City Hall

Former McGinn Aide Bushnell Refuses to Pay Full Ethics Fine

By Erica C. Barnett June 3, 2010

Seattle Ethics Commission Chair Robert Mahon

Former Mayor Mike McGinn aide Chris Bushnell, who received a $500 fine from the city for failing to disclose that his wife worked for a company that was bidding to help design the new seawall, has refused to pay the full amount of his fine, leading the city to return his partial payment and demand payment in full by June 13. (Bushnell, a longtime McGinn advisor, resigned in February after PubliCola reported that he had falsified his educational record.)Instead, Bushnell paid just $358.50---the amount of his fine minus the $141.50 he had already paid the city's department of transportation to reprint an ad requesting bids for the seawald. At a May meeting of the ethics commission, commissioner Bill Sherman said unequivocally that the $141.50 "was not calculated into the $500."

If Bushnell does not pay the entire fine, ethics and elections director Wayne Barnett said in a June 3 letter, the ethics commission will send the matter to the city's law department for collections.

At a subsequent meeting, ethics commission chair Robert Mahon (above) said, "We imposed a fine of $500. We did not impose a fine of $358," prompting laughter among the other commissioners. The commission then directed Barnett to return the check to Bushnell.

Bushnell's attorney, Jeff Grant, says he isn't sure whether Bushnell plans to pay the full fine. "I don't know how that's all going to sort out. In terms of what the process is in those ten days what decision he makes and whatnot, I'm not sure I know exactly. Chris has ten days to decide."
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