I see that Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi is again accused of unethical behavior (“Feds unhappy with city attorney,” Sept. 13), this time in the important civil rights case of Otto Zehm.
As a former member of the newspaper’s investigative reporting team, I would remind readers that this is the same attorney whose questionable handling of the 1986 Spokane Gypsy police raid resulted in the largest civil rights settlement ($1.4 million) in city history.
Treppiedi also has routinely countersued plaintiffs in civil rights complaints against the city – a practice uncommon in other Washington jurisdictions, including Spokane County, that ended after the results of our investigation were published in 2007.
As police lawyer when the drug unit was spending $5.3 million from a secret fund, Treppiedi apparently failed to advise the department that the practice violated city and state laws. (This ended last year after Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick reported the illegal fund).
A city attorney is supposed to represent the public interest, not a few rogue elements of the police department. In the light of these past controversies, I would ask Spokane’s elected officials to look closely at the Justice Department’s concerns in the Zehm case.
Karen Dorn Steele