Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder has filed an ethics complaint against Councilman Mike Fagan alleging that he disclosed the contents of a confidential legal memo.
According to a letter from Synder, sent to the city’s Ethics Commission on July 19, Fagan improperly blabbed to the Inlander
about a legal memo circulated to Spokane City Council concerning language that activists had added to an initiative petition.
The letter alleges that Fagan violated attorney-client privilege between the city legal department and the council, raising concerns that he revealed information that could be used against the city in litigation. The letter also states that Fagan misconstrued the contents of the memo, and its disclosure may make the city’s legal department reluctant to advise the council in the future.
Snyder wasn’t immediately available for comment, but Fagan says that he doesn’t believe he violated any ethics rules, arguing that the memo had been discussed in a public setting by City Council on July 14. Fagan, who is facing a competitive reelection challenge, questions why Snyder, a political foe, sent the letter just as ballots were being mailed to voters.
“It is my belief that because the contents and conclusion of the memo were discussed in open public it was no longer protected under attorney-client privilege,” says Fagan. “By virtue of the timing of this, I have to wonder what the actual motive of this is.”
The city Ethics Commission will take up the matter August 12. Here's a look at the letter: