During Mark Nichols’ first term in office, the prosecutor’s general fund budgets (funded by your property taxes) have increased as follows:
It should be noted that the above staff numbers neither include the local crime victim coordinator (fund 11701.841) nor the public records deputy prosecutor hired in 2017 (fund 50401.461, HR-risk management).
Nor do the above staff numbers include any of the special deputy prosecutors appointed by Nichols, including the following two private out-of-county lawyers who perform stealth legal services directed by (and for the distinct benefit of) Mark Nichols, all as paid for via the county’s (property tax funded) HR-risk management budget:
- Dale Kamerrer (of “Law Lyman”), deputized on February 17, 2016 re WCRP CL2014059824.
- Duncan Fobes (of “Patterson Buchanan”), deputized on February 22, 2016 re County Assessor v. Nippon Paper Industries USA.
I will be writing much more about the above two cases. For now, I will point out that the Patterson Buchanan was also involved in the following cases involving Mark Nichols, each of which at tremendous cost to you, the county taxpayers:
- Mike Patterson of Patterson Buchanan represented Nichols as a defendant in an age and gender discrimination case that alleged he treated women in the Prosecutor’s Office in a hostile, demeaning and condescending manner that was settled at a cost to the taxpayers of at least $1.6 million plus attorney’s fees, plenty of which paid for by county taxpayers.
- Mike Patterson of Patterson Buchanan also represented Nichols as the legal adviser to OPNET in a civil forfeiture case where the judge found that law enforcement officers, including the prosecutor, committed intentional misconduct involving reckless disregard of the truth, costing the county taxpayers at least $300,000 in attorney’s fees and fines.
- And Duncan Fobes of Patterson Buchanan represented Nichols as a defendant in the Lange public records case that alleged he and his deputies repeatedly and wrongfully withheld large amounts of public records that were relevant to Mr. Lange’s land use case against his neighbor. Violating some very basic rules, defendant Mark Nichols and his deputies (including special appointed deputy Fobes) settled not only Mr. Lange’s public records case, but also Mr. Lange’s land use case against his neighbor, obviously to prevent that case going forward to trial and outing Mark Nichols’ disregard for the law. All of which at a cost to county taxpayers of well over $500,000 in reserve funds plus attorney’s fees.
In addition to the above, Mark Nichols is currently a defendant in a case that alleges he sexually harassed his office manager repeatedly during his first two years in elected office. According to the County’s Risk Manager Rich Sill, legal fees for Nichols’ defense are being covered by a Washington Counties Risk Pool liability policy.
Since only those actions that fall within a public official’s “scope of duties” are subject to coverage by the Washington Counties Risk Pool, I guess we can all look forward to Nichols defending his actions by claiming he was merely trying to keep his office manager, like the rest of his staff, “mentally and physically happy,” which, according to Nichols himself, has been the focus of his first elected term, keeping him apparently too busy to carry his own case load and earn the title “prosecutor.”
Regardless of whatever else you may think of Mark Nichols as a department head manager, ask yourself the question of whether we can continue to afford him…