- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

BOTHELL, Wash. (AP) - Bothell’ s mayor did not violate ethics rules when he bid to purchase the Wayne Golf Course back nine for his private company, according to an independent investigation released to the City Council.

Investigators said Joshua Freed didn’t make an offer to purchase the property until the city’s own right of first offer had lapsed. The investigation also cleared City Council member Mark Lamb, the mayor’s real-estate attorney and a personal friend, of any ethics violations, according to The Seattle Times. (https://bit.ly/1zMsTVD )

“It is likely of course that Mayor Freed and Councilmember Lamb have received or are hoping for compensation for activities concerning the property subsequent to the lapse of the city’s right of first opportunity to purchase. However, (state law) does not prohibit elected officials from pursuing for their direct or indirect benefit a purchase that the City Council has declined to pursue,” said the investigator, Peter Eglick.

A group of residents organized as OneBothell has sought to raise money to purchase the front and back nine of the golf course and preserve it for recreation and habitat restoration for threatened chinook salmon.

The results of the ethics investigation did not satisfy the standing-room only crowd or some of Freed’s colleagues.

“So there haven’t been any laws broken, it might be legal, but it sure doesn’t feel right,” said Council member Tris Samberg. “The quickest way to rectify this is to get this property for the public.”

Freed reiterated that he had done nothing illegal or unethical. He said he was willing to meet with any purchasers who want to acquire the back nine for conservation.

“If no group surfaces, I am committed to creating a neighborhood that would honor the environment,” he said.

OneBothell leader James McNeal said he was encouraged by Freed’s stated willingness to talk with groups interested in preserving the back nine.

“I hope tonight the mayor got the message about what the community wants,” he said.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, https://www.seattletimes.com


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