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No timetable set on Reardon probe

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By Noah Haglund
Herald Writer
COUPEVILLE -- Don't expect to hear the results of a criminal investigation into Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon anytime soon.
A Washington State Patrol investigation into the alleged official misconduct remains active, and is therefore incomplete, the prosecutor overseeing the case said Wednesday.
Island County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Banks said the WSP detectives' file he received Friday included a 1,500-page report and another 12,000 pages of supporting documentation.
Banks said not to expect him to make any statements until he's had a chance to consider it all and make a decision about what to do next.
"The already-published information concerning the allegations against Mr. Reardon far exceeds anything I could say about the case," Banks said in a statement.
Reardon, 41, is under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds.
It started after Tami Dutton, a county social worker, went to County Councilman Dave Somers and reported having a years-long affair with Reardon.
Dutton said she repeatedly accompanied Reardon on county business trips to places such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., during which he did little work but spent public funds. The two have known each other since high school.
To avoid a conflict of interest, Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe asked the patrol to investigate and for Banks to make a charging decision. Dutton's allegations have been detailed in various news stories.
A Herald investigation of public records shows that Reardon and a junior staffer made extensive use of his office in 2011 for his re-election campaign.
Records show Reardon used his office to raise campaign money. On Sunday, The Herald reported how government phone bills and other public records show analyst Kevin Hulten networked extensively with people who pressed for campaign sanctions against Reardon's election opponent. Hulten, 33, said he worked on his boss' campaign but denied any wrong-doing.
In November, Reardon, a Democrat, defeated state Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens, a Seattle police officer.
The state Public Disclosure Commission has received a complaint about Reardon and plans to review the patrol's findings for possible campaign finance violations. If the commission opens its own investigation, it has the authority to levy steep fines.
Banks has a lot on his plate right now.
His caseload includes three murder trials scheduled for July, and a criminal investigation of Langley Mayor Larry Kwarsick.
Banks said he requested the unfinished file so he could make a charging decision before next year.
Under state law, the investigation is incomplete until Reardon has either been interviewed or made it clear that he's refusing to answer police questions.
"It is my understanding that Mr. Reardon has not been interviewed yet, due to his and his attorney's unavailability, and not because of a refusal to answer questions," Banks said. "I know the investigating detectives hope to interview Mr. Reardon at his earliest availability. I do not know when that will be."
Since the investigation remains unfinished, Banks said it's also exempt from state public-disclosure laws that would make its contents available.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465;
Story tags » County executive

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