Notes provide additional details on how Reardon probe started

Notes provide additional details on how Reardon probe started

Reardon talks with the media on Nov. 8 after winning a third term.

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 16 at 4:47 PM

Handwritten notes taken during an Oct. 17 meeting provide more details about a Snohomish County employee's concerns that triggered a Washington State Patrol investigation into County Executive Aaron Reardon.

The four pages of notes obtained by KING 5 recorded the meeting between the county employee and County Council Chairman Dave Somers and his aide, Eric Parks. The employee, a woman, said she was "scared" and feared that Reardon "could do her harm." 

The notes are comprised mainly of sentence fragments without many details. For example, the employee told Somers and Parks that, three months prior, Reardon "said they were being followed."  The notes say "Aaron paid $100K out of personal funds," but doesn't say who received the money or what it involved.

The notes mention "threats to/from ex-husbands" and a statement that "someone has letter that she threw away in Smokey Pt." But there are no details about the letter or the threats.

Parks, who took the notes, jotted down questions about whether other people can "sign Aaron's name for him on documents" or if Reardon can "delegate his signing authority." And the notes include a mention of "New York, Chicago, Mexico" without any additional information. 

The employee also told Somers and Parks that she thought her personal attorney was "scared," and there is reference to obtaining paperwork to request whistleblower protection. The Daily Herald of Everett reported Wednesday that the employee has been given whistle-blower protection, explaining why the notes block out any reference to her name and the county office she worksin.

Few details have been released about the WSP's investigation of Reardon. Announced on November 3, WSP said only that it involved possible misuse of public funds used for travel expenses.

Reardon denied any wrongdoing at the time, and said the investigation was a political dirty trick. WSP revealed the probe just days before ballots were due in what was widely believed to be a neck-and-neck race between Reardon and challenger Mike Hope. Reardon ultimately won reelection to a third term with 55 percent of the vote.

Hope has said his campaign had nothing to do with bringing the allegations forward.

Soon after the Oct. 17 meeting with the employee, Somers took the allegations to the Snohomish County Prosecutor, Mark Roe. On Oct. 26, Roe requested that WSP investigate after he said "a third party came forward with allegations that I believe require an independent investigation to determine the facts.”

Reardon has made few public appearances since Nov. 3. One of his aides, Brian Parry, told KING 5 that Reardon currently is in California on a rock climbing trip. He also said Reardon has yet to hear from WSP about what the agency is investigating.

Reporting by KING 5's Jake Whittenberg (@jakewhittenberg).

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