FERNDALE, Wash. — Speaking in front of an overflow crowd during last night’s regular Ferndale City Council meeting, former Ferndale Mayor, councilmember and planning commissioner Yvonne Goldsmith told the council they had a responsibility to act regarding what she said are ethics violations by current Ferndale Mayor Jon Mutchler. Mutchler is currently running for reelection.
Goldsmith accused Mutchler of abