Chang review complete

  • Brooke Fisher<br>Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:42am

No criminal charges were filed against Shoreline Council member John Chang after police officials completed a two-month long review.

Seattle Police Department detectives, who consulted with investigators with the Fraud Division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, announced April 13 that they found insufficient evidence in an allegation involving attempted possession of stolen property, specifically DVD players, said Dan Donahoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecutors Office.

Although the investigation is officially closed, Chang said he will now strive to determine the details of the allegation, which he referred to as a “setup and entrapment.”

“One thing I learned from history is that if we don’t come to a rightful conclusion, a justifiable conclusion, history repeats,” Chang said. “I am looking forward to coming to the bottom of this.”

Chang’s attorney, Jeffrey Grant, is now working to determine who initiated the allegation and what the reasoning was behind the accusation. Grant said he obtained limited information from the prosecutor, which is standard practice for confidentiality purposes.

“It is a terrible thing to put somebody through,” Grant said. “We have some ideas, but it would be equally unfair for me to voice ideas now.”

Chang has a number of ideas about the origination of the allegation, saying he suspects it may be related to the upcoming November City Council election for his seat. Chang said a number of indications have led him to believe the issue is related to his re-election, primarily because when the allegation surfaced, given that it was initiated by a private party, many people knew about it even before the media.

Chang also speculates the allegation may be a personal attack for other reasons, such as operating a hotel business that is vulnerable, being a minority elected representative, or even because he is disabled (legally blind).

“If any one of these reasons was the cause, I will devote myself to finding out,” Chang said. “I will work toward making sure this doesn’t ever happen again.”

Chang said although the investigation has taken a toll on his family, he is very thankful for support from community members. He was supported by Shoreline citizens, as well as Council members and Rep. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds, Shoreline merchants, the Chamber of Commerce and 32nd District Democrats and Republicans.

“One thing I have learned from the ordeal is that when you are an elected representative, it often works the other way around too,” Chang said. “The community really did come out and serve me; it is a very humbling experience.”

Chang said a number of volunteers, in addition to his lawyer, are working to get to the bottom of the issue.

Chang was originally interviewed late in the morning on Feb. 10 when police officers came to the Quest Inn, owned by Chang and located in the 14800 block of Aurora Ave. N. Chang was not yet at the business, but after his wife called him, he arrived within the hour. The officers told Chang they wanted to ask him some questions and invited him to accompany them to the police station.

“There is more to come,” Chang said. “Plenty more.”

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