Chris Van Dyk, Consultant At the Center of Sea-Tac Taxi Controversy, Takes the Fifth

Like these cabs, the cabbie dispute over SeaTac aiport is gridlocked.
Local attorneyactivist and political consultant Chris Van Dyk has a long-standing reputation as a voluble guy. So it's more than a little ironic that in regard to a lawsuit in which he's being accused of collusion, he's choosing--for the moment-- to hold his tongue.

On Wednesday, Van Dyk opted to invoke the Fifth Amendment after lawyers for STITA sought to have him deposed for their lawsuit against the Port of Seattle. He balked, but not because he has anything to hide, he says.

"They are attempting to to take a private citizen, namely me, and drag me through the mud," he says. He adds: "They are gaming the system, using a courtroom to win what they didn't have the cojones to do on a level playing field during a fair and open bidding process."

The "they" he's referring to are the lawyers for STITA and another local cab service, Far West. Up until only very recently, STITA held an exclusive contract to pick up arriving passengers from Sea-Tac airport, but lost it to Van Dyk's client, Yellow Cab.

Earlier this year, STITA and Far West went to war with Port of Seattle over Van Dyk's role in crafting both Yellow's individual contract bid and the bid from a joint venture that included Yellow and Far West.

Van Dyk says everything was conducted above board and with the full knowledge of the Port authorities. But lawyers for STITA are accusing Van Dyk of using his knowledge to skew the process in Yellow Cab's favor. King County court has since issued an injunction, putting the award process on hold until the whole mess gets sorted out.

In the meantime, STITA has engaged a P.R. firm, presumably to swing public favor STITA's way. Van Dyk has not responded to this development with quiet patience.

"If they want to fuck with someone through the media, tell them to go and fuck with someone else," he says.

Of course, the quick path to vindication would seem to be agreeing to be deposed. But Van Dyk says he won't--not because there is evidence of wrongdoing on his part, but because he fears that Far West and STITA's lawyers will misconstrue some part of his testimony and accuse him of some criminal act.

"I will talk to any federal prosecutor or county prosecutor and lay out everything that was done or written about this," he says. But until he gets assurances from the King County prosecutor's office that he can't be held criminally liable for anything that might get said, he won't be talking.

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