Adviser to the Pols Back in Court

Associates allege Brett Bader won’t return their calls or their cash.

After two years, the other case against Jane Springman—aka King County Councilmember Jane Hague, who sometimes goes by her husband’s last name in court—and Brett Bader, her mysterious campaign consultant, may finally be nearing trial. Hague already disposed of her headline-making drunk-driving case that took center stage during her 2007 re-election run—the one in which she was too drunk to step out of her car without bracing herself on the door, and told arresting officers: “This is fucking ridiculous, don’t you have rapists to take off the street?” After getting her .14 breath-alcohol reading tossed, she pled guilty to reckless driving and called it a “tremendous learning experience.”

Meanwhile, Bader, the sometimes-political advisor to Hague, attorney general Rob McKenna, and other Republicans, has settled a breach-of-contract case brought by a man who said Bader failed to repay most of a $44,500 loan. A process server in that case said he was unable to contact Bader after 15 attempted deliveries of court papers, and was told by one of Bader’s representatives the consultant can be “very hard to pin down.” (See “Right to Remain Silent,” SW, August 27, 2008.)

And still is. Bader never returned any of SW‘s calls last year seeking comment about his judicial elusiveness, and didn’t return calls last week either. He is apparently in the vicinity, however: He was quoted last month in the Seattle Times, asked, ironically, about King County Executive candidate Susan Hutchison’s own sort of elusiveness in running a stealth campaign. “It does no good for anyone to hide out,” he said, “and spring themselves on the electorate at the last minute.”

Hague and Bader are now seeking a conclusion to another campaign-related lawsuit, filed by Paul Brecht, a key backer of Hague’s 2007 opponent Richard Pope. Brecht says he was defamed and libeled by one of Hague’s Bader-made campaign posters, which claimed Brecht was convicted of assault and that he “tops law enforcement lists” as a wife-beater. Brecht denies both claims.

The case has dragged on in part, Brecht says, because his attorney, Pope, a perennial political candidate (from water commissioner to state attorney general) had to pull out. According to court papers filed in April, Pope had become “mentally and emotionally disabled” and was suspended by the Washington State Bar Association. (Pope, who last December filed notice in the Brecht case that he was “unable to continue” as Brecht’s attorney, is still listed by the bar as suspended).

Brecht asked for more time to continue his discovery, but Hague and Bader complained to the court that Brecht’s newest motion was “taking a fourth bite out of the same apple,” and asked that sanctions and costs be imposed. In May, Superior Court Judge John Ehrlich disagreed, allowing Brecht to continue his evidence quest, including deposing key witnesses. Brecht argued that all he wanted was to “obtain a fair trial; otherwise this lawsuit is for naught.” That trial is now set to begin August 17.