Skagit County judge to consider Reardon recall petition

EVERETT — A Snohomish County judge on Tuesday agreed to transfer to Skagit County hearings to determine the fate of a recall effort targeting County Executive Aaron Reardon.

Under state law, it’s up to a judge to decide whether a recall petition meets the legal requirements to move on to signature-gathering and a possible vote.

“I think it’s more appropriate in this matter that an out-of-county judge make this determination,” Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne said during a brief hearing Tuesday morning.

The recall paperwork filed last month accuses Reardon of breaking state campaign laws by using his executive assistant and other public resources for political fundraising and lobbying. It was submitted by Anne Block, a Gold Bar attorney who also maintains a political blog.

Block did not attend Tuesday’s hearing. Afterward, Reardon’s attorney, John Wolfe, said he would reserve any discussion of the recall’s merits for the hearing in Skagit County. Wolfe and a Snohomish County deputy prosecutor, who represents county election officials, both signed off on the change of venue.

Reardon, 41, had been under investigation by the Washington State Patrol since October for alleged misuse of public resources while on out-of-state business trips. Island County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Banks announced in June that there was insufficient evidence to charge Reardon with any crime.

Reardon now is the focus of a state Public Disclosure Commission civil investigation into evidence that he repeatedly violated state campaign laws. Block also filed a complaint with the PDC.

If the judge allows the recall petition to go forward, Block will have 180 days to collect 47,444 signatures.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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