Edmonds City Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas said Monday that she isn’t concerned about reports that the city’s contracted law firm, Lighthouse Law Group, fell behind in paying both its Professional Limited Liability Corporation registration through the State of Washington and its City of Seattle business license and taxes.
In fact, she said she believes the firm is being unfairly singled out.
Lighthouse, which has had a contract with the City of Edmonds since 2011 to serve as the city attorney, is now current with both the state and the City of Seattle, My Edmonds News confirmed.
“We all make mistakes,” Fraley-Monillas said. “It’s not like he (City Attorney Jeff Taraday) was deliberately trying to mislead anybody.”
None of the other Edmonds City Councilmembers said they wanted to pursue the matter, she said. “Since they (Lighthouse) give us good service, I don’t think this is an issue that the council wants to take up,” Fraley-Monillas added.
The council president said that when she learned about reports that the firm had unpaid fees and taxes, she asked Taraday about the situation and she was told that the lapses were an administrative oversight, that they had been addressed, and that the issue would not happen again. In addition, Fraley-Monillas said that she checked with both the city’s insurance firm and the Washington State Bar Association to determine whether whether the lapses in licensing and non-payment of taxes would affect the city’s legal standing, and was assured that they would not.
Washington State Bar Association spokesman Debra Carnes told My Edmonds News that the fact that Lighthouse didn’t keep its PLLC registration current has no impact on the standing of any of the firm’s attorneys or any legal work conducted during the time that the registration lapsed.
“It’s really not our business,” Fraley-Monillas said. “This is between Lighthouse and the City of Seattle. It doesn’t have any bearing on what we do.”
“If this would have been anybody else it wouldn’t have gone to the extent that it did,” she added. “He’s being targeted by citizens.”
Lighthouse Law Group is a Professional Limited Liability Corporation (PLLC), but the firm’s registration through the Washington Secretary of State’s office had lapsed and was inactive for two years – for the years 2013 and 2014. Lighthouse on May 8, 2015 paid a total of $271 in reinstatement fees to the Secretary of State’s office to bring the account current, plus an extra $50 to expedite the filing. The filing fee for 2015 will be due to the Secretary of State on Aug. 31, 2015
In addition, the firm is now up to date – as of May 8, 2015 – on its payment for five years worth of Seattle business licenses, paying a total of $405 for the licenses, and it has also filed its business and occupation tax and square footage tax returns for the past five years. The amount the firm paid — $12,438.75 — also included interest assessed by the City of Seattle on the back taxes.