Update Friday, Feb. 22, 9 a.m.: Woodinville resident Dale Knapinski has delivered a letter to city staffers challenging Woodinville City Councilmember Scott Hageman's Woodinville residency. Last week, City Attorney Greg Rubestello said a challenge would have to come from a resident or prosecutor in order for the city to act.
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Tuesday's Woodinville City Council meeting started with a question as to whether one councilmember is still qualified to sit on the council.
"It's been brought to my attention that Councilmember Scott Hageman no longer lives in the city of Woodinville and therefore is no longer qualified to be a councilmember," Woodinville Mayor Bernie Talmas said.
Talmas said he had information saying Hageman purchased a home in Kirkland several months ago and that a renter is living in the home he still owns off Woodinville-Duvall Road.
When Talmas asked if Hageman would like to comment, Hageman initially replied, "Yes, what can I do for you?"
After a second prompting, Hageman said personal matters within his family, that he would rather not share with the public, have caused his wife and son to move to Kirkland and that while he visits them there, he has leased a place near his home on Woodinville Duvall Road.
"I do not consider myself a resident of Kirkland at this time," Hageman said.
Talmas further said he had information that Hageman was seen at the Kirkland residence late at night and that his name is on the home loan documents that were signed as a primary residence for both he and his wife.
Hageman said although he is still married, the Kirkland home was meant to be for his wife and that the leased place is now is permanent residence.
Woodinville City Attorney Greg Rubestello said a potential problem exists if it is found out a councilmember has been occupying an elected position he is no longer qualified for.
"If a vote is invalidated, it could invalidate actions you (the council) might take, so it's an issue of some concern that needs to get resolved one way or another very quickly, Rubestello said.
The council went into executive session, which is not open to the public, for about 15 minutes to discuss the matter. Hageman returned to the meeting with the council and the meeting proceeded with his participation.
Rubestello said it's not a matter the council can decide. A residency challenge can be made by city resident or county prosecuting attorney.
"This is something (the prosecuting attorney) may want to look at as it involves an elected official," Talmas said.
Click here to watch the council meeting. The discussion on Hageman's residency is at the beginning.