Aide at center of Reardon turmoil files complaint against county

EVERETT — An aide at the center of a scandal that last week led Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon to announce his resignation was still on the job Monday and seeking “whistle blower” protection while urging an investigation of county prosecutors.

Nobody working for county government would speak on the record about the complaint Reardon’s legislative analyst, Kevin Hulten, made to the County Council.

Some familiar with the complaint said it alleges Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe and other members of his staff have conspired against Reardon.

In an unusual move, King County prosecutors have agreed to advise the Snohomish County Council on how to respond.

The complaint alleges “government misconduct,” said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County prosecutor’s office. He declined to discuss the allegations or who brought them, but said his office agreed to provide civil legal advice to the Snohomish County Council because the accusations raise a potential conflict of interest.

County Council Chairwoman Stephanie Wright acknowledged that she’s received a complaint, but also would not confirm who it came from or what it alleges.

Roe said he became aware of the complaint late last week when Wright brought it to his attention. He said he didn’t read it because it presents a conflict of interest for his office.

County prosecutors generally provide legal advice to the County Council, but couldn’t in this case because Roe and others are the focus of the allegations.

Roe said he immediately contacted King County prosecutors to seek their assistance on the county council’s behalf.

The complaint arrived as Roe was trying to find a law enforcement agency in the state willing to conduct an independent, outside investigation of Hulten and others in Reardon’s office.

The county council and Roe agreed the inquiry is necessary after The Herald plans to resign May 31. During that announcement, Reardon said he, too, would request a formal investigation. The executive said it should look into “all allegations made against me and members of my staff as well as any other issues suggesting misconduct by other Snohomish County government officials.”

Hulten and Rudicil are still employed by Reardon’s office and there has been no change in their status, Deputy Executive Gary Haakenson said Monday.

When Reardon was under investigation last year, Hulten complained about patrol detectives all the way to then-Gov. Chris Gregoire. He also refused to meet with investigators to answer questions, records show.

Hulten on Monday did not respond to emails and phone calls from The Herald. In recent days he’s posted on Twitter, claiming he’s spent weeks analyzing county phone records which he contends show prosecutors leaking information about Reardon’s troubles. He’s accused The Herald of trying to keep the evidence from being released.

“For or against Reardon, it doesn’t matter.” Hulten tweeted on Sunday. “Circumventing the vote of the people is a serious matter. And that’s what happened.”

Reardon made an appearance at Monday’s county council meeting, supporting a resolution to mark the 50th anniversary of the county’s parks department.

The executive rarely attends council meetings, his last appearance coming during a fall 2012 budget hearing.

As he left the council meeting, Reardon turned aside questions from The Herald, saying he will answer them in time, but his schedule was too busy.

The executive’s office issued a statement Feb. 14, saying Hulten had apologized for any embarrassment that “his outside and personal activities” may have caused Reardon. The statement did not specify the activity Hulten has admitted, and Reardon didn’t elaborate Monday.

“I think I’ve already answered that question,” he said before getting into an elevator.

Some current and former county employees on Monday reacted to the county’s problems with calls for solidarity.

Fred Bird, a former county spokesman who worked for the county council and as a spokesman for former executive Bob Drewel, on Monday began circulating on Facebook a call to support county leaders trying to respond to “the embarrassment and disengagement that the lack of credible executive leadership imposed on our community” in recent years.

Bird wrote: “The people’s county institutions, for which we have dedicated all or most of our working lives, have finally begun to pull themselves out of an economic and spiritual abyss. Now, more than ever, it is time for we ‘county’ alumni — and all Snohomish County employees — to stand assertively in solidarity with our elected county leaders as they face the daunting and humble task of restoring the public’s faith in all of us.”

Scott North: 425-339-3431, north@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Majority of Marysville City Council seats are contested

The most closely watched race is between Mark James and Donna Wright.

500 tires go up in flames at a store south of Everett

There were no injuries. And it was nowhere near as bad as that months-long tire fire in 1984.

Inclusion super important to Monroe High senior

Sarah Reeves worked to make homecoming more representative of the student population.

A pot deal between teens leaves them injured, facing charges

Police found out about the incident when both ended up at the same hospital that night.

Funds up for council vote would aid conservation district

District stands to receive an extra $1 million each year, if the County Council gives its approval.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Lake Stevens man injured by 50-foot fall near Leavenworth

The rescuers had to tie in to keep from falling due to the steep rugged terrain.

Lynnwood mayor challenged by councilman in general election

Three City Council members also are facing challengers on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Missing 6-year-old’s body found in trash bin near Lynnwood

Dayvid Pakko was mildly autistic. A suspect in his death is a relative, the sheriff’s office said.

Most Read