December 12, 2012
Vol: 19 No: 50

News

Indian commission lawsuit against city dismissed by state’s high court

by: RC Staff

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The Washington State Superior Court dismissed the bulk of a lawsuit filed by former and current members of the Seattle Indian Services Commission against the city of Seattle.

Mayor Mike McGinn took over the commission in October because of its financial problems. With approval from the Seattle City Council, the city took over management of the commission and installed the city’s director of finance and administration, Fred Podesta, as the chair of the commission’s board.

The lawsuit, spearheaded by board member Andrina Abada, claimed the city did not have that authority, but on Nov. 19 Judge Bruce Heller dismissed those claims.

According to a 2011 audit, the group had $70,000 in unaccounted expenditures, the commission could not afford to pay for repairs needed in its two buildings and a former commission administrator had used organizational funds to pay off personal debts. The group was also at risk of defaulting on $6.7 million in bonds it owes for the two buildings it owns.

The commission owns the Leschi Building at 611 12th Ave. S. and the Pearl Warren Building at 606 12th Ave. S.

The buildings house several social services, including a medical clinic, a food bank, a hot meal program and a shelter.

Until the city took over, the commission was unable to resolve any of its financial concerns because board members could not agree on a course of action.

With the lawsuit dismissed, Podesta will continue to work with the board to resolve its financial problems.

The board members are doing an assessment of the value and condition of the two properties to determine what to do with them in the future.

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