(AP) Lawyers for Mayor James E. West, who was accused of offering city jobs to men he met in a gay online chat room, are appealing a judge’s ruling allowing a recall petition drive to proceed.
West, former state Senate leader and opponent of gay rights, has denied any criminal or unethical conduct and has rejected calls to resign.
“The citizens of Spokane deserve to know why I have decided to appeal,” West wrote in a letter submitted to The Spokesman-Review newspaper. “Simply put, it is because the charges are false, and the ballot statement they would vote on was improperly prepared and is prejudicial.”
Spokane resident Shannon Sullivan filed recall documents in May, shortly after The Spokesman-Review published a series of articles alleging West sexually abused two boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
The newspaper also alleged West offered city jobs to men he met in a gay online chat room. Sullivan’s recall petition, which accuses the mayor of misfeasance, focuses on that allegation. The petition was approved by a judge earlier this month.
In West’s letter to the paper, he contended that he encouraged a young man to apply for an internship, but did not reveal his office nor guarantee the young man would be chosen for the unpaid position.
Sullivan’s telephone has been disconnected and she was not able to be reached for comment Monday. Rita Amunrud, a recall organizer, said backers expected West to appeal and plan to ask the state Supreme Court to expedite its review.