The development-company executive accused of dirty politics by Seattle City Council candidate Jon Grant apologized Tuesday, while state and city authorities said they lacked jurisdiction to investigate the matter.
The development-company executive who proposed halting a political campaign against Seattle City Council candidate Jon Grant in return for Grant’s help settling a lawsuit against the company apologized Tuesday for his actions.
Brett Allen, a senior vice president at Triad Capital Partners, said a text message he sent to former Mayor Mike McGinn spelling out the quid-pro-quo was wrongheaded.
The mea culpa came a day after Grant went public about the offer, accusing Allen and Triad of unethical behavior. The proposal called for Grant to help end a lawsuit filed with support from Grant’s former employer, the Tenants Union of Washington.
The payoff for Grant would have been Allen’s helping to make an independent-expenditure committee in the Position 8 race go away, and Allen asked McGinn to broker the deal.
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Grant called on oversight authorities to investigate what he described as blackmail.
But a spokeswoman for the state Public Disclosure Commission said the agency lacks jurisdiction.
The executive director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC), said the same thing, sticking with the position he took Monday.
A spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on whether the office has launched an investigation.
“The idea that this would not fall under some sort of jurisdiction for someone to investigate … seems problematic to me,” Grant said.
He believes the committee, Seattle Needs Ethical Leaders, is associated with John Goodman, a co-founder of Triad whom the candidate and the Tenants Union have warred with for years.
The committee’s spokesman, Jason Bennett, said last week it would raise $200,000 to campaign against Grant and for his opponent, Council President Tim Burgess.
Bennett didn’t return a request for comment Tuesday about Goodman. But the committee filed its first contribution-disclosure report. The report shows no cash contributions. The only entry is a $250 in-kind contribution from Bennett.
Goodman on Monday denied bankrolling the committee, while Allen claimed ignorance, saying he learned about the committee from Grant.
The lawsuit, filed when Grant was executive director of the Tenants Union, challenged a Triad land-use permit for the Civic Square project across from City Hall.
“First and foremost, I want to apologize,” Allen said in a statement Tuesday. “Triad is working with the city of Seattle to build a Civic Square that will result in $10 million to the city to be used for affordable housing. This is a great project.”
He added: “I talked with Jon Grant for the purpose of settling a lawsuit against this project, nothing more. My text message to former Mayor McGinn was inappropriate. There is no independent expenditure planned against Mr. Grant’s campaign by Triad or John Goodman, and I should never have mentioned it.”
Grant’s consultant, John Wyble, said the campaign likely will continue to press the SEEC to investigate.
Wyble said political committees are supposed to report contribution pledges. He also said Seattle Needs Ethical Leaders’ approaching Grant could be considered illegal coordination because such committees are supposed to operate independently.