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County Council Spokesman on Constantine: "No Complainant. No Complaint."

By Josh Feit October 30, 2009

Yesterday, Erica wrote a followup to a story that was on local conservative blog Sound Politics and getting play on the local talk radio: A female employee at the King County Council had filed some sort of "complaint" against King County Council Member (and K.C. Executive candidate) Dow Constantine.

I say "some sort of" because 1) As Erica reported, the woman's lawyer told KIRO radio there is no complaint and 2) I was told today by Frank Abe, director of communications at the county council, and Tom Bristow, chief of staff at the council, that the "complaint" is actually just notes from a conversation the woman had with her administrator at the county council.

Abe also says: "There is no complaint. No complainant. No accusation. No allegation."

Our story yesterday included a quote from Constantine opponent Susan Hutchison's campaign manager, Jordan McCarran. McCarran told us that Seattle Times reporter Keith Ervin—with whom McCarran says he spoke—had a "heavily redacted" document that the woman, identified as Jane Doe, filed. (McCarran also said the Hutchison campaign has nothing to do with the story.)

However, Abe tells PubliCola the document was "absolutely not" heavily redacted, saying the only thing redacted from the council administrator's notes was the woman's name and any other names that could help the public figure out who the woman was. In other words, the substance of the notes was not redacted.

Why are there notes from a conversation with a supervisor if there was no complaint? Neither Abe nor Bristow would go into specifics, but explained that the county's liberal (meaning broad) policy to cast a wide net on possible complaints about personal misconduct at the county allows third parties to bring conversations they overheard to the attention of supervisors—potentially sparking an interview with someone like Jane Doe.

The woman  has since filed an order in King County Superior Court asking that the notes not be released to anyone else. Since the document was already released to Ervin (last Friday), I don't think she has a legal leg to stand on.

However, people who are excited about the prospect of seeing the document and getting a blockbuster story could be disappointed.

Consider: Keith Ervin is looking at a document that is not heavily redacted; i.e., it explains what happened.  He's had it since last Friday. And he hasn't written anything yet. Implication? Not much there.

Ervin declined to comment to PubliCola.

Given the hubbub on talk radio (KIRO TV ran a story on it last night as well), Ervin should publish what he's got and bring clarity to this story. Or nonstory.

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