Requests pour in for Aaron Reardon’s travel records

EVERETT — There appears to a lot of interest in an ongoing criminal investigation of Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.

So far, county departments have logged more than 30 requests related to Reardon’s travel records and emails. The written inquiries from The Herald and other news organizations all have been made under Washington’s Public Records Act. There’s also a request from the Washington State Patrol, which is investigating Reardon for alleged official misconduct.

“It’s not unusual for us to get a flurry like this all at once,” said Lisa Hall, records management supervisor at the county’s Department of Information Services.

While not unusual, it’s not exactly common, either.

The last time the county received similar interest in public records was two years ago, Hall said. That was after Reardon’s former planning director, Craig Ladiser, was fired after he pressed his bare genitals against a woman lobbyist while golfing. Ladiser later pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation and indecent exposure.

The case focusing on Reardon began when a woman who works in the county’s human services department went to County Council Chairman Dave Somers’ office to report concerns about Reardon’s spending of taxpayer money on out-of-town trips while she was having an affair with him. Somers brought the accusation to county Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe, who in late October requested that state detectives look into possible official misconduct, a gross misdemeanor.

Reardon’s office last week released its first batch of records sent to state patrol investigators. They detail expenses for parking, cab fares, airline tickets and hotel rooms, most of which Reardon’s office has previously made available. Documents for U.S. trips list a lone traveler, while some foreign jaunts also involved other elected county officials.

Word of the patrol’s probe went public Nov. 3, less than a week before Reardon won re-election to his third term in office. The investigation is focusing on his travel during the past three years.

The woman who brought the matter to Somers has declined to be interviewed by The Herald.

For the past two weeks, Reardon has been away from the office and has offered limited comment on the investigation. Aides reported that he traveled to California to go rock climbing.

Reardon did send a brief email stating he is innocent. He has hired Seattle defense attorney John Wolfe.

Reardon is expected back in the office today, Deputy Executive Gary Haakenson said.

To better manage requests for information about the case, the county is routing all inquiries through its Department of Information Services.

That department is under Reardon’s authority but also is handling requests from departments run by other elected officials, such as the prosecuting attorney and the County Council.

The idea is to process complicated requests quickly and efficiently, said Hall, the records supervisor.

“In a situation like this, that’s highly visible, it’s important that you know we’re trying to make this as transparent as possible,” she said.

A list of the requesters includes Seattle television stations and newspapers, as well as people who frequently pepper government agencies asking for records.

One request is anonymous. A person who communicates with the county only under the screen name “Snoco Watcher” is interested in relevant documents only from Somers or other county personnel outside the executive’s office. The request specifically excludes departments under Reardon’s control.

State open records law applies to anonymous requests as well as to those made by identifiable people.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465,

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

A house fire seriously injured two people Friday evening, June 14, in Edmonds, Washington. (Courtesy of South County Fire.)
1 killed, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Edmonds house fire

South County Fire crews pulled the man and woman from the burning home around 6 p.m. Friday, near 224th Street SW and 72nd Place W.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Hidden costs, delays crush hopeful food truck owners in Snohomish County

Melinda Grenier followed her dream to open Hay Girl Coffee. Thousands in fees later, it has cost her more than she bargained for.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

New Jersey auto group purchases Lynnwood Lexus dealership land

Holman, which owns Lexus of Seattle in Lynnwood, bought property on which the dealership resides.

Marvin Arellano (Photo provided)
Family: ‘Manic episode’ preceded trooper shooting man on I-5 near Everett

“It’s very, very unfortunate how he was portrayed in his final moments,” Gilbert Arellano said. “He was just such a good person.”

Two visitors comb the beach at Kayak Point Regional County Park on Friday, June 14, 2024, in Tulalip, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kayak Point reopens ahead of schedule

The county’s most popular park reopened Friday.

Grauates throw their caps in the air at the end of Arlington High School graduation at Angel of the Winds Arena on Thursday, June 13, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘So worth it’: Snohomish County graduates step into their futures

Alyssa Acosta, who is Harvard-bound, was one of thousands to walk the stage at Angel of the Winds Arena this month to get high school diplomas.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.