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City officials release more RPS documents

Spokane city officials on Thursday turned over a packet of River Park Square documents they had previously labeled confidential.

The records, which detail disputes among attorneys working for the city about the direction of the mall controversy and legal fees, were released in response to records requests filed by The Spokesman-Review in April.

The stack of correspondence was given to Spokane Mayor Mary Verner in January by Seattle Attorney O. Yale Lewis, who once represented the city on River Park Square matters.

River Park Square is owned by Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

In June, the city released a small portion of the documents, but argued that most of the information constituted attorney-client privilege and could not be released. Mayor Mary Verner said the city’s position changed because of the recent closure of a federal investigation into River Park Square.

“The decision loop is now complete,” she said. “My desire was to disclose.”

A federal investigation that ended in the summer found no indication of fraud in the controversial financing of River Park Square’s renovation.

At a September news conference, Robert Westinghouse, criminal chief for the U.S. attorney’s office in Western Washington, said investigators discussed the documents from Lewis with city officials. City officials said some of the parties mentioned in the documents were given a chance to object to the release.

“Nobody tried to bar it, so we’re releasing it,” City Attorney Howard Delaney said.


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