Former Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson has sent a letter to Mayor Mike Cooper and City Council President Strom Peterson requesting that the city provide legal representation for him related to any claims related to the Haines Wharf Park project.
Such representation is typically provided by the city attorney unless a conflict of interest exists, Haakenson wrote. “Clearly such conflict exists in this case, as your city attorney has advised you that I have ‘clearly broken the law,'” according to allegations made by Councilmember DJ Wilson, he added.
“Since my actions took place while I was mayor, I am entitled to said representation,” Haakenson wrote. “And I shall choose my own counsel with reimbursement from the city according to code.”
City Attorney Jeff Taraday told the Edmonds City Council during the Aug. 23 meeting that city policy limits the mayor to signing construction contracts up to $100,000 without Council approval. While the policy doesn’t specifically address change orders, “my opinion is, once you are over that $100,000 threshold, any change order on that contract would need to come back to city council,” he said.
Wilson, running for election to his second council term, said he believes that “there has been an organized and methodical effort to mislead the City Council.” Wilson also sent out an email his supporters calling for a formal investigation into what he called “unauthorized expenditures.”