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Update: Questions Arise Over Woodinville City Councilmember's Residency Status

"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.

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.

Original post --

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.

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Daryl Treadwell February 18, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Rumors are rumors. How do you know it is a fraudalent loan application? Do you know this for a fact or are you just making this up? Show the public the loan documents.
Jolena Friday February 18, 2013 at 11:37 PM
It is my understanding that loan applications follow strict adherence to declarations ofresidence and income; therefore, just tipping off the fbi office in charge of bank fraud should do the trick. What do you all think about this method?
Nancy Cunningham February 19, 2013 at 01:18 AM
Mayor Talmas presented some very serious claims at the last council meeting. It is one thing to question a council member's residency, but making false statements about a loan application, based on information that is not legally available to the public, could be interpreted as slander. Before any further items are "Brought to our attention" please supply the supporting evidence. No more second hand rumors, Mayor Talmas.
Jolena Friday February 19, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Scott is not a very convincing liar. Just watch the video of the meeting. As for evidence, the FBI has access if someone points them in the right direction. I think a crooked politician makes good material for getting them to peek at loan documents.
Al Taylor February 19, 2013 at 06:48 AM
I don't have all the details to state one way or other if Scott is a legal resident of Kirkland or Woodinville. I do know that he is capable of deception. During the 2009 council race he assured me that he had nothing to do with a hurtful hit piece mailed out by Liz Aspen campaign. During subsequent investigation by the Washington Public Disclosure Commission it was discovered that Scott had personally paid Liz Aspen to put out that piece without his name attached to it. Scott is no stranger to dirty politics that is for sure.
Ron Olson February 19, 2013 at 04:48 PM
There is nothing on the Agenda for tonight's council meeting about Scott Hageman's residency issue. I assume Scott will show up unprepared to discuss his living situation, but Paulette Bauman is sure to cover for her friend in some manner. Another executive session, perhaps?
jon Sanders February 19, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Regarding Al Taylor's comment, and I don't mean to nitpick, but the year of the campaign referred to was 2011 not 2009. And as far as what the commission discovered, well let just say that what the commission discovered is not accurately represented either. So as far someone not being a stranger to dirty politics I think Mr. Taylor's comment may justifiably fall into that category.
Ron Olson February 19, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Scott Hageman contributed funds for the distribution of campaign literature that depicts special needs citizens in a negative light. The use of special needs children to further a political campaign is wrong no matter how you look at it, but this was a particularly egregious assault on an innocent child of a political candidate by their own parent, Liz Aspen. Liz Aspen and Scott Hageman, by action and financing, referenced a special needs child in their political campaign, that's a fact. There is no way in the world that you can justify their actions, and there is no way that the special needs child was capable of agreeing to have his private information plastered on campaign literature delivered to Woodinville voters.
Al Taylor February 19, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Scott paid for 1/2 of a despicable campaign mailer using a special needs child. His involvement in the nasty campaign piece was discovered months after he told me to my face that he had nothing to do with that mailer. Did he lie to me or is this just the justified distortion of the truth necessary to keep his council job another 4 years?
jon Sanders February 19, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Yep, Liz sent out a flier that resurfaced an old photo originally used by Mr. Taylor's supporters in the 2009 campaign. Spin this any way you want but it was bad the first time as well as the second. Period. So I agree with you Ron, it cannot be justified. Did Mr. Hageman lie to Mr. Taylor? (remember this happened in 2011 not 2009) Don't think so. Mrs. Aspen acted on her own and after an investigation by the PDC they required Mr. Hageman to pay. That required action was certainly not an endorsement my Mr. Hageman as you comment implies RO. Look, if Scott can clearly demonstrate he is still a resident then he can remain. If in fact he is no longer living in Woodinville he should resign. If that happens perhaps the council will fill his seat with someone who couldn't get elected in 2009 or 2011. Someone like, oh, Al Taylor?
Ron Olson February 19, 2013 at 11:01 PM
The PDC did not, and cannot, require a candidate to pay for campaign literature that was sent without his consent, knowledge, funding, or approval, by another candidate. Scott Hageman had no advance notice and did not approve of Liz Aspen using her handicapped son as a pawn in a political ad, even if the ad was intended to support Scott. Scott was free to pay for the ad voluntarily, and he did so after the fact. Scott didn’t seem to have any objection to the political ad until somebody sent copies to Scott and Liz’s places of employment. Using a special needs child for political gain during a campaign did not sit well with school officials. Liz and Scott probably had a hard time explaining their treatment of handicapped children when they both work for school districts and are supposed to be setting a good example for the kids. Honesty is relevant to the issue of Scott Hageman’s legal address, and if it boils down to just Scott’s word, his reputation is less than stellar.
Sharon Peterson February 19, 2013 at 11:44 PM
I agree, Peter. The Mayor seems to have done due diligence and according to the article, even the City Attorney indicated that any questions of eligibility to continue to serve need to be addressed quickly.
jon Sanders February 20, 2013 at 02:51 PM
