EVERETT, Wash. -- The owner of an Everett restaurant said Thursday that he was witness to an incident that may support a woman's claim that she was involved in an affair with Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.
That incident, which occurred in the summer of 2006, took place outside the former location of Andy Hansen's pizza parlor, located at that time in Arlington. Hansen said he and his employees witnessed a woman outside crying.
"Kinda remember her leaning up against the car, and her walking away, and she tore up a bunch of letters and threw them in the garbage."
Hansen said some of his employees removed the torn pieces from the trash bin and reassembled them. He said he remembers that the letter was addressed to Reardon.
"It's evident you're not leaving your wife, I could ruin your political career, I could make things hard for you," he told KING 5.
The woman is the same person who contacted Snohomish County Council Chairman Dave Somers in October to voice concerns that Reardon might harm her. That contact ultimately resulted in a Washington State Patrol investigation into possible misuse of public funds by Reardon.
The woman also told the Seattle Times this week that she was engaged in a long-running affair with Reardon and that Reardon used public funds to travel to other cities to spend time with her.
Earlier Thursday, Snohomish County Republican Party chairman Bill Cooper said the party is weighing a recall campaign to remove county Executive Aaron Reardon from office in light of a state investigation into possible misuse of public funds.
“This is an issue of integrity and trust of a public servant,” said Cooper. “He is innocent until proven guilty, but until then I think it should be standard that he (Reardon) put himself on leave.”
Cooper made clear that it's his personal opinion, not the party's, that Reardon should put himself on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a criminal investigation into his conduct.
Reardon, who is married, responded Thursday morning to accusations of using county funds to cover up an affair.
“I am innocent of all criminal accusations and am confident I will be fully exonerated," Reardon told KING 5. "Out of deference to the investigation, I have retained counsel and will reserve my right to comment until the State Patrol has concluded their review."
Reardon's office said Wednesday that he was in California on a rock-climbing trip.
Additional reporting by Jake Whittenberg.