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Tacoma Rainiers’ consultant blasts councilman in email string

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on April 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm with 34 Comments »
April 18, 2011 3:27 pm

With the City of Tacoma and Tacoma Rainiers set to celebrate Opening Day at a newly renovated Cheney Stadium tonight, a behind-the-scenes — if disparaging — email discussion among key city and team officials late last month has emerged courtesy of the state’s public records act.

In the email thread, Steve Patterson, a consultant for the Rainiers — the minor-league tenant of the city-owned ballpark that’s set to host its first game tonight after $30 million of improvements — blasts Councilman David Boe for “secretly misus(ing) his public position to line his own private pockets.”

Patterson’s email comes amid a discussion among some city and team officials about how to respond to questions Boe originally sent to City Manager Eric Anderson after reading The News Tribune’s story last month about a controversial procurement process in the ballpark renovation project. (Neither Anderson nor Boe are included on the email thread).

Among other things, Boe wondered in his email to Anderson sent Mar. 20 if the city faced paying any monetary damages should the ballpark renovations not be completely finished by an April 1 deadline. Boe also wondered if a public demonstration area had been identified at the ballpark. (Ensuing emails show that neither Rainiers’ President Aaron Artman nor Patterson were agreeable to a demonstration area, although Mike Combs, the city’s Public Assembly Facilities Director, noted that such areas are protected by federal law.)

To Boe’s questions, Patterson responded to the group:

At the last OAC meeting we discussed that the gas will be in by the 25th. Substantial completion with a punchlist is not the same as having every last item done and doesn’t relieve Mortenson of the obligation to finish the punchlist. Boe is grandstanding. The deal was never that every punchlist item would be done by April 1, and he knows the difference. He’s using his usual prevarication just as a way to gig us all. At the rate we’re going now we should be substantially complete on time with a punchlist. The punchlist for the offices and Summit Club space was pretty short. That gives us two weeks before any games and liquidated damages discussion. I’d find it difficult to imagine we won’t be able to play on the 15th.
The team’s lease doesn’t provide any space for demonstrations.
I see no reason to entertain any suggestions from someone who tried to secretly misuse his public position to line his own private pockets.

Patterson’s comments appear aimed at Boe’s involvement with one of the ballpark renovation project’s losing bid teams — a relationship that ultimately drew an ethics complaint against him.

Boe, who drafted final ballpark design plans for the Wade Perrow Construction bid team while he was a finalist for a city council appointment, did not initially publicly disclose those ties, even after joining the council and during its consideration of awarding a contract for the project to Mortenson Construction. Boe ultimately disclosed the relationship just before the council voted on the contract (and after Artman complained to the city). The city’s ethics board “failed to establish” that Boe violated city ethics rules, but a 77-page report issued by the panel hardly excused Boe’s actions.

Patterson also was the subject of a separate controversy during the ballpark project’s bidding process. A member of the bid selection committee, he was observed during the selection process meeting with two architects working with the eventual winning bid team. After WPC officials complained, a city investigation later determined the bid process had not been tainted.

The email thread with Patterson’s disparaging comments about Boe were originally obtained from the city by Robert “The Traveller” Hill via public disclsoure request. Hill provided The News Tribune with a web link to access that thread and other emails this week.

Here’s the entire email thread:

From: Boe, David
Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2011 10:51 AM
To: Anderson, Eric
Cc: Strickland, Marilyn; Campbell, Marty
Subject: Cheney Stadium Questions

Eric, in the paper today is quoted Rick Melvin as saying that the Cheney Stadium Project is going to be substantially complete on the 1st of April 2011. In the previous presentations to Council, and in the last agreement we approved, the project was going to be 100% complete on the 1st. My concern is to make sure we know what has yet to be complete AND if our tenant is OK with the project not being 100% on the 1st (due to the significant liquidated damages clause from the agreement).

I have assumed all along that even on opening day there will be a number of items still to be completed – just want to make sure our tenant is OK with that situation as well and that no additional cost is generated by the contractor to complete such.

And what is the status of the landscaping of the parking lot? Is that something that is going to be bonded for completion either over the Summer or possibly in the fall when the planting season is the best?

And one last item is the item brought up at the last Public Forum of having policy and location for public demonstration clearly identified before the first game – either a posted list of where public demonstration can or cannot occur and/or a dedicated location at the ballpark identified (like is at the Tacoma Dome). Thanks, David

David Boe
Tacoma City Council – At-large Position #7
From: Holderman, Celia On Behalf Of Anderson, Eric
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 11:20 AM
To: Combs, Mike
Subject: FW: Cheney Stadium Questions

Celia Holderman
City Manager’s Office
747 Market Street, Room 1200
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 591-5134
From: Combs, Mike
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 11:22 AM
To: Melvin, Rick
Subject: FW: Cheney Stadium Questions

Here are Boe’s questions.

