News

State may sue Des Moines contributors

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

The state Public Disclosure Commission has asked Washington’s attorney general to sue a group of investors and a transport company accused of making illegal campaign contributions to members of the Des Moines City Council in 2001.

The PDC has alleged the investors and company were participants in a scheme to secure a contract to build a conveyor belt to transport fill from Des Moines to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and to stack the council with members favorable to the third runway project.

contract to build a conveyor belt to transport fill from Des Moines to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and to stack the council with members favorable to the third runway project.

Janelle Guthrie, spokeswoman for Attorney General Rob McKenna, said attorneys on McKenna’s staff will spend a couple weeks reviewing the PDC complaint and decide whether to file a lawsuit.

PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson said the commission’s request for legal action won’t have any affect on the third-runway project.

The PDC’s complaint named Environmental Materials Transport LLC, its president Hank Hopkins and TME Capital Group LLC, composed of Elling Halvorson, Catherine Boshaw, Doug Edlund, John Taylor, Lon Halvorson, E. Kent Halvorson, Tim Teteak and David Chavalier.

TME Capital Group was a group of investors formed to finance Environmental Materials Transport, headed by Hopkins, who wanted the contract to build a conveyor belt from Des Moines to the airport.

According to the Public Disclosure Commission, the investors failed to register and failed to report spending $60,000 to support three Des Moines City Council candidates in the 2001 race. The PDC also accused them of concealing their identities when they gave campaign contributions to candidates who would be supportive of their bid to build the conveyor belt.

According to an earlier investigation by the PDC, Hopkins asked former Des Moines City Councilman and mayor Don Wasson to find candidates who would support his bid to build the conveyor belt. The commission said campaign contributions were illegally funneled to them.

It was similar to a case in 1999, in which the investors settled, agreeing to pay $40,000 in penalties and the Commission’s $3,000 costs.

In a stipulated agreement with the Public Disclosure Commission in 2003, Wasson resigned from the council and agreed never to seek public office in Washington again, never to serve as campaign treasurer for any candidate or committee, and never to solicit campaign contributions. The agreement also included a $10,000 penalty, $7,500 of which was suspended.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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