Inside the City Council’s Tax Returns

Can you guess which member has a car payment?

It's that time of year again: the annual window into the finances of our public servants, courtesy of disclosure statements filed recently with the Ethics and Elections Commission, full of juicy tidbits about investments and vacation homes. For instance, newly elected City Council member Tim Burgess until recently had a flat in London's Islington neighborhood. He says he purchased it for work purposes, when he was regularly visiting the London offices of his PR firm The Domain Group. However, though Burgess still has a 50 percent stake in the UK office of the business, he says he doesn't get to London much anymore, in large part because of his new full-time gig on the council. "I don't do any hands-on stuff with the business at this time," Burgess says. "Plus, it's too expensive over there to visit." He says he and his wife sold the flat a few weeks ago. Jean Godden has long owned a cabin on Lummi Island, as well as some property in a waterfront development called Lummi Island Scenic Estates. And longtime West Seattle resident Greg Nickels inherited another home on the peninsula last year after his father passed away. (Outgoing spokesperson Marty McOmber says the mayor has already sold it.) In addition to his Seward Park residence, council member Richard McIver owns a home, currently occupied by his daughter, in Hearne, Texas. Bruce Harrell owns two Seattle homes, one in Mt. Baker and one near Seward Park, while Tom Rasmussen has a house in West Seattle and another on Queen Anne. Council members earn between $103,878 and $113,587 a year, depending on when they were elected. The newest additions, Harrell and Burgess, appear to be among the wealthiest. In 2007, Harrell owned between $4,000 and $19,000 worth of stock in Safeco, the Seattle firm recently purchased by Liberty Mutual for $6.2 billion, a boon to stockholders of more than 50 percent per share. Burgess' wide-ranging portfolio includes holdings in Alaska Airlines and high-tech firms like Hutchinson Technology, Sycamore Networks, and pharmaceutical company Pfizer. City Attorney Tom Carr also owns stock in Pfizer, as well as in Intel, Boeing, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart. (Living most modestly: Sally Clark, Nick Licata, and Richard Conlin, none of whom owns a second home. Clark is the only council member with a car payment.) And then there are the spouses. Harrell's wife Joanne is a director at REI, while Burgess' wife Joleen works as a consultant for the University of Washington. But the most creative enterprise belongs to Carr's wife Theresa, an ethics lawyer who runs a consulting firm for businesses and a ski school for kids out of the same office on Admiral Way, listed on the disclosure form as "Ethics Ski."

 
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