Whitesuing for conflict of interest

Published on Thu, Dec 15, 2005 by eg Olson

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White suing for conflict of interest

By Meg Olson

Former city council member David White is taking a handful of city officials to court alleging they violated state conflict of interest laws.
The complaint, filed in Whatcom Superior Court December 13, names planning commissioners Brad O’Neill and Sue Sturgill, city council member Bruce Wolf, and hearing examiner Roger Ellingson. White is alleging O’Neill and Wolf acted improperly by participating in decisions regarding the Blaine boardwalk project when they owned properties that could be affected by the project.

White is claiming their actions violate a state law which prohibits municipal office holders from being “beneficially interested, directly or indirectly” by any contracts made through or by their office. Sturgill, misidentified in the complaint as a city council member, is named in connection to her husband’s involvement with the Plover ferry. Ellingson is simply named as being the city hearing examiner and a member of the city’s boardwalk committee but the complaint does not specify the perceived conflict.

White is asking the court to render the decisions of the named officials void, remove them from office, fine each of them $500 and enjoin the return of $2 million in taxpayers dollars allegedly spent to date on the boardwalk project.