Mayoral challenger's complaint based on hearsay

Fuzzy on the facts, Matthews says Gregerson violated campaign laws
By Nicholas Johnson | Sep 13, 2017
Courtesy of: candidates Mayoral candidate Dan Matthews, right, has filed a complaint with the state's Public Disclosure Commission alleging Mayor Jennifer Gregerson has violated campaign laws. Matthews told the Beacon his allegations are based on the observations of a source he declined to identify. He also said he plans to file two more complaints, one of which will rely on what he finds in a sweeping public records request.

Dan Matthews admits he doesn’t have all the facts, but he’s convinced Mayor Jennifer Gregerson has violated campaign laws.

That’s why the mayoral challenger filed a complaint Sept. 6 with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission alleging Gregerson used $850 of city money to hold a private luncheon for women in June at Rosehill Community Center, making her re-election campaign materials available during the event and discussing her re-election bid with attendees.

“I’m not trying to do some campaign tactic, but this was brought to my attention so I’ve filed the complaint,” Matthews said. “It’s up to the PDC to determine all the facts.”

Matthews said he did not witness the event himself. He said someone else was there and reported the information to him, but he wouldn’t identify his source. He also said a City Council member told him some $850 had been billed to the mayor’s “Discretionary Account,” but wouldn’t identify that council member, either.

“That person’s observation to me is enough corroboration that there were campaign materials available,” he said. “The event was clearly held. I don’t think she can deny that.”

In fact, it’s not clear that the event Matthews describes was ever held, and Gregerson does deny it.

“That event, as he’s describing it, was not held,” she said. “There was a leadership lunch event in April and there was an evening political event in July. I guess Dan is not very clear on his details.”

Dale Dahl, an administrative support coordinator who works at Rosehill, said her records show no event in June that matches Matthews’ description.

Dahl said a Mukilteo resident paid $660 to hold an event July 26 called “Meet the Candidates Game Night” in the Pointe Elliott room. She said that private event featured candidates for city offices, but could not recall whether Gregerson had attended.

Gregerson said she did attend, along with other female candidates for city offices, including Anna Rohrbough, Sarah Kneller and Tina Over. She said she received campaign contributions and reported them to the PDC under the title “Bunko Night” because attendees played Bunko.

Dahl also said that Gregerson hosted a private event called “Women’s Executive Leadership Luncheon” on April 14 at City Hall. Gregerson has hosted several of those since her election in 2014.

Finance Director Michelle Meyer said Gregerson billed some $793.94 to the Executive Department’s “Other Professional Services” budget for catering provided by Red Cork Bistro during that event.

The Mayor’s Office Budget, or Executive Department budget, has $612,101 in it, and $12,500 is for other professional services.

She said the mayor does not have a discretionary account per se, but certain funds, such as travel, can be used on a discretionary basis.

Debra Bordsen of Mukilteo, admittedly a Gregerson supporter, said she attended the women’s luncheon April 14 and did not see any campaign materials or hear any discussion of Gregerson’s bid for re-election.

“I would rather see them talk about the issues in town than rumors,” Bordsen said. “I would like to hear him [Matthews] talk about why he’s running for mayor rather than going after Jennifer.”

Kim Bradford, communications director for the PDC, said Matthews’ complaint is still being processed and Gregerson has yet to be officially notified. She said anyone can file a complaint with as much or as little detail as they like. She said Gregerson would have a chance to respond to the complaint. If questions and cause for concern remain, Bradford said the PDC would investigate the issue.

Matthews said he plans to file at least two more complaints. That’s why he recently filed a public records request for “all emails, receipts, letters, text messages, claims and records pertaining to Travel and Per Diem expenses, or reimbursements, made or caused to be made by or on behalf of the Mukilteo Mayor, each Mukilteo City Council member, and the Mukilteo Policy Analyst, during the years 2016 and 2017.”

Though the request is broad, Matthews said he knows what he’s looking for.

“This isn’t a fishing exercise,” he said. “I know exactly what I’m looking for.”

Gregerson said she has filed one PDC complaint in her 14 years as an elected official, and doesn’t take it lightly. Her advice for Matthews: “He should work on his own PDC filings, because they’re wrong. He still hasn’t reported his yard signs, which he clearly bought months ago.”

Matthews’ vague and unsubstantiated complaint amounts to a petty campaign attack, Gregerson said.

“I’m not surprised,” she said. “It’s the same tone that Dan has had throughout the campaign. It’s unfortunate that he wants to engage in attacks and negative campaigning. I think Mukilteans expect better from their elected officials and candidates.”

Comments (2)
Posted by: Joe Kunzler | Sep 13, 2017 19:10

Dan Matthews is a Santa Clara Fourty Whiner who since he has no policy, no plan, no vision is going to play dirty.  Dumbo Danny is so dumb, I praise Gd for this thing called autopilot.  Which Mukilteo and Paine Field do not need in the Mayor's Office.


Dumbo Danny and his partner in mudslinging in "Sire" Zieve threaten to turn Mukilteo City Hall into reality television.  I, for one, want no part of such a Beyond Sanity outcome.

Posted by: Joe Kunzler | Sep 14, 2017 11:20

Dear Editor;
I was just down in your fine city working with your fine mayor to improve transit access to Paine Field destinations.  It seems to me as if the Mukilteo City Hall is "Jennifer Island" in a sea of insanity.
I walk off the rhetorical island 13 September to a fresh reminder from the Mukilteo Beacon of this sea of insanity where one fellow male brags about how many children he's sired and his marital status on all of his campaign signs and another fellow male runs another ad bragging about the number of children he's sired and conducts a dishonorable offensive of campaign finance regulation based on "hearsay".  As someone secure in my masculinity much more so than my photography; I find those fellow males' having this pressing need to publicly discuss their private parts' performance... Beyond Sanity on so many levels.
We can start with the work of actually governing and advocating for a better Mukilteo does not require showmanship or acting like Tim Eyman is your role model but calm, mature management dealing with such tedious tasks like planning bus shelters, getting the County Executive to listen, and applying for financial aid.  Tasks that do not make reality television or splashy headlines, but the quiet work behind the scenes that makes awesome possible.  Hence my endorsements of Bob Champion, Jennifer Gregerson and Sarah Kneller.
Furthermore, I've had and will continue to have conversations with fellow transit community regional leaders at the grassroots and the transit agency levels.  One message we all agree on is a Mukilteo vote against Jennifer Gregerson is a vote against our efforts to get the proper amount of transit service between Mukilteo and Paine Field. Folks, we transit advocates are all taking very personally the negative campaign against Jennifer Gregerson and this election in several races has now become a referendum on not just winning fair transit services for Mukilteo and Paine Field, but also whether the dishonorable campaigns of two candidates for public office are acceptable.
Oh and one last thing: A vote for Jennifer Gregerson is a vote to have a more than fair opportunity to keep Mukilteo's seat on the Community Transit Board just as new transit routes and extended transit services come online. As your friend Mukilteo, please vote accordingly.

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