Let’s talk after lunch about these.

From: Melvin, Rick [mailto:rick.melvin@ci.tacoma.wa.us]
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 11:34 AM
To: Ben.Golding@mortenson.com; Neal.Schaefer@mortenson.com; Aaron Artman ; ‘stevewpatterson@gmail.com’
Cc: Combs, Mike
Subject: FW: Cheney Stadium Questions

FYI, I know where we will be at on April 1st, but if you have any comments on Boe’s email below I like to have them. AA, maybe an email or letter to Mike and or the CM relative to the project status and your satisfaction with the projects’ status, progress and you aren’t looking for LDs probably wouldn’t hurt.


From: “Aaron Artman”
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:42:43 -0700
To: ‘Melvin, Rick'; ; ;
Cc: ‘Combs, Mike’

Subject: RE: Cheney Stadium Questions

1. The team will have to inspect the entire stadium, go through punch lists, etc. before we sign anything showing we’re satisfied with the project. Fine signing on to something stating that things look good so far, though. Other than that, I will protect our right for liquidated damages, per the lease, until all things are complete, gas lines are working, we know dates of completion for things that aren’t done yet – whether in Mortensen’s hands or the city’s hands.

As far as Boe’s other points, I don’t see an area fit for any type of public demonstration on Opening Day. Too much car traffic as our parking situation hasn’t changed.
From: spatterson@prosportsconsulting.net [mailto:spatterson@prosportsconsulting.net]
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 2:45 PM
To: Aaron Artman; Melvin, Rick; Ben Golding; Neal.Schaefer@mortenson.com; Steve Patterson
Cc: Combs, Mike
Subject: Re: Cheney Stadium Questions

At the last OAC meeting we discussed that the gas will be in by the 25th. Substantial completion with a punchlist is not the same as having every last item done and doesn’t relieve Mortenson of the obligation to finish the punchlist. Boe is grandstanding. The deal was never that every punchlist item would be done by April 1, and he knows the difference. He’s using his usual prevarication just as a way to gig us all. At the rate we’re going now we should be substantially complete on time with a punchlist. The punchlist for the offices and Summit Club space was pretty short. That gives us two weeks before any games and liquidated damages discussion. I’d find it difficult to imagine we won’t be able to play on the 15th.
The team’s lease doesn’t provide any space for demonstrations.
I see no reason to entertain any suggestions from someone who tried to secretly misuse his public position to line his own private pockets.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
From: Combs, Mike [mailto:MCOMBS@ci.tacoma.wa.us]
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 2:56 PM
To: spatterson@prosportsconsulting.net; Aaron Artman; Melvin, Rick; Ben Golding; Neal.Schaefer@mortenson.com; Steve Patterson
Subject: RE: Cheney Stadium Questions

Thanks Steve. The public demonstration area we have to provide by Federal law. It’s difficult at Cheney because we have the perimeter road in front of our entrance. I think there’s some space to the left and right of our entry gates where we could mark the area for public demonstrations such as signature gathering or political campaigns. Something as simple as a painted line etc. It’s easy at the Dome because we have a public sidewalk in front of the building and they’re restricted to that area. It’s best to provide an area or they attempt to block the entry gates or harass people in the ticket line which they can’t do.
From: “Aaron Artman”
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 14:59:52 -0700
To: ‘Combs, Mike'; ; ‘Melvin, Rick'; ‘Ben Golding'; ; ‘Steve Patterson’
Subject: RE: Cheney Stadium Questions

How about the LF entrance area, not blocking the area where people buy tickets, though?
From: On Behalf Of spatterson@prosportsconsulting.net
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 3:08 PM
To: Aaron Artman; Mike Combs; ‘Melvin, Rick'; Ben Golding; Neal.Schaefer@mortenson.com; Steve Patterson
Subject: Re: Cheney Stadium Questions

I’d question that a privately operated public facility needs to do that.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
From: Aaron Artman [mailto:aartman@tacomarainiers.com]
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 3:13 PM
To: spatterson@prosportsconsulting.net; Combs, Mike; Melvin, Rick; ‘Ben Golding'; Neal.Schaefer@mortenson.com; ‘Steve Patterson’
Subject: RE: Cheney Stadium Questions

Let’s have the lawyers look at it then.

Leave a comment Comments → 34
  1. Citizen Tacoma says:

    no mention that Robert Hill is running against Boe?

