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Seattle Times: Bellevue Investigation Narrowed to Wallace

By Erica C. Barnett June 7, 2011

The Seattle Times' Bellevue reporter, Keith Ervin, has the news
today that an investigator hired by the Bellevue city council to look into conflict-of-interest allegations against three council members has absolved two of any violations, and decided to take a closer look at the business dealings of council member Kevin Wallace, a developer who failed to disclose his business dealings with a short-line railroad giving the railway exclusive use of the same right-of-way where Wallace has advocating running Sound Transit's East Link light rail.

The deal with the company, GNP Railway, fell through. However, it could have benefited Wallace financially because his company owns numerous properties along the route and because Sound Transit could have been forced to pay GNP for improvements to and use of its right-of-way.

Wallace and his supporters on the council pushed to widen the scope of the investigation to include fellow council members Claudia Balducci and Grant Degginger. Balducci sits on the Sound Transit board, which some council members suggested could pose a conflict if the city of Bellevue decides to sue the light rail agency over the East Link rail route. And Degginger's law firm once represented Sound Transit on non-Bellevue-related issues.

Balducci said she would recuse herself from any Sound Transit votes on litigation, and would not attend any closed executive sessions of the board in the future.
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