Deputy Assessor-Treasurer Ugas could be liable for legal bills in bid to recall Prosecutor Lindquist, county attorney says
An effort by Pierce County Deputy Assessor-Treasurer Alberto Ugas and another Pierce County resident to recall Prosecutor Mark Lindquist could cost the pair a lot of money in legal fees.
Lindquist says the recall is frivolous and believes it’s an attempt to influence the Nov. 2 General Election in which Lindquist is opposed by attorney Bertha Fitzer, who formerly worked in the prosecutor’s office.
When I asked Pierce County Communications Director Hunter George who would represent Lindquist and pay the legal bills in this case, I got this reply by e-mail from Chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor Douglas Vanscoy, who works for Lindquist.
“The County, including the Prosecutor’s Office, is precluded by law from supporting or opposing any recall or other ballot measure. The lone exception to that rule is a statute, RCW 4.96.041(3), permitting a county or other local government to pay the reasonable litigation expenses, including private counsel, incurred by the subject of a recall. The County may not be asked to pay for such expenses related to this particular recall, however. The state Supreme Court held in 1998 that courts are not “powerless to respond to intentionally frivolous recall petitions brought for the purpose of harassment. Attorney fees may be awarded against a petitioner who brings a recall petition in bad faith.”
Ugas could not be reached for comment this morning. He and Lake Tapps resident Dan Fishburn filed the recall petition against Lindquist last week, claiming Lindquist has failed to uphold the law by refusing to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by previous Assessor-Treasurer Ken Madsen and his staff.