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Originally published Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 8:19 PM

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Developer Bob Sternoff suddenly resigns Kirkland council seat

Real-estate developer Bob Sternoff has abruptly resigned from the Kirkland City Council amid personal financial problems.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Bob Sternoff, a Kirkland City Council member since 2005, has resigned while a court-appointed receiver figures out how his personal creditors can be paid.

Sternoff, a real-estate developer, gave no explanation for his sudden departure in a resignation letter delivered Monday to Mayor Joan McBride and City Manager Kurt Triplett.

Sternoff declined to answer questions Tuesday, saying, “At the appropriate time I will comment. But I cannot do it now.”

His resignation letter simply said, “Effective this date I hereby resign my position as a Kirkland City Council Member.” City officials announced the resignation Tuesday.

The council will discuss the process for filling the sudden vacancy next Tuesday.

Sternoff resigned several days after the weekly Kirkland Reporter published a story reporting that an elderly couple were claiming fraud in a lawsuit that alleged the council member borrowed $70,000 and failed to repay it when payment was due last year.

McBride said she saw no indication that Sternoff’s financial difficulties had interfered with his council duties. “I respect his decision and I wish him the very, very best,” she said.

McBride said Sternoff “prided himself in being a voice for the development community”; was a strong advocate for parks funding; and was pivotal in obtaining a council majority in favor of the large annexation of Juanita, Finn Hill and Kingsgate.

Sternoff was chair of the council’s Economic Development Committee and vice president of the Sound Cities Association, and he held leadership positions on other regional committees.

He asked King County Superior Court earlier this month to approve the appointment of a receiver to take charge of Sternoff’s approximately $7.5 million in assets, some in businesses in which he has a minority stake.

A filing in the receivership case showed nearly $9 million in secured and unsecured debt, including bank loans, personal loans and some delinquent property taxes and business-and-occupation taxes.

One filing listed as an account payable an unspecified amount of money that a Sternoff employee allegedly had embezzled from him.

A court commissioner approved appointment of a receiver.

Sternoff’s filings show Chase Mortgage as the biggest creditor, at $4.2 million, followed by Banner Bank at $1.6 million, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage $1.2 million, and US Bank $1.1 million.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

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