Diodato Boucsieguez speaks about removing Lynnwood councilmember Josh Binda from office at Wilcox Park in Lynnwood, Washington on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Diodato Boucsieguez speaks about removing Lynnwood councilmember Josh Binda from office at Wilcox Park in Lynnwood, Washington on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Effort to recall Lynnwood’s Binda moves forward with judge’s approval

The campaign needs at least 2,416 signatures to force a recall vote for the City Council member mired in ethics concerns.

LYNNWOOD — After months of snowballing ethics violations, a recall effort for City Council member Josh Binda can move forward, a judge ruled Tuesday.

In an otherwise-empty courtroom, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Marybeth Dingledy heard testimony from the leader of the “Recall Binda” campaign, Diodato Boucsieguez. Dingledy determined Binda’s actions met the “misfeasance or malfeasance” threshold for recall. Binda, 23, did not attend the 10-minute hearing, despite having been notified earlier this month.

Dingdledy ruled that the first four of these five points were sufficient to meet the threshold for recall:

• Binda used the city email system to negotiate private speaking contracts, breaking Lynnwood Municipal Code. He also used the council chambers to film a video promoting the speaking tour from which he netted at least $14,500.

• In 2021, Binda failed to file his personal financial statements with the state Public Disclosure Commission, and in 2022, Binda failed to file the new year’s financial statements on time, resulting in $250 fines.

• Binda improperly used $2,742 worth of campaign funds on plane tickets, Versace clothing and car towing, among other things. The Public Disclosure Commission fined him $1,000.

• In January, Binda knowingly lied to the City Council about when he signed private business contracts for his speaking tour. Binda also attended the National League of Cities Conference in Washington D.C. in May 2023 without notifying the City Council, while claiming he was representing the city. He also “falsely claimed” he was a “keynote speaker” at the conference.

• Multiple times in 2022, Binda fell asleep during council meetings. He was also often absent from city council meetings for out-of-state private speaking events.

City council member Josh Binda listens during a city council meeting at Lynnwood City Hall in Lynnwood, Washington on Jan. 23, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

City council member Josh Binda listens during a city council meeting at Lynnwood City Hall in Lynnwood, Washington on Jan. 23, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Binda has about two weeks to appeal the court’s decision before the recall campaign can begin collecting signatures. The campaign needs at least 2,416 signatures — or 35% of the 6,901 total votes cast in the race where Binda was elected — to force an official recall vote, according to the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office.

If his critics collect enough signatures, the recall vote would pose a yes or no question: Should Binda be removed from office?

If a majority of voters cast ballots in favor, the Lynnwood City Council would appoint someone to fill his seat.

“Unless you’re not reading the news, and you have an ideological obsession with Binda,” Boucsieguez said, “you will vote to recall him because of the laundry list of the various illegal, unethical activities of Council Member Binda.”

Boucsieguez, 29, manages the small local business Tusk Marketing LLC. In 2018, Boucsieguez ran for the state House as a Republican to represent Lynnwood, Edmonds and Shoreline. The following year, he waged a campaign for Lynnwood City Council. He lost both races. Boucsieguez said Wednesday he is not vying for the office. He just believes Binda “lacks integrity.”

Binda did not respond to a request for comment. City Council President Shannon Sessions declined to comment.

In February, Binda’s use of city email and council chambers to promote his “Love Conquers All” speaking tour prompted the council to vote for an ethics investigation into whether he used public resources for personal gain.

In May, after the investigation, Binda admitted he violated city ethics.

Meanwhile, the council member received national backlash for posting posed, shirtless pictures to promote his speaking tour aimed at elementary, middle and high school students. He also posted ageist comments to his TikTok under the handle “Councilman_Binda.”

As of Wednesday, Binda’s fines from the Public Disclosure Commission hadn’t been paid.

Correction: A previous version of this story said that all five points were worthy of recall, but only the first four were found to be sufficient for recall.

Kayla J. Dunn: 425-339-3449; kayla.dunn@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @KaylaJ_Dunn.

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