The city’s Ethics Commission allowed one complaint against Spokane Mayor David Condon to move forward Wednesday and dismissed others.
The complaint, filed by the Spokane chapter of the National Organization for Women, claims Condon violated city code prohibiting city officials from committing acts of dishonesty.
The complaint contends Condon knew about sexual harassment allegations against former police Chief Frank Straub for five months before ousting him. The complaint will be heard at a full commission hearing, likely in late February.
Condon had asked the commission to dismiss the complaint.
The ethics commission heard testimony from NOW’s lawyer, Rick Eichstaedt, and Condon’s lawyer, James King.
The purpose of the hearing was to determine whether the commission has jurisdiction over the complaint, not to determine the veracity of the complaint specifics. However, King did address specific issues raised within the complaint.
“We do not accept NOW’s definition of what defines dishonesty,” King said. He said NOW “deliberately and disingenuously distorted the facts” of a news conference that Condon called to announce his decision to remove Straub as leader of the police department.
After King spoke, commission member Dennis Cronin made a motion to reconsider whether the commission has jurisdiction over the complaint. That motion failed on a 3-3 vote.
But the commission left open the possibility of dismissing the complaint later on questions of jurisdiction.
A handful of NOW members attended the hearing.
In the same hearing the commission dismissed two other complaints filed against Condon and one filed against Councilman Mike Fagan.
Jackie Murray filed a complaint against Fagan alleging he and the group Respect Washington used her as a pawn in an anti-immigration initiative she sponsored at their behest. The complaint was dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction.
The two complaints against Condon that were dismissed were filed by Marla Dee Miller and Teresa Juneau-Simon. The commission found both lacked clarity and facts.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.