I should probably stop adding comments because there seems to be a strong desire to dredge up the carcass of failed character attacks from previous campaigns by a few posters. Lets just agree to disagree on Mr. Hageman's honesty, character, compassion and devotion to serving the citizens of Woodinville. I think he is a good man and no assertion to the contrary will change my mind. Regarding my previous comment referring to Al Taylor being a possible replacement candidate for City Council, I must apologize for incorrectly stating his election record. So to set the record straight he lost in 2007, 2009, and 2011. I have to say consistency and persistence are normally viewed as admirable traits.
Tony Bussert February 20, 2013 at 03:02 PM
You were wrong Nancy, Woodinville Weekly printed the same thing. http://www.nwnews.com/index.php?option=com_content. I thought they "would never print unsubstantiated accusations like this."
R Jaffe February 21, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Speaking of replacement candidates, just out of curiosity, does anyone know the procedure for replacing a vacant council seat prior to an election?
Al Taylor February 21, 2013 at 07:45 PM
An appointment by a majority of remaining council members in good standing will be the process for establishing Scott's replacement.
Al Taylor February 21, 2013 at 09:36 PM
The replacement process is described in RCW 42.12.070
Nancy Cunningham February 22, 2013 at 01:51 AM
If Scott Hageman updates his voter registration will he be in compliance with state law? I understand the need for Scott to verify that he has continuously lived in Woodinville since his election, but there isn't any necessity for him to provide any other information about his personal life, which includes the details of his home loan. You are getting ahead of yourself by discussing replacement procedures, don't you think?
R Jaffe February 22, 2013 at 06:39 AM
Talking about replacement procedures leads to the possibility of getting ahead of the story just as easily as it leads to the possibility of getting behind the story.
Gail February 22, 2013 at 06:53 AM
It's easy to determine the truth by the dates of the documents. You should know those dates Nancy. Just updating his voter registration is meaningless for this purpose. His home loan statement stating that's his primary resident is up to the authorities to resolve. Clearly Scott Hageman lied one way or the other. This is the tip of an iceberg - like the Aaron Reardon debacle. Why is it that corrupt thinking is so prevalent in politicians? - "it's OK if I do it".
Saira V. February 22, 2013 at 07:38 AM
Al thank you for providing process to be used to fill a midterm council vacancy. My question is who will request Scott to step down? Who has responsibility and authority to make this happen? I get the feeling that nobody knows what to do and Scott is going to ride this out.
Gail February 22, 2013 at 09:14 AM
It's automatic. Read RCW 42.12.010 Causes of vacancy. Every elective office shall become vacant on the happening of any of the following events: (4) Except as provided in RCW *3.46.067 and 3.50.057, his or her ceasing to be a legally registered voter of the district, county, city, town, or other municipal or quasi municipal corporation from which he or she shall have been elected or appointed, including where applicable the council district, commissioner district, or ward from which he or she shall have been elected or appointed; Meaning that once Scott ceased to be a legally registered voter in Woodinville he automatically lost his right to be there. His 'word' isn't good enough here. Have some backbone Scott and not be another Reardon. We know how that turned out.
R Jaffe February 22, 2013 at 03:31 PM
There is nothing in common here to the Reardon situation. There are no allegations of corruption, misuse of funds, affairs, etc. It is all a matter of rather dull technicalities as to whether a declared "legal residence" takes priority over actual residence for the purpose of determining eligibility to be seated at the council. Unless there is a clear legal precedent found on the matter, it will have to be argued in court. And I would think that there are many people who are in the process of convoluted family issues who have a "legal residence" for financial purposes that is not where they actually live. That does not, in my opinion, raise to the level of having lied. Again, the real concern for me as a citizen in our purported democracy is why was someone following one elected official late at night and then reporting back to another elected government official. That is the of any iceberg if there is any story here at all.
Ron Olson February 22, 2013 at 04:01 PM
I hope Scott refuses to update his voter registration. His vote to allow a fellow council member (Paulette Bauman) to cash in on rounding up her Woodinville property might be vacated. Council members kind of stick together and after Scott helped Paulette, I think she was obligated to come to his defense when he couldn't provide a legal address. Funny how people with questionable ethics seem to flock together, isn't it?
Local Guy February 22, 2013 at 05:28 PM
LOL at nothing in common with Reardon situation comment.... Egos, politics and mudslinging. Same book, different chapter...
Lisa Baumann (Editor) February 22, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Woodinville resident Dale Knapinski has submitted a letter to the city challenging Councilmember Scott Hageman's residency status. Click on the link to read the letter - http://patch.com/A-2jTJ
Gail February 22, 2013 at 06:46 PM
LOL - yes there is "in common with the Reardon situation" - dishonesty. Look it up. Or as Ron stated, "questionable ethics". Some people have no clue what that means though. Instead of looking at trees, look at the forest. Scott tried to hide his real address. Or are we going to argue he's ignorant now?
R Jaffe February 22, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Yes, at the much broader level that goes beyond any of these specific characters you are correct that it is just politics as usual. But to compare Hageman to Reardon is to make a poor comparison.
R Jaffe February 22, 2013 at 07:03 PM
Ms. Gail, as a grizzled veteran of the usenet wars, I have learned when not to bother arguing. I will allow our common readers to judge are respective opinions.
Gail February 22, 2013 at 11:54 PM
How does 'grizzled veteran' explain anything? Any 'grizzled veteran' would know better than to post that :) Btw, you ARE arguing (trying to rationalize). Please explain how anything I said is incorrect? I Scott being honest? Did he follow the Law? Was he forthright in his duty to disclose his resident address changes? Scot "Gee, I didn't know I had to update my registered address. Gosh, I'm just a plain ole country council member. Don't know nothin about that sort of thing." Yup, let our common readers judge the ethics of Scott. I'm all for that smell test.

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