Seattle homeless organizations may be under federal probe

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by ALLEN SCHAUFFLER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on June 14, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 14 at 8:00 PM

It seems like a political hot potato, something nobody wants to land in their lap: the investigation of the interlocked organizations that run much of the homeless housing network in Seattle and in some surrounding communities.

The Seattle Police Department has sent people to “Camp Unity” in Kirkland to ask questions about those organizations, SHARE and WHEEL. Camp Unity split from Tent City Four last fall, an encampment run by SHARE, over concerns about security, the handling of finances and campers being forced to participate in political protests. Residents say SPD visited Camp Unity four different times.

“They were investigating issues at the SHARE/WHEEL organization and the things we know when we were associated with them,” said Executive Operations Director Steve Wiggins.

Police also told them the investigation was expending.

“They didn’t tell us why,” said Wigggins, “other than that the federal investigators were going to enter the investigation.”

SPD confirms they have forwarded information to the FBI and that they are now the lead agency. The mayor’s office confirms that as well. A spokesperson for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes says they have been told the feds are involved but don’t have “independent confirmation of that.”

Scott Morrow, the man who has run the downtown homeless shelters and suburban tent cities for years but who now claims to be just a paid consultant for SHARE/WHEEL, refused to answer questions about the situation.

“I don’t do comments for the record,” Morrow told KING 5.

SHARE spokesperson Jarvis Capucion said, “These are just allegations. We have not been formally notified of any ongoing investigation by the FBI.”

As for the FBI, they aren’t saying anything. A spokesperson Friday would not comment on the state of the investigation or even acknowledge there was one underway. And he added that if there was one, he wouldn’t tell us; that’s just the way they operate.
 

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