Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam, facing a recall effort, is asking the County Council to approve payment of his legal bills in the case.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Thomas Felnagle ruled last week that there are sufficient grounds in a recall petition to allow the effort to move to the signature-gathering phase.
Washam wants the county to pay the expenses associated with an appeal of that decision to the Washington Supreme Court, according to a note he sent to County Council members today.
The request isn’t unprecedented. The county paid the legal bills associated with recall attempts – filed by Washam – against former Auditor Cathy Pearsall-Stipek and former Assessor-Treasurer Ken Madsen.
Washam tried to recall Pearsall-Stipek four times between 1995 and 1999. The county paid her bills three of the four times. The council refused to pay when the recall effort centered on Pearsall-Stipek’s false statements in court.
Puyallup resident Robin Farris is leading the recall effort against Washam, who took office in 2009. There are many charges in the recall against Washam, who’s been found by independent investigators to have bullied and intimidated employees. Two workers recently filed claims for damages against the county because of Washam’s treatment.
Washam’s request comes one day after visiting Superior Court Judge James Cayce ordered Washam’s deputy to pay $50,000 in legal costs to Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist in Ugas’ failed recall attempt against Lindquist.
The judge previously threw the recall effort out and said it was a “bad faith” action. Ugas’ recall attempt came as Lindquist sought election this fall to the prosecutor’s job to which he’d been previously appointed.
Washam and Ugas have criticized Lindquist for refusing to investigate their complaints the former Assessor-Treasurer Madsen violated the law and cost taxpayers money by skipping required physical inspections of property. Investigators found the inspections were missed but concluded no harm was done.
Ugas has said he’ll appeal the decision on the Lindquist recall