The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Friday, March 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Reardon's friend talks, shows us her phone bills

We've been reporting since December that bills for Aaron Reardon's Snohomish County government cellphone detail long calls with the county social worker who claims the two had a years-long affair.

We've now confirmed that the county executive spent the equivalent of a full work day, and then some, in 2011 talking with Tami Dutton during business hours.

Reardon since November has been the focus of a Washington State Patrol criminal investigation into alleged misuse of public funds.

Detectives obtained phone records for the cellphone the county provides Reardon to use on official business. We got that same information, too, under public records laws and used it to demonstrate how Reardon repeatedly ignored prohibitions on using public resources for political campaigns.

Early on, we also reported finding two calls totaling 112 minutes to Dutton's private cellphone. She told us there were dozens more but suspected they would show up on Reardon's bills with her phone number masked, or "blocked."

We've pressed repeatedly for Dutton to share personal phone bills so we could identify which of the 101 "blocked" calls in Reardon's billings last year involved her.

Just days ago, she sat down with us at a computer for a couple of hours and pulled up her cellphone bills. Dutton helped us identify more than 50 additional calls between her and Reardon. Many were a minute or less, most longer. Some go on for more than an hour. The lengthiest, on July 8, lasted more than two hours and 10 minutes. It apparently devoured much of a Friday afternoon when Reardon's work schedule specified that he didn't want any appointments.

All told, Reardon's phone bills show him on the county cellphone with Dutton more than 11 hours between January and July. More than 80 percent of that time was on weekdays during regular business hours, excluding the noon hour.

Attached is a list of those calls. The public records don't specify who dialed whom. The length and frequency speak for themselves.

While reviewing the bills, Dutton also spoke with us at some length about how she became involved with Reardon and embroiled in the ongoing criminal investigation. There isn't the time and space here for her story. Reardon has made clear he's not talking until the investigation is complete. We'll be reporting more when the time is right.

Dutton said she reported the alleged misconduct with Reardon because she believed her family was being stalked and she wanted protection. She wasn't prepared for what came next, particularly after the investigation became public.

Although she now has whistleblower protection from the county, meaning she likely won't face discipline, Dutton said she isn't defending her behavior.

"I've taken responsibility for my own actions," she said.
Story tags » County executive

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