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* Clarification of the L.I.D. facts presented to city attorney –
* Question: Was Mayor Foster’s unilaterally signed L.I.D. contract legal?
* Yelm residents have a right to know before Foster leaves office!

Brent Photo
Yelm City Prosecutor/Attorney Brent Dille.
Credit: City of Yelm
  • Editor’s note: With all of the evasiveness and lack of being forthcoming about the L.I.D. and 640 acres from city leaders, I wrote to City Attorney Bent Dille and copied the Yelm City Council on October 28th.
  • Reading the RCW and Yelm Municipal Code seem to indicate that Mayor Foster violated both in signing a contract for $2.1M, bypassing the role of the council to approve contracts, and bypassing this being done in public.
  • Mayor Foster signed a contract with the Seattle law-firm Foster Pepper, PLLC. Whether or not the Yelm city attorney advised the mayor in signing this contract is important for the council and public to know.
  • Yelm residents have a right to know about this before Foster leaves office in 2 months!
  • No answer has been received to-date, and if one will be forth coming, I will let Yelm Blog readers know.
  • Here is my letter to Mr. Dille, with minor editing for clarity:

Dear Mr. [Brent] Dille,

On December 29, 2017, Mayor Foster signed a contract with a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure for a Yelm parcel owned by the high-profile Mack Family of Seattle.

They were delinquent on their property tax payments, and Mr. Foster gave them a two year extension with this contract, or they would be in default. 

Six months after the contract was signed, councilor Joe DePinto brought this to the council/public for the first time on June 26, 2018, after hearing from a citizen (I was not that person). DePinto questioned the mayor, only to be told by Foster to wait until the end of 2019, to see if the land-owners would make their payments in full. If in default on December 31, 2019, the city would take the land as collateral for the loan, plus the L. I. D.’s debt/interest. Several councilors have subsequently asked about this arrangement and debt, with evasive and/or incomplete answers from the city’s Executive branch.

The property owner defaulted on December 31, 2019, and as per the contract, the City of Yelm officially became the 640 acres of land’s title holder and responsible for the note on January 3, 2020, which left a balance total of $2,194,320 million dollars, for which the city became responsible. The city publicized this then on their website, still listed as follows: https://www.yelmwa.gov/news_detail_T10_R200.php

The City of Yelm L.I.D. loan and payment schedule, with remaining balances here.

The mayor’s authority for expenditures without council’s approval is a maximum of $35,000. The laws/regulations of the state and city do not convey to the mayor the authority to unilaterally negotiate and sign this agreement without approval in a public meeting, according to:

+ the RCW [42.30.070, “No governing body of a public agency shall adopt any ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, order, or directive, except in a meeting open to the public.”] Note: there was no council meeting open to the public about this contract prior to signing

+ the Yelm Protocol Manual states only the Council can approve contracts [2.02 A 1e, Summary of Council Duties and Responsibilities as Provided in, but not Limited to, the Washington Administrative Code and Revised Code of Washington, Establish Policy, Approve contracts]. Note: there was no council meeting open to the public about this contract prior to signing, nor until 6 months after signing when this was brought before the council.

The Yelm Municipal Code clearly states oversight of city regulations being followed falls first with the mayor and then his city administrator.

My questions are these:

1. As Yelm’s city attorney, did you advise Mayor Foster at any time about this contact he signed (Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure), prepared by the law firm of Foster Pepper, PLLC in Seattle?

City of Yelm paid billings to Seattle’s Foster Pepper, PLLC, here.

2. Was Mayor Foster’s unilateral action legal in signing this contract without the Yelm City Council’s knowledge and explicit approval? 

Thank you.


Steve Klein

Posted by Steve on November 1, 2021 at 12:31 am | Permalink

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