  2. frankiethomas says:

    I like that Patterson fella. Yes I do.

  3. insidevoice says:

    I read Boe’s email to the city manager. I would not call that grandstanding, Having been around the Rainers this last year, I trust Mr. Patterson and Mr. Artman as far as I can throw them.

    They are the reason there is no longer a roof. It has been their cocky screw the little guy, “Let them eat bread” attitude that has forever ruined baseball in Tacoma. Despite the fact tax payers paid millions of dollars they doesn’t believe citizens should be afforded basic civil rights. Did you see where he directed the public assembly area be put????? A shame and an insult to every American fought to defend our right to free speech.

    I’ll bet tonight they will be nice and dry in biggest luxury box sipping fine wine and smoking big cigars. Every time I shake hands with them I count my fingers.

    Mr. Kamb, can you find out how much Mr. Patterson and Mr Artman made from the taxpayers on this “project” ?

  4. Alison7613 says:

    Wait, Robert Hill breaks this story? What? Did? I? Just? Read?

  5. I’m hesitant to comment on another City’s business but this is absurd. These are the exact questions I would expect any councilmember to be asking, particularly one that knew a thing or two about construction. These are standard questions any principle should be asking of their contractor and frankly Patterson owes at least an apology. If I were his boss I would fire him immediately.

    To say the least, I would recommend any city think twice before hiring this firm.

  6. The building is UGLY UGLY UGLY and a dirty diaper brown blight on the horizon no matter what other politics/persons/corruption and I feel squeamish there may be some/ 30 million insult to my taxpaying pocketbook when it could have built a performing arts center affordable for use by local non-profits – but oh jeeeesus can Tacoma’s homophobic population deal with musical and dancer vs baseball?

  7. m9078jk3 says:

    So our legendary honorable “future Sheriff” State Master Robert Jesse Hill is back again.

  8. Seems to me that Mr. Boe is asking the right questions. After all, he does represent the taxpayers of this City. Mr. Patterson doesn’t.

  9. summit98446 says:

    This information reflects far more poorly on this Patterson dude. Construction consultants routinely bully or blow off like this (In the real world, right before they are replaced).
    It would be nice to know how much Patterson’s firm made off this project. If I recall, Boe donated his labor related to Cheney out of a sense of civic pride & responsibility. A little green around the edges, but one of the good eggs, who will no doubt save us all from future pink concrete parks.

  10. samanthamarten says:

    Let’s just play baseball!

  11. whiterabbit says:

    Wow, these Rainiers guys really don’t get it. they’re supposed to the guests in our city. They don’t own the stadium, the taxpayers do. Both these guys Artman and Patterson are insulting. Let’s get rid of them.

  12. Mr Paterson has something up his sleeve…..bad dude.

  13. Anyone who knows Artman and Patterson knows that this is a smokescreen to distract from a long list of their own improprieties. Boe’s involvement was neither secret nor for his personal benefit. And he had no position with the City at the time this all happened anyway.

    It would be great if someone at the City – Boe, Combs, Anderson, Melvin, or anyone else on the email chain, had the stones to stand up to these two bullys just once.

  14. Mr. Boe is a Tacoma patriot and the best thing going on the current City Council. This article is ridiculous in so many ways. In fact, if Boe had his way we would have had a concourse for patrons that views the field instead of Rainiers offices. Instead the food is tucked underneath where you can’t get nachos while watching the game. So, with only that tidbit of information in mind, how much power do you think he had over this process?

    If anyone knows who Robert “The Traveller” Hill is, you’d be laughing right now.

  15. whiterabbit says:

    @straightcash i’m not sure if i totally buy into the spin that Boe was a victim of his own altruistic circumstances in all of this. i just scanned through the ethics report linked in the article and it looks like he had his own motivations. There’s plenty of blame to pass around in this debacle. But put all that aside and these Rainiers execs are still infuriatingly pompous. i hope the team’s new owner severs ties with these guys as soon as possible. trading the stadium’s roof simply to pick as much money as possible out of the average fan’s pocket and now this. Tacoma’s taxpayers deserve a better class of “tenant” than this in it’s buildings.

  16. Alison7613 says:

    I cannot see anything in this series of e-mails indicating Boe is unethical. Boe cares about our city. He is opposed to the paving of a large section of downtown for Davita parking. Why can’t the employees commute in like the rest of the employees in the city? Boe is a visionary. This is clearly visionary who cares about the city versus contractor. I am going with visionary.

  17. What a ridiculous Headline!!!!

    TNT, you ought to be ashamed. If you don’t read the entire article, you’d think David Boe did something wrong.

    I don’t see anything wrong with his questions. From what I’ve read over the years, I’d be willing to put Boe against Patterson any day of the week when it comes to construction knowledge and ethics.

    Mr. Boe, thank you for looking out for the taxpayer and not rolling over like most of the other politicians. I’ll definitely be voting for you if you decide to run for another term.

  18. guidocarmasi says:

    praise in public criticize in private By the way, the building needs a cover and heat in this area of the country. What a waste of money and I like baseball.

  19. pierced11 says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see Boe’s name in the headline.

    A few other thoughts:

    1) Whether these emails were acquired by the newspaper, Robert Hill, the Queen of England or the Man on the Moon doesn’t change their contents. I for one am glad they have been publicized and could care less who received them first or how. Let’s stay focused on what’s important people.

    2) If all it takes in this town to be annointed a “visionary” is to oppose one parking lot, god help us all.

    3) Either Boe was an ignorant newbie or an underhanded rascal [or maybe something inbetween], but let’s not distort or ignore facts. What he did was wrong and did not in any way serve the citizens he is supposed to represent.

    4) If we needed any further proof that the Rainiers management team could give a flying you know what about the fans or Tacoma’s tax paying public, look no further than this.

    That is all.

  20. FaceRealty says:

    if i were boe, i’d sue patterson. what boe did in relation to the bidding contractor was never proven to rise to the level of “lining his pockets” like what patterson is emailing to everyone. boe’s questions seem reasonable, it’s patterson who seems out of line.

  21. wonder if this patterson guy has the cajones to say what he did in writing to his pals to the councilman’s face.

    and Kooper, what’s so ridiculous about the headline?

  22. voiceofreason says:

    Has anyone considered that what Patterson is doing here isn’t just insulting Boe, but all Tacoma citizens? Regardless of what you think of Boe, in this particular instance he is acting as a representative of the citizenry and asking questions aimed at protecting the city’s interests. These are questions that any tenant or contractor with the city should be respectfully answering. Instead, Patterson not only insults Boe but dismisses his questions altogether. He’s saying that Boe’s concerns do not matter, and by extension, he’s saying the city’s concerns do not matter. This is very disturbing. I think the Rainier’s not only owe Boe an apology but they owe one to all citizens of this city.

  23. Inflammatory untrue statements sucked out of dirty air thrown against one of our most decent council people, really, Patterson? You consult the Rainiers and the people of Tacoma end up standing in the rain. It is sad that Tacoma ends up with people like Mulligan, Anderson and Patterson, who make money for making money sake, and not because they give a damn about Tacoma.

  24. Carol Webster says:

    The headline and the inference about Boe’s integrity are an embarassment for the TNT.

    David Boe is doing what we expect of our Council representatives – he is asking the questions we would want to have asked about an expensive construction project.

    I know, admire, and will happily vote for Boe.

  25. I am glad that I did not read this before going and sitting in the cold rain, in uncovered seating looking up at the covered luxury sky boxes and administrative offices (Who puts administrative office behind home plate with big windows?). It is clear the improvement where mostly done to earn more money for the owners at the cost of $30 million to tax payers. That ugly brown paint job is not worth a dime of it.

    I can think of at least one use for a public demonstration area.

    Thank you Council member Boe for asking the questions.

  26. TtownMatt says:

    I don’t have a problem with the headline. I do have a problem with Patterson. What a weasel.

  27. Duane Johnson says:

    Since when does asking a contractor what has been completed, and if all regulations have been met, indicate the individual asking the questions is “lining his pocket”?

    With the totally unsubstanuated accusations in this blog, it is obvious someone’s pockets are being lined, but it certainly isn’t Boe’s!

  28. so freaking funny. Enjoy your wet seats ! I love Boe and I love The Traveller. it’s going to be a hard choice.

  29. I drew a cartoon about Boe’s rival stadium design he clumsily attempted to use to ‘line his own private pockets’


  30. Luther_Walker says:

    Hooray for the clear eyed citizens above who correctly identify Patterson as the creepy weasel he is, and recognize Boe for, um, doing his job.

  31. TNT should hire The Traveller as their new “Word on the Streets” blog writer. It’s really a shame how the TNT ignores important events like World Master-debating Day.

  32. Patterson knows the game he’s playing. I don’t see any grandstanding on Boe’s part as he’s asking legitimate questions that needed asking. Too bad reputations have to be attacked to move a “between the lines” agenda forward. Patterson needs to be less defensive, and focus on some project management. Go find a “real issue” to write about!

  33. It is apparent Patterson is a shockingly ignorant consultant by any standard! Sleazy weasels like this should be avoided by any construction companies in the future. Also, enjoy your wet seats.

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