A third ethics complaint has been filed against Spokane Mayor David Condon for “dishonesty” regarding how he handled accusations of sexual harassment against former police Chief Frank Straub and Straub’s forced resignation from the department.
The Spokane Ethics Commission agreed to consolidate the latest complaint, made by Mara Spitzer, with those previously filed by former Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and businessman Jamie Pendleton. The commission also agreed to examine the complaints beginning in January.
The complaints all cited a section of the city’s ethics code barring “acts of moral turpitude or dishonesty,” and alleged that Condon lied about the reasons for Straub’s ouster, as well as about how much the mayor knew regarding allegations made by Monique Cotton, the police department’s former spokeswoman.
Records recently released by the city show that Condon knew in April that Cotton had accused Straub of sexual harassment. Straub remained in his position for more than five months, and Cotton was hurriedly transferred to the parks department with a pay increase.
The commission agreed to discuss the complaints, and any others that may come in, on Jan. 13 and Jan. 27.
At a Wednesday afternoon meeting of the commission, Spitzer and Pendleton were present, but Shogan was not. An attorney representing Condon, Jim King, also attended the meeting.
Pendleton has been in the middle of controversy before, notably for naming a drink “Date Grape Kool-Aid” at his now-shuttered downtown bar, the Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory. He was evicted and the bar was closed after his landlord accused him of failing to pay rent. Court action is ongoing. Pendleton also faces criminal credit card fraud charges in Idaho.
Condon’s second in command, City Administrator Theresa Sanders, was recently found to have lied in the days leading up to Straub’s ouster. She was fined $75 and barred from speaking to the media about Straub, findings that were officially accepted by the commission on Wednesday.
Troy Bruner, chairman of the commission, defended Sanders’ media gag, saying the city’s municipal code gave the commission the power to issue “cease and desist” orders.
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