Who “gets it” and who doesn’t on Rudat releasing ethics investigation reports

Editorial

Karen Moran doesn’t get why transparency is a good thing.

April 26, 2022: Some on the Sammamish City Council just don’t get it. Mayor Christie Malchow and Member Karen Moran sure don’t.

Members Amy Lam, Kali Clark, and Karen Howe get it, especially Howe. Howe provided an eloquent argument for why the Rudat ethics investigative reports should be made public. She is providing leadership that is, sadly, absent from Mayor Malchow, who now flip-flops her votes. She did so twice in last week’s meeting.

Sammamish Comment has written much about the Rudat probe and why the reports of his misdeeds should be made public. We won’t repeat these long details. Last Tuesday’s city council meeting brings up new issues in the debate over releasing the reports.

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City Council deadlocks again on releasing Rudat ethics investigation report

April 20, 2022: The Sammamish City Council deadlocked in two more votes this week on the release of the reports of the ethics investigation of former City Manager David Rudat.

Votes were taken Tuesday on two motions; each failed on a 3-3 deadlock.

Council Member Amy Lam moved to release the report with certain redactions. Mayor Christie Malchow offered an amendment to release the report, under attorney-client privilege, only to the council members. Malchow voted against this motion on April 5, which failed in a 3-3 vote. Offering the same motion this week represents a flip-flop by Malchow. The amendment failed on a 3-3 vote, with Malchow, Deputy Mayor Kali Clark and Council Member voting in favor. Lam voted with Members Kent Treen and Karen Moran in opposing this motion. Lam’s flip from the April 5th vote defeated Malchow’s amendment.

Christie Malchow flip-flops twice in voting whether to release the Rudat ethics investigation reports.

On Lam’s main motion, Lam, Howe and Clark voted in favor of releasing a redacted report. Malchow flipped again and once more sided with Treen and Moran against releasing the report, even in a redacted form. Treen and Moran were opposed to the ethics probe all along and continue to oppose any release of the reports to the public. Only an executive summary has been released.

Malchow under pressure

Karen Howe says the city won’t put the controversy behind it until the Rudat reports are released to the public.

Malchow has been under pressure throughout the ethics probe, first as the leading proponent of initiating the probe while deputy mayor and when the vote came to fire or suspend Rudat. The council rejected the former on a 2-5 vote (only former Council Members Tom Odell and Pam Stuart supported firing him); and the on a vote to suspend him, which received a majority of the council votes.

Subsequently as mayor, Malchow provided the swing vote to block release of the reports. During Tuesday’s meeting, Malchow admitted she’s been under pressure and the strain was obvious. She said she was on the fence about releasing the reports, then split her votes in favor and then rejecting release. Malchow wants to “move on” from the controversy, but Howe said this won’t happen until the reports are released. Moran feared a lawsuit by result from release and said her role, among others, is to “protect the city.” Howe rejected this reasoning, saying if a lawsuit resulted, so be it.

Malchow questioned releasing the report detailed why Rudat was let go and all the dirty laundry surrounding the move.

The 15 minute discussion and debate with worth watching for the impassioned discussion and debate. The video is below.

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Release full, unredacted Rudat ethics probe reports, Part 2

Editorial

March 29, 2022: The Sammamish City Council is meeting tonight for a special meeting. Council Member Karen Howe may reintroduce her motion for the release—to council members—of the “report” concerning the ethics investigation of City Manager David Rudat. This is the opportune time for the City Council to vote to waive the attorney-client privilege of the Rudat ethics investigation reports—both of them

Rudat and the city council agreed March 1 that he would resign effective March 31. A golden parachute of an estimated $300,000 was provided in exchange for Rudat’s releasing all claims against the city.

At the end of the March 15 council meeting, Howe moved to have an unredacted copy of the “report” provided to each council member. She asked that the copies be numbered. Before the motion could be voted on, Mayor Christie Malchow noted that the meeting ran long and procedurally, a vote was required to extend it. A vote to extend the meeting by 10 minutes failed on a 3-3 vote, with Malchow voting against it. The move effectively buried Howe’s motion.

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Another complaint to Atty Gen surfaces over Sammamish’s Public Records responses

By Scott Hamilton

March 14, 2022: Another complaint to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office over Sammamish’s delays in responding to Public Records Request (PRRs) has surfaced.

The complaint, filed February 4, asked for help from the AG’s office to spur Sammamish to respond to PRRs in a timely manner. When contacted by Sammamish Comment, the complainant asked for anonymity out of fear of adverse social media response from “the peanut gallery.” Responses to PRRs fall under the City Clerk’s office, who reports to City Manager Dave Rudat.

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Complaint filed with Attorney General over City Manager probe, cover-up

By Scott Hamilton

March 11, 2022: A complaint was filed this week with State Attorney General Bob Ferguson over the City of Sammamish investigation of City Manager David Rudat and the refusal to release the full investigative reports sought by multiple parties under the Public Records Act.

Former Council Member Tom Odell filed the complaint, dated March 3. It was received by the AG’s office this week.

Odell filed his complaint days before the City Attorney finally responded March 9 to a Public Records Request (PRR) filed by The Sammamish Comment on November 19, 2021, seeking the full reports. (See this story.) Odell is likely to file an amendment or supplement to his complaint in the coming days.

Tom Odell

“I think the reports should be released quickly irrespective of the damage it may cause in other quarters,” Odell told The Comment on March 9. “Obviously some people are reluctant to have this put out for some reason. I won’t speculate as to why.” However, it is believed by some that there is politically damaging information to Council Members Karen Moran and Kent Treen. Supporters of Rudat also have charged that all members of the 2019-2021 City Council except Pam Stuart leaked privileged information from Executive Sessions to Michael Scoles, a vociferous critic of Christie Malchow. All of these council members except Moran denied they leaked information when asked this week. Moran did not respond to The Comment’s question.

Odell, commenting on the City Attorney’s refusal to release the reports, said there is a compelling public interest to override claims of exemption from PRRs. The taxpayers and citizens of Sammamish have a right to know what has consumed so much of the Council’s time over the past year.

Malchow, the current mayor, had no comment to Sammamish Comment when asked if she thought releasing the reports was in the public interest of the taxpayers and citizens of the city.

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