EVERETT, Wash. -- The woman who says she had a six-year affair with Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon speaks tonight on KING 5 News for the first time in public.
"I feel that it's at least important that I say what I know," said Tamara Dutton, whose claims sparked a Washington State Patrol investigation into Reardon. "So I've cooperated with the WSP. But this wasn't my idea. I had no idea that this was going to happen."
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Reardon is currently under criminal investigation for allegedly misusing county funds. The lead investigator on the case said his department is looking into Reardon's use of county credit cards, his county-issued cell phone and whether any emails were deleted.
Dutton said her relationship with Reardon started when the two were teenagers, both graduates of Mariner High School in Everett. Reardon eventually turned to politics as she said they grew closer.
"From there we continued talking and I ended up working on a couple of his campaigns," said Dutton, also a Snohomish County employee.
In 2005, Dutton said she began an intimate affair with Reardon, however, things cooled off last year. But just before the election, she said people began talking about the affair and she felt unsafe.
"It got to the point where I was being followed, I had people showing up at my kids' school, I was getting all kinds of cryptic emails," she said. "The reason I went to Dave [Somers] was simply to just get advice on how he thought I should handle what was happening with me personally as far as this was concerned."
Dutton also explained to Somers, Snohomish County Council Chairman, she believed Reardon misused county money on two trips she took with him. The most recent trip, according to Dutton, was to Chicago in 2010. Reardon was scheduled to be a part of a summit put on by the Democratic Leadership Council. The trip cost more than $1,200, but according to receipts, the DLC reimbursed the county, bringing the total cost to Snohomish County to less than $90. Dutton said paid her own airfare, but saw Reardon use the county credit card.
"As time passed I started saying, 'You know, I don't think you should be doing that,'" she said. Dutton estimates Reardon spent an estimated $1,500 on her with taxpayer money.
The other trip, according to Dutton, was in 2007 to Washington, D.C., when records show Reardon was supposed to be meeting with congressional delegates. While there, Dutton said she and Reardon wined and dined, with little to no official business. Receipts show it cost the county more than $800.
Dutton said the relationship was beyond trips. There were also phone calls, which the state patrol is investigating.
"We talk about everything," she said.
Dutton claimed she would communicate almost daily with Reardon using his county email account.
"He said I was going to have our emails deleted," she said. "To my knowledge, he must have because you've only been able to find one."
Reardon refused to comment on the claims until the state patrol investigation is complete.
"The reason that I went forward is about me protecting myself," said Dutton, "not me wanting all of this to happen."