Hutchison Press Conference Derailed by Ethics Complaint

By Josh Feit October 14, 2009

This was originally posted at 3:15.

UPDATE: The Laurelhurst property that's the subject of the Democrats' complaint against Susan Hutchison is connected to Hutchison donor (and cell phone titan) Bruce McCaw. A company called Pistol Creek manages the property, and McCaw is the executive of Pistol Creek.

McCaw has maxed out—$1600—to Hutchison's campaign.

Original Post:

King County Executive candidate Susan Hutchison tried to hold a press conference today about her proposal to move management of the King County jail from county government to the sheriff's office.

But thanks to an ethics complaint filed against her campaign this morning  by the King County Democrats (see this morning's Morning Fizz), her meeting with the media turned into a testy Q&A about the Democrats' complaint. At issue: Her campaign office (a Laurelhurst home) isn't showing up on her campaign finance reports as an expenditure. Who's donating it? Who owns it?

Former KIRO TV anchor Hutchison was dogged by two of her former broadcast cohorts, KIRO reporter Essex Porter and KING 5's Linda Brill, who would not take Hutchison's deflections—that the complaint was "frivolous," that the campaign is working with the Public Disclosure Commission, that their lawyer made sure everything was kosher—as an answer.

Pressed, she referred reporters to her campaign manager and spokesperson, Jordan McCarren.

"Any questions about public safety?" she asked, exasperated.

Porter got off the line of the day. During Hutchison's pitch about saving costs by streamlining the jail operations, she also said she was going to make the county budget transparent by setting up a budget disclosure website that would be searchable by departments, programs, grants, and expenditures. Porter asked her why she wasn't being transparent about her own campaign finances.

Finally, Hutchison told Porter the home was "not donated" and that it was "the residence of my campaign manager."

mcHutchison campaign manager grilled about Laurelhurst house by reporters after press conference

McCarren, who works for a California-based Republican consulting firm,  is not from Seattle.

McCarren tells PubliCola that he rents the property. "I have a rental agreement with the landlord." However, asked who the landlord is, he says, "Honestly, I would have to look that up."

You don't know who you pay rent to? "We have offered all that information to the PDC."

The property—on N.E. 45th St—is owned by a company called South Cove Ventures LLC whose registered agent is SC&B Services, INC and managed by a company called Pistol Creek. The property is valued at $732,000 according to the King County Assessor.

After the official press conference, the media swarmed McCarren who said the campaign was working on the issue with the PDC.
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