Lynn Brewer says Employment Security Department won’t turn over chat messages

Aug 12, 2021, 1:08 PM | Updated: 2:59 pm
messages, Employment Security Department...
A sign at the headquarters for Washington state's Employment Security Department at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

In July, business ethics author Lynn Brewer won $100,000 in a legal settlement after suing the Washington Employment Security Department for delaying a public records request. Now, she says she has a tipster who claims that ESD is destroying 88 million in-house messages.

Brewer tells KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show: “My lawyer got a tip from someone anonymously, but clearly inside the organization or affiliated with the organization in some manner — whether that’s a consultant, we’re not sure — it was a male and they did not leave their name or number.”

Brewer said the tipster explained that over the weekend of July 31 and Aug. 1, the Employment Security Department intended to delete all of its internal chat between employees and perhaps consultants.

“The reason that it became so interesting to me is that we, despite having requested and then sued for all internal electronic communication, these chats were never produced. And what they — the ESD —  responded on Aug. 5 and said there were 88 million chat messages from March 2020 to July 30, 2021.”

Brewer said she’s not sure what’s in the chat messages. She said she and her lawyer, and The Washington Coalition for Open Government, have requested the messages. Brewer said the ESD responded with a form letter letting them know that it’s not a proper request under the Public Records Act because they’re asking for all chats. She said her lawyer narrowed down the request to all messages concerning imposter fraud.

“Still, they’re saying it’s not a proper records request,” Brewer said. “If they destroyed them after we requested them, then they’re in big violation of the Records Request Act or Public Records Act.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Lynn Brewer says Employment Security Department won’t turn over chat messages