Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Suit filed to keep Hamilton off ballot

Spokane City Council candidate Mark Hamilton’s residency problems continue.

Two voters in Spokane's northeast council district filed a lawsuit today claiming that Hamilton's name should not be allowed on the ballot because he was not a resident of the city or district for a full year previous to filing to run last week.

The Spokane City Charter requires that candidates be resident at least a year before officials file to place their names on the ballot county auditor.

Hamilton, a real estate agent and pastor, bought a dilapidated home at 217 E. Pacific last year in hopes of running for office. His other home is south of city limits. Only he and incumbent Amber Waldref filed to run for the seat.

County records indicate he bought the home in June 2012. Hamilton said last month that he has paperwork that would prove he bought it in May 2012 -- though he has not presented that documentation to the newspaper.

Last week, the city’s assistant building official ordered that he not live in the home because he determined that the house “is unsafe to live in.” The city described the home as uninhabitable in October, but Hamilton told a reporter in February that he had spent the majority of his nights since he bought the home at the address. A man who worked on the home over a five-month period has said he saw no evidence that Hamilton ever stayed the night there.

When he voted in November, Hamilton was registered to vote at a residence outside city limits.

On Monday, Hamilton declined to comment about the city's order not to occupy his home.

Cathy Gunderson and Carol McGirk are the plaintiffs in the case. They are represented by Frank Malone, a former candidate for Spokane County prosecutor. Malone said the Spokane County Democratic party paid the $240 filing fee for the case and that he is volunteering his time.

Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. He is the government editor. He previously was a reporter who covered Spokane City Hall, Spokane County government and public safety.

Follow Jonathan online: