Porn found on Reardon aide’s computer, reports show

EVERETT — An aide to Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, already on leave as the focus of a criminal investigation, is facing new troubles after dozens of sexually explicit photographs, including homemade porn, were found on a county-owned laptop computer he’d been using in 2011, The Herald has learned.

Kevin Hulten, 34, initially said he’d resign after the images were found in March, but he wanted to attach conditions on his departure, including some sort of monetary settlement.

After his supervisor, Deputy Executive Gary Haakenson, said there would be no deal, Hulten insisted he was being set up, for political reasons. He then asked the county council to investigate whether it was retaliation for making a “whistleblower” complaint about county prosecutors.

Nearly $35,000 later, two independent investigations by a Seattle attorney concluded that Hulten’s claims about retaliation are unfounded, and that his separate “whistleblower” complaint is equally baseless.

Reports on both investigations — one exploring the porn stash, the other detailing Hulten’s claims that county prosecutors are corrupt — were obtained by The Herald on Thursday under state public records laws.

The images on the county computer reportedly include nude photos of Hulten and a woman. They were found as part of a

“>public records requests Hulten has admitted using the alias “Edmond Thomas.” He sought records about numerous county employees, including Reardon political rivals who cooperated with last year’s Washington State Patrol investigation of the executive.

Hulten has been on paid administrative leave since the criminal investigation began two months ago. Haakenson on Thursday declined any comment on the porn found on the computer. He said any investigation would be a personnel matter.

The report that

“>hired to investigate at a rate of $250 an hour. The County Council was billed $19,125 and the executive’s office $15,825 to have the lawyer examine Hulten’s “whistleblower” claims.

In the “whistleblower” complaint, Hulten had alleged that officials in the county prosecutor’s office had engaged in a variety of misconduct involving Reardon’s investigation last year by the Washington State Patrol. He targeted most of his claims at Jason Cummings, the county’s chief civil deputy prosecutor, and Bob Lenz, the chief administrative deputy.

Sutherland wrote that her investigation of the “whistleblower” complaint found that Cummings and Lenz were “within the scope of their authority and consistent with carrying out the course of action” county officials had developed after a county social worker reported that she’d engaged in a years-long affair with Reardon and accompanied him on county business trips.

The investigation “did not reveal any improper governmental actions” by anyone in the prosecutor’s office, Sutherland wrote. That included a review of Hulten’s claim that county officials had been leaking information to reporters about the patrol investigation.

Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said he knew his office had behaved ethically in the difficult situation surrounding Reardon’s legal troubles.

“I couldn’t be less surprised,” he said of the findings on Thursday.

Hulten’s retaliation claim suggested prosecutors had again done wrong. He told Sutherland that it was inappropriate for Roe to suggest that an investigation was necessary to determine if laws were broken after The Herald detailed how Hulten and Reardon’s executive assistant, Jon Rudicil, were linked to harassing records requests, spoof email accounts and attack websites targeting Reardon adversaries.

Roe was among those targeted by Hulten’s records requests. So were Haakenson, Cummings and some County Council members and their staff.

The council requested the King County Sheriff’s Office investigation.

The council also took away Reardon’s control of the county’s computer system and his office’s responsibility for overseeing public records. The next day, Reardon announced he -->

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