Judge rules Mayor Condon recall petition ‘factually and legally insufficient'

A Superior Court judge dismissed the recall effort against Spokane Mayor David Condon in a Tuesday hearing. KREM 2 Reporter Lindsay Nadrich has more. (9/13/16)

SPOKANE, Wash. --- A Superior Court judge dismissed the recall effort against Spokane Mayor David Condon in a Tuesday hearing.

David Green filed the recall petition in August. He claimed Condon delayed the release of public records until after his re-election, violated the Spokane Code of Ethics, violated the Spokane Municipal Code and Charter and failed to follow City and Spokane Police Department Policies for the sexual harassment claims made by former police spokeswoman Monique Cotton.

Judge Blaine Gibson from Yakima ruled each of the four charges were “factually and legally insufficient.”

For the first charge, Gibson said not enough information was filed with the petition to know specifically how the conclusion was reached that the mayor had withheld records.

The second charge claimed Condon lied at a press conference when he was asked about sexual harassment complaints. Condon had been asked “Were there any sexual harassment complaints lodged against Frank?” The question was in reference to former Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub. The mayor answered “no.”

Gibson discussed the meaning of the word “lodged” with the court, questioning if it meant formal or informal complaints, before ruling the second charge insufficient.

“I don’t think a recall should be based on a dispute over semantics,” he told the courtroom.

The third charge, which claims Condon violated city code when he did not submit Craig Meidl’s appointment to City Council, was also found to be factually and legally insufficient. Judge Gibson said the process is not specified in the city ordinance.

"At least one of the [news] articles quotes the mayor as saying that Craig Meidl will be moved into the position of full chief, is that an appointment?" questioned Gibson. "Is that a statement that he's going to appoint him? You know, that's not clear what that means."

Gibson also ruled the fourth charge, which claimed Condon failed to follow city policies for sexual harassment claims, factually and legally insufficient.

“A charge to support a recall has to be considered substantial,” said Gibson. “The mayor took care of the problem informally and effectively, which is following the policy.”

"I think it's important, the recall provisions exist because it is important," Green said, speaking to the media after the hearing. "I'm disappointed in the end result, but I'm pleased that the concerns of the community with respect to the issues that came out of the Straub investigation have been addressed."

Green said he did not plan to appeal the decision.

Condon released a statement hours after the judge ruled in his favor. He said the city is working to avoid a repeat situation in the future.

"I have directed my staff to review and revise the City's policies surrounding harassment allegations," said Condon in a release. "I have also directed a review of our public records requests process and will soon be empaneling a Blue Ribbon Commission to do a deep dive on public records policy, using Spokane as a case study."

Condon said he learned from the experience.

"The Mayor and City Council need to learn to work together for the good of the whole city and put politics to the side," wrote Condon in his release.

Spokane City Council President, Ben Stuckart released a statement after the judge's ruling.

"Now the entire city must turn the page, leave this ugly chapter in the past and move forward," wrote Stuckart in the release. "I am confident that Mayor Condon shares my belief that Spokane's future is bright."

Mobile users: Click here to read the petition to recall Mayor Condon

(© 2016 KREM)


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