- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The initial report from an independent investigator tasked with reviewing Spokane Mayor David Condon’s handling of former Police Chief Frank Straub’s ouster insinuated political gain, but was later amended to target Condon’s staff.

Investigator Kris Cappel’s final version of the report followed consultation with City Councilman Breean Beggs and an attorney for the city.

Cappel removed the names of the mayor and Brian Coddington, a spokesman for the city, from the charges after that consultation.

The Spokesman-Review (https://bit.ly/2acf3G8 ) reported Wednesday that Cappel’s investigation makes it clear that the release of key records was delayed until after the mayoral election. But it does not present proof of the motive of city officials for delaying the documents’ release.

The late deletion of Condon and Coddington from the finding has City Council President Ben Stuckart crying foul.

Cappel’s final version of the report followed consultation with City Councilman Breean Beggs and Laura McAloon, an attorney who signed a contract this week to provide legal services to the city through Aug. 31.

Stuckart said the contact between McAloon and Cappel after officials received an early copy of the report on Monday was “totally improper.”

In a letter dated Tuesday, Cappel said she had decided to remove the finding from the final report because it was “based entirely from circumstantial evidence.” She stressed that the decision to amend the report was hers alone.

Cappel found that Straub “managed by fear and intimidation” during his three-year tenure leading the Spokane Police Department, according to the 126-page report, which was based on more than a thousand pages of records and 50 interviews.

Cappel also concluded that Condon was aware of the sexual harassment claims against Straub by former police spokeswoman Monique Cotton months before the election, but that it had no bearing on Condon’s decision to ask for Straub’s resignation.

Straub sued Condon and other administrators in February, contending his civil rights were violated when he was forced to resign last September. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit, ruling Straub’s departure from the city was a voluntary resignation, prohibiting him from seeking damages.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, https://www.spokesman.com

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