McIver accused of ethics conflict in $37,000 contract award to company tied to friend
Seattle City Councilmember Richard McIver has been accused of conflict of interest in awarding a $37,000 bid to a company tied to a longtime friend who has hosted annual vacations in the Virgin Islands.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle's Ethics office accused Seattle City Councilmember Richard McIver today of violating the city's conflict-of-interest law by awarding a $37,000 no-bid contract to a company affiliated with a longtime friend who has hosted the councilmember's annual vacations to a Virgin Islands condominium.
McIver awarded the consulting contract early last year to Griffin, Hill and Associates (GHA), a firm that his longtime friend Joann Francis had joined months earlier, according to charging documents released today by Wayne Barnett, executive director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.
That contract award came shortly after McIver returned from his annual two-week vacation to a Virgin Islands condominium owned by Francis and her husband, Roy Francis.
The contract called for GHA to evaluate the performance of the Seattle City Auditor's office. In May 2007, McIver amended the contract to increase it to $42,000.
While GHA was qualified to perform the work, Barnett alleged that McIver's annual visits to Francis' condominium "were activities that would cause a reasonable person to believe that his independence of judgment was impaired" with regard to the contract.
McIver strongly denounced the charges in a statement through his aide, Paul Elliott.
"These charges are frivolous and totally without merit," McIver's statement said. "The council standards and existing contracting procedures were followed to the letter in this case, and the contract was authorized by the council president."
McIver added that he had "declined to pay a settlement penalty presented by the Ethics and Elections Commission executive director and I intend to vigorously challenge these baseless charges."
The charge will be evaluated by the seven-member Ethics commission, which could impose fines.
This is the latest in a string of problems for McIver in recent years. A council member since 1997, McIver was charged last year with assault after his wife accused him of grabbing her by the throat as part of a "profane tirade." The charges were dropped after his wife declined to cooperate.
In 2004, McIver agreed to pay a $200 fine to the Ethics commission for accepting a lunch paid for by former Gov. Al Rosellini, who was lobbying on behalf of a zoning change sought by a Lake City strip club.
Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case
NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.