Evan Smith: More on the Fimia lawsuit

Friday, October 22, 2010

By Evan Smith
ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer

My previous stories about the lawsuit against the City of Shoreline and former City Councilwoman Maggie Fimia over the four-year-old Fimia e-mails left some questions:

• Could Fimia be charged with a crime?
It is a crime to destroy public documents willingly and knowingly, but that would be almost impossible to prove.

• Where would the civil penalties that the city would have to pay go?
Shoreline City Attorney Ian Sievers told me Tuesday that civil penalties are like damages in any civil lawsuit; they go to the person who brought and won the suit, in this case Beth O’Neill.


Anonymous,  October 22, 2010 at 8:11 AM  

Why on earth do you keep harping on the "crime" issue.

If you recall the substance of the original email was between activists who were imploring each other to "get the word out" for folks to come to a Council meeting.
They were exhorting each other to FORWARD the email as far and wide as possible. Ms Fimia received it through that process and she read the message at the Council meeting into the public record and turned over the message immediately to the City.

The original was deleted by accident, according to sworn statements.

Now Beth O'Neill and her cronies have cost taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars and created a nightmare for local governments.

Beth O'Neill is the one to be blamed for this ridiculous frivolous lawsuit.
It was nothing but a fishing expedition from the get-go.

Evan Smith,  October 22, 2010 at 8:42 AM  

Harping on the "crime" issue? I was trying to clarify the vague statement in an earlier post by noting that, while someone who withholds a public record theoretically can be charged with a crime, that crime requires "willful and deliberate" destruction of a document, something that is almost impossible to establish,

Anonymous,  October 22, 2010 at 6:08 PM  

Evan - you did not fully disclose in this new article that you were merely reporting what the O'Neil counsel stated, that Fimia could be charged with a crime (if it was that counsel, unclear given your shoddy reporting).

These two articles are terrible examples of "reporting," if they can be called journalism at all.

As for civil penalties, they are written into the PRA, but I guess it is too hard for you to go and read what it specifies. Additionally, the decisions at the appeals and supreme court have not gone well for the O'Neils in terms of legal fees, they have been remanded for reconsideration - AGAIN.

Missing from this entire discussion is how the O'Neils are going to make all the taxpayers of the City of Shoreline pay for their little vendetta if they win, why haven't you pointed that out, Evan?

Evan Smith,  October 22, 2010 at 7:29 PM  

some might say that the taxpayers are paying for an O'Neill "vendetta," but others would say that those taxpayers are paying for Fimia's failure to give the information when she should have.
I did talk to the counsel for the O'Neills, but I also talked to the City attorney who represented the other side,

Anonymous,  October 23, 2010 at 7:56 PM  

O'Neil did not originally ask for the metadata, Evan. Readers have gone and read the case reports, O'Neil made three separate requests.

Additionally, she received metadata from other email sources related to this request, but she did not receive this specific email (and the metadata was a request that was not made originally).

However, you never bothered to report on those facts, did you Evan? It's much more fun to stir the pot.

After all these years, most would say this is a waste of taxpayers money, Evan. What would this money pay for, it would pay for the senior services, YMCA, Center for Human Services, and other budgets - let's put it in real terms. It would fund three senior staff members in full, including benefits, it is a vendetta providing no public good since metadata was already established as part of a public record in Arizona.

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