The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission has subpoenaed personal bank records of former Washington Gov. Albert Rosellini as part of its investigation into campaign contributions...
The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission has subpoenaed personal bank records of former Washington Gov. Albert Rosellini as part of its investigation into campaign contributions during the 2003 Seattle City Council elections.
The subpoena, issued last month, asked for bank records during a period in June 2003 when Rosellini is said to have personally delivered $17,000 in campaign checks to then-City Councilwoman Judy Nicastro from allies of Seattle strip-club magnate Frank Colacurcio Jr., according to sources close to the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Nicastro was among three council members who received at least $39,000 in contributions from Colacurcio and his associates before the council, in a 5-4 vote, approved a controversial rezone that allowed Colacurcio to expand the parking lot of his Lake City strip club, Rick’s.
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Nicastro told The Seattle Times last August that Rosellini handed her a large stack of checks, including Colacurcio-related contributions, during a lunch on June 5, 2003. Among the checks were two from women who were illegally reimbursed by a longtime Colacurcio employee.
Rosellini’s attorney, Angelo Calfo, confirmed yesterday that his client’s bank records were subpoenaed, saying they show nothing unusual.
“We’ve been told in no uncertain terms by the ethics commission that Gov. Rosellini is not a target of any investigation,” Calfo said. “The governor has cooperated with all of the commission’s inquiries, including by consenting to the provision of these bank records. There is nothing of interest in them.
“The governor is a towering figure in Washington politics, and the mere fact that he is a witness in this investigation does nothing to detract from his reputation for the highest integrity.”
The ethics commission is trying to determine whether Colacurcio or others illegally funneled donations by reimbursing donors.
The King County Prosecutor’s Office opened a separate criminal investigation into the scandal in October, and any records obtained by the commission could, in turn, be obtained by prosecutors through their own subpoena.
The subpoena to Rosellini’s bank was one of several issued by the ethics commission last month for financial information, sources said. The records, said to include Colacurcio’s corporate bank records, could help city investigators track any suspicious cash deposits or withdrawals.
The commission this week denied a public-records request from The Times for subpoenas, saying the disclosure would hinder effective law enforcement.
Rosellini, 94, who served as governor from 1957 to 1965, owns a gas station next to Rick’s and has long known Colacurcio’s father, Frank Colacurcio Sr., 87, a convicted racketeer who started the strip-club business.
The younger Colacurcio, reached at Talents West, his Lake City booking agency for exotic dancers, said he was not aware of any subpoenas. His attorney, John Wolfe, declined to comment.
The ethics commission has been looking into the contributions since July 2003, when it was revealed that Councilman Jim Compton and then-council members Nicastro and Heidi Wills had accepted Colacurcio-related contributions. Nicastro and Wills were defeated in the election, while Compton was re-elected.
All three denied that the contributions influenced their votes on the rezone, but they agreed to pay ethics fines related to lobbying by Rosellini and Gil Levy, a lawyer for the Colacurcios.
The investigation yielded evidence of civil campaign-law violations when two daughters of a Colacurcio employee told the commission they’d been reimbursed for contributing $2,300 to Nicastro.
Stacee and Nicole Furfaro said their mother, Marsha Furfaro, told them she had been given a “bonus” at work to pay for it. Marsha Furfaro has declined to cooperate with the commission or prosecutors, sources said.
The commission also has been hampered by the refusal of the younger Colacurcio and others to be interviewed, citing fears their statements could be used against them by criminal prosecutors.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302;
Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628