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.
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.
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.
“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.
An investigation report of suspected malfeasance by Sammamish City Manager David Rudat has been kept from the public by his staff for over three months now.
Multiple public records requests (PRRs) submitted by media outlets and citizens have been delayed because of “legal review.” However, invoices from the law firm handling PRR reviews show a review has not been started in two and a half months.
The Sammamish Comment also learned that City Council members were only given a temporary, staff-supervised limited access to a shortened version of the full report.
Only an 11 page executive summary, prepared by the city staff’s request so as to not disclose confidential information, has been released to the public.
And while the investigation of the City Manager is still pending, the outside attorney in charge of his investigation was hired by the City Manager to represent the City on another case–raising concerns for the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Due to misinformation spread in the community and social media, TheComment is resuming limited coverage of city hall.
Nov. 30, 2021: The fate of Sammamish City Manager David Rudat may rest with Amy Lam, the City Council’s newest member.
Lam was elected Nov. 2 to fill out the remaining term of Jason Ritchie, who resigned early this year. Tom Odell was appointed to fill the position until the election. Lam defeated planning commissioner Josh Amato. The election was certified Nov. 23, at which time Odell left the council.
Lam hasn’t been sworn in yet. If she isn’t by the city clerk before the Dec. 7 council meeting, the next one after the Thanksgiving holiday, she will be then.
And one of the first decision she faces is whether to vote to suspend Rudat for 30 days without pay for mishandling confidential information and for other transgressions.