49 interviewed, thousands of emails released to investigator
Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740
Friday, June 17, 2016 at 3:18 p.m.
The Investigation Oversight Committee provided an update today on the status of the investigation being conducted by the Seabold Group. The update is as follows:
“The City Council will update the contract for an independent investigation with Seabold on June 20 and expects a final report by July 15th. In the last few weeks, Seabold has completed full interviews of Mayor Condon, Theresa Sanders, Terri Pfister, Heather Lowe, Brian Coddington, Brad Arleth and Joe Walker. These interviews were all voluntary. To date, Seabold has interviewed 49 witnesses, several on multiple occasions. The last remaining interview with a non-attorney current city employee is being scheduled for next week. Kris Cappel may schedule additional interviews to address information contained in documents that are currently in the process of being released to her.
At the request of the Investigation Oversight Committee, the City retained Special Counsel Kutak Rock LLP to conduct a review of documents that might be subject to attorney-client privilege. These documents are composed mostly of City emails. Today, non-privileged emails from senders whose last names begin with J-R were provided to Seabold, leaving approximately 2,500 emails from senders whose last names begin with S-Z. Those emails should be reviewed the following week with subsequent release of non-privileged records to Seabold.
Emails from the initial reviews that appear to be privileged will then be analyzed closely to see which of those records can be released. A deeper review of the first batch of documents that were initially identified as privileged led to the release of most of those documents that had initially been withheld, although some still contain redactions. Seabold continues to work with Kutak to reach agreement on the extent of those redactions. As a result, the Committee is confident that after final review only a small portion of records will be withheld as privileged and a detailed index explaining why will be prepared and released. The City Council and the Mayor will then have the opportunity to directly review those remaining records and determine how best to proceed. The Mayor and some Council Members recently held one meeting and will hold an additional meeting to discuss how best to proceed in making a final decision on how to address the remaining privileged documents in connection with the investigation.
In summary, the Seabold Report should be available to the public in the second half of July. Kris Cappel will have had the opportunity to interview every current city employee other than the city attorneys who reasonably believe that they can’t be interviewed due to privilege issues, and will have had access to nearly every document identified as relevant to the investigation. The small number of relevant documents withheld under privilege will undergo at a minimum a review by City Council members prior to a final decision on whether or not they will be released.”