Report on Seattle mayor’s missing texts yet to materialize (and no texts either)
A completed report on Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s missing text messages from a period during last year’s racial justice protests has yet to appear as Durkan prepares to leave office — and officials aren’t saying when it will.
It’s been more than a year since the city attorney’s office hired a private contractor to analyze the issue and over five months since the office said it aimed to share the contractor’s completed report, The Seattle Times reported.
The Crypsis Group has continued to bill the city for its work and had been paid $407,000 as of Nov. 29. The city attorney’s office said that’s up from $201,000 as of July 31.
But the office couldn’t say this week when the report would be available or what is taking so long.
“I don’t have any additional details to share at this point,” said Dan Nolte, a spokesperson for City Attorney Pete Holmes. Holmes is also leaving his position at the end of this month.
A spokesperson for Durkan said the mayor’s office had nothing to add.
The forensic report could be not only a source of information for the public but for several lawsuits filed against Seattle over the city’s handling of protests and unrest in mid-2020.
The city attorney’s office hired Crypsis to help with its defense because Durkan’s texts weren’t retained from late August 2019 to late June 2020.
Texts from at least eight other officials, including the city’s fire and police chiefs, also were not retained from periods overlapping with June 2020, when police used tear gas and abandoned their East Precinct, and when the first of two fatal shootings occurred in a zone on Capitol Hill temporarily ceded to protesters.
The mayor’s office knew by August 2020 that her texts were missing and the city attorney’s office hired Crypsis in November 2020. But the information didn’t become public until May 2021, when the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission issued a whistleblower investigation report.
Durkan has said she believed her texts were being retained while acknowledging that the way the records requests were handled “fell short” of the state’s law.