filed his complaint about city manager Rudat in May 2021. Allies on Facebook of Stephanie Rudat increasingly criticized Mullor, often using identical language. Rudat’s Facebook allies often controlled Facebook groups, censoring Mullor defenders or even Mullor himself.
One Rudat ally, Layna Crofts, re-cast her Facebook group, Sammamish Watch, from a community group about growth into a crusade against council member Christie Malchow and against Mullor. Crofts also created a website devoted almost entirely to attacking Mullor. This was taken down after Mullor filed another complaint with the city council directly tying the website to Stephanie Rudat.
In her petition for a protective order, Rudat claimed Mullor with “aggressively attacking the Petitioner online. He is bullying, misleading community members on the character and actions of the Petition incessantly.” Mullor, Rudat complained, accused her of lying about him to city council members and in other forums. Mullor contacted elected officials to say derogatory things about her “so that she is considered toxic and dangerous.”
Rudat’s petition lists a plethora of other, similar accusations. She also accused Mullor of collecting information about her “under the guise of being a friend and journalist” for his complaint to the city.
Rudat said these activities continued for 10 months. As a result, she claimed she’s felt “physically nauseous and scared to be out in public. My confidence has dwindled dramatically, and I avoid going out in public….” Rudat claims her neurologist has increased her medication as a result and she’s now taking double doses of medication to sleep. She claims to have been affected as a wife and mother.
Rudat also asked the court to order Mullor not post anything on Sammamish Comment “about or even referencing the Petitioner.”
Rudat pointed to a Sammamish Comment post, written by this author, in which she claimed Mullor “greenlighted” the article, “which specifically stated that the Petitioner censors people on social media who are critical of her father and misrepresented her power to have anything the Petitioner doesn’t like removed.” Rudat continued that the post reported that Rudat “threatens people, which is not true.”
Mullor had no connection with that post. He had recused himself from any reporting about the complaint against Dave Rudat. The “threats” Stephanie Rudat cites in her petition are contained within the following paragraph, which makes it clear that her allegation in the Petition is misleading and factually incorrect.
“What’s at the root of the investigation, in a confidential complaint filed by Miki Mullor, the editor of The Comment, is evidence that Dave Rudat was sharing confidential city information with his daughter, Stephanie Rudat. Stephanie Rudat is an administrator-moderator of several Sammamish-oriented Facebook groups. Criticisms of Dave Rudat and of council members she supports are often deleted, or threatened with deletion, from these groups. But one member of these groups, who uses the screen name David Benedet, is freely allowed to criticize Mullor and council members opposed to David Rudat. This writer was thrown out of Save Sammamish today for criticizing one of the administrators, Kartik Mithal, for allowing Benedet’s latest rant and for Mithal posting his own allegations toward Mullor. Mullor has evidence that Benedet receives talking points from Stephanie Rudat.”
Rudat’s allegation to the Court, filed under penalty of perjury, leaves a very different impression of “threats.”
Rudat asked for an emergency protection order, which the court denied, concluding there was no emergency and that there had not been a preponderance of evidence to support the claim of harassment.
Despite all this, Rudat was a no-show for a virtual court date March 9 in which to pursue a protection order.
Mullor’s response and exhibits are below.
Rudat’s petition to the court had unintended consequences for her and her father. In his response to the petition, Mullor includes scores of pages in exhibits. One exhibit reveals publicly for the first time his complaint to the city council, which prompted the ethics probe of Dave Rudat. The document provides damning details of text messages that show Stephanie Rudat had sensitive information about the city’s legal strategy in a lawsuit filed by developer STCA in connection with an application for commercial, business and residential development of the Town Center. The Mullor complaint to the city also reveals a plot by Stephanie Rudat, in her own text messages, against council member Pam Stuart.
Despite Stephanie Rudat denying working or coordinating with her father on city business, Mullor’s exhibits also reveal that she wrote her father’s rebuttal given to the council on December 14 in which Dave Rudat attacked Mullor and council member Tom Odell. The draft even included direction to pause in delivery at certain points.
Sammamish continues to cover up the details of the investigation. Despite multiple Public Records Requests for the 44- and 88-page detailed reports by The Seattle Times, Sammamish Comment, Sammamish Independent and citizens, the city stonewalled releasing these reports, which were completed in November. On March 9, the city finally responded that the reports would not be released, city attorney-client privilege. The reports were so designated internally on November 15. It took more than 16 weeks for the city to communicate this to those requesting the reports under the Public Records Act.
Even council members do not have copies of the reports. The 44-page document was FedExed to the council members’ homes in November in preparation for an executive session. The session would be virtual because of pandemic restrictions. However, before receipt, then-Mayor Karen Moran and then-Council Member Ken Gamblin objected to the distribution of the 44-page report (despite the extraordinary circumstance of the pandemic). Council members returned document unopened. The outside counsel read the document at an executive session.
The new council members, Amy Lam, Kali Clark and Karen Howe, also were later briefed after taking office following the November election. At the end of the March 15 council meeting, Howe moved to direct the city manager (Dave Rudat) to produce an unredacted version of “the report,” each numbered, to all council members so they could read and study it. Howe did not specify whether she meant the 44- or 88-page report or both.
Before discussion could get underway in earnest, Malchow, the current mayor, noted the meeting was past the 11:30 end time and a motion had to be made to extend the meeting. Howe moved to do so by 10 minutes. However, this procedural motion—rarely denied—lost on a 3-3 vote, with Malchow joining Moran and council member Ken Treen.
Then, in a bizarre twist that flummoxed the city attorney, a motion to adjourn failed on the same 3-3 vote. Malchow, Moran and Treen favored adjourning. Howe, Lam and Clark opposed it.
“This is a first,” attorney Kari Sand noted when asked what to do next. Stalemated, Clark made a motion to adjourn, and this time it passed. Howe’s motion for the unredacted report remained on the table.
Howe declined to reply to questions by The Comment about which report, or both, she sought and when she might bring the motion back to the table. The next city council meeting is March 29.
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