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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 |
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.

Patterson
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.”
Boe

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:

Gentlemen,
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.

Mike
———————————-
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.

Thanks,

Rick
—————————
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

Gentlemen,
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.

*
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