Seattle attorney rejects settlement in head tax lawsuit

Jul 5, 2018, 5:56 AM | Updated: 1:55 pm
head tax, affordable housing...
The Seattle City Council passed a $47 million per year head tax on business on May 14. They repealed it one month later. (MyNorthwest)

A Seattle attorney rejected the city’s offer to settle a lawsuit which accuses council members and the mayor of breaking the law before voting to repeal the controversial head tax.

The lawsuit alleges that seven of the nine council members agreed to repeal the head tax before announcing a special meeting on Tuesday, June 12.

Report: City wouldn’t admit wrongdoing in head tax settlement

“You might think that well this is what council members do,” James Egan told KTTH’s Jason Rantz. “The problem is at secret meetings where there’s a decision between a subset of the council members to vote a certain way is against the rule.  That decision has supposed to be reserved to the point of the hearing.”

Seattle’s city attorney offered to pay about $4,000, but attorney Egan says it’s not about the money.

“It is troubling when corruption in the government is uncovered,” Egan said. “It is a subject that any taxpayer should pay close attention to because if you fail to do that, of course, then that corruption will grow again like weeds.

Egan said he’s also upset that the money would be coming from taxpayer dollars instead of the mayor and council members’ own pockets.

The city attorney has said in the past that he doesn’t believe any laws were broken.

Meanwhile, The Seattle Times reports a second lawsuit has been filed. Arthur West filed his suit against the city on the same day as Egan over the same issue. The Times says the city attorney’s office wasn’t aware of the lawsuit until receiving a letter from West’s attorney on Monday that offered to drop any potential fees or costs if the city admits it broke the law.

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Seattle attorney rejects settlement in head tax lawsuit