October 1, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Reardon confronts Hope about fake name allegations

Posted by Emily Heffter

In a candidate forum Friday morning, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon confronted his opponent Mike Hope about accusations that Reardon staffer Kevin Hulten used a fake name to file frivolous complaints and records requests.

Reardon asked Hulten Wednesday whether Hulten was using the fake name "John Chambers." The executive was quoted saying Hulten didn't know anything about Chambers' complaints.

As it turns out, Hulten wasn't pretending to be Chambers. But Hulten is a close friend of Chambers' and the two were sharing information about Hope.

In a Friday morning debate at the Tulalip Resort Casino, Hope confronted Reardon about his management abilities, saying Reardon should investigate his employees. If elected, Hope says he would have an office of professional integrity.

Hulten "lied to your face the other day, and you said you would take his word for it," Hope said.

Reardon shot back that he's a tough boss. "You step out of line in my office, you're terminated," he said. As for Hulten, Reardon said Hope falsely accused his employee of "a felony."

"That's not integrity," he said. "So please don't question my integrity when you have demonstrated ... that sometimes you don't quite understand what that is yourself."

Hope was proven wrong last week on his allegations that Hulten used a fake name. He still got plenty of press, though, much of it repeating his false claims.

The Seattle Weekly ran with Hope's story and called John Chambers a "phantom complaint filer."

The Herald in Everett followed the story all week, concluding Thursday that it was "a tangled web" and writing Friday that Hope's allegations about Hulten using a fake name were wrong.

Even the Washington State Republican Party got in on it with a news release, calling for an investigation into complaints filed "under a false name" -- John Chambers.

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