There is new information pertaining to the ethics investigation into Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly over his involvement in the City of Seattle’s purchase of Pronto, the failed bike-share company. According to reports, it is now clear that Kubly did not obtain a waiver from the ethics commission allowing him to work on the purchase of Pronto, though he was aware of the need to do so.
A waiver is necessary due to the not-so-minor detail that Kubly was once president of Alta Bicycle Share, the company operating Pronto in Seattle.
It appears that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s office was aware that Kubly needed to obtain a waiver from the start. A few weeks after Kubly’s appointment in 2014, Murray’s legal counsel emailed him the following (via the Seattle Times):
“‘I’m contacting you to begin the process of identifying potential areas of conflicts of interest pursuant to our Ethics Code,’ M. Lorena González, who left the mayor’s office in 2015 and is now a City Council member, wrote in her email to Kubly.
“‘Then we must come up with a plan to avoid potential conflicts of interest for the next 12-month period,’ she added, asking Kubly to answer a number of questions. ‘The sooner we put this plan together and submit it to Wayne Barnett, director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, the better.’”
Kubly never responded to González. Oddly enough, he did reply to the questions from his personal email account to his government email account but failed to actually email the answers to González. Nevertheless, Kubly claims that the non-response “shows the intent to disclose.”
As for legal counsel not following up with Kubly, González said obligation on her part was fulfilled by her notification. When Kubly failed to respond, González assumed he “did not believe there were any conflicts that needed to be waived at that time.”
It should be noted that Lorena González, now a member of the Seattle City Council, voted in favor of bailing out Pronto with taxpayers’ hard earned dollars.
If the ethic investigation discovers wrongdoing, Kubly faces fines up to $5,000 per violation.
Wonder if he and Councilwoman Gonzalez will stick with their stories that they meant to follow the rules, but it wasn’t really their job to actually make sure the rules were followed. Perhaps their view is that ethics are for other people, not for liberals like themselves who have the best intentions.