One day after we revealed damning details in an alleged scandal between newly-reelected Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon and a long-term mistress, the sources in this tale have had a chance to respond.
To recap: A week before Aaron Reardon was reelected as Snohomish County Executive, the Washington State Patrol announced that it was investigating him for potential misuse of public funds.
Now we know that if funds were misused it was likely because Reardon was jet setting around the country with his mistress, 41-year-old Snohomish County Department of Human Services employee Tamara Dutton. Dutton says that she has known Reardon for some 20 years and has been sexually involved with him for a large chunk of that time. Most importantly she says that several of her vacations with Reardon were on the public's dime.
Responding to the alleged scandal, Reardon tells KING 5: "I am innocent of all criminal accusations and am confident I will be fully exonerated."
Notice he doesn't say he's innocent of cheating on his wife.
Elsewhere, Snohomish County Republican Party chairman Bill Cooper says that he's considering mounting a recall challenge to Reardon. And on the Democrat side, a shaken-looking Snohomish County Dem Chair Bill Phillips tells Q13 News that the affair itself was "tawdry soap-opera stuff" and that he believes Reardon when he says he never misused funds.
Interestingly, some news outlets have continued to leave Dutton anonymous, even though we have identified her and others have followed suit.
While the woman has been afforded "whistle blower protection status" by Snohomish County in terms of disclosing her information in investigation documents, other sources have been eager to identify her and in the interest of the public knowing everyone who may have been wasting their tax money, we have and will continue to name Ms. Dutton.
Keep in mind this woman is a public employee who, in "blowing the whistle" on her secret lover, told The Seattle Times "I have an issue with public funds being misused." And yet she herself admits that for years she knowingly took publicly-funded vacations with Reardon. In short, her concern for the public's money seems to have only materialized after things went south with her and Reardon.
If the allegations are true then unanswered questions include the amount of money potentially misused, whether any other mistresses are out there and whether Reardon has misused public cash in ways other than blowing it on extramarital affairs.
We'll work on getting answers to each of those.