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Port Investigation Response

John O'Brien
12/10/2008

Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani has presented his disciplinary plan for senior staff implicated in a recently released fraud investigation. Allegations include altering invoices and awarding contracts without competition. The independent inquiry was prompted by a 2007 State performance audit. KUOW's John O'Brien has our story.

TRANSCRIPT

THE PORT OF SEATTLE PAID 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS FOR AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD. LED BY ATTORNEY MIKE MCKAY, THE INVESTIGATION TURNED UP EVIDENCE OF FRAUDULENT CONTRACTING PRACTICES. TWO SENIOR PORT STAFF MEMBERS RESIGNED WHEN PRESENTED WITH THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THEM. PORT CEO TAY YOSHITANI EXPLAINS:

YOSHITANI: "Mr. McKay sent two names to me that he deemed worthy of particular emphasis, who were directly involved in the majority of the actions that met the test of fraud."

THE TWO EMPLOYEES ARE SEA–TAC 3RD RUNWAY PROJECT MANAGER JOHN ROTHNIE AND PORT CONSTRUCTION SERVICES GENERAL MANAGER LARRY MCFADDEN. YOSHITANI ALSO ANNOUNCED DISCIPLINARY MEASURES INVOLVING 7 OTHER SENIOR STAFF MEMBERS. THE PUNISHMENT RANGES FROM LETTERS OF REPRIMAND TO 3 WEEK UNPAID SUSPENSIONS.

YOSHITANI PRESENTED A DETAILED ACCOUNTING OF CHANGES HE'S INSTITUTED AT THE PORT. HE SAYS THE PORT HAS COMPLETED NEARLY ALL OF THE 51 RECOMMENDATIONS SUGGESTED IN THE STATE AUDIT. YOSHITANI ADDS HE'LL FOLLOW THROUGH ON ALL THE RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDED IN MCKAY'S REPORT. BUT NOW HE WANTS TO MOVE ON, TO THE WORK HE SAYS HE WAS HIRED TO DO:

YOSHITANI: "The entire time I've been here I've been looking backwards. That's not what my strengths are, that's not what my capabilities are, that's not why I was selected, not to look backwards but to look forwards."

PORT COMMISSIONER BILL BRYANT CHAIRED THE INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE. HE AGREES WITH YOSHITANI'S DISCIPLINARY RESPONSE. BRYANT SAYS THE PORT HAS GONE FROM BEING ONE OF THE MOST ARROGANT PUBLIC AGENCIES IN THE STATE TO ONE OF ITS MOST OPEN AND TRANSPARENT.

YOSHITANI SAYS HE'LL CONSIDER FURTHER ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT IF THEY ARISE. AN INVESTIGATION OF POSSIBLE CRIMINAL FRAUD WOULD FALL TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

JOHN O'BRIEN, KUOW NEWS.

© Copyright 2008, KUOW

07.17.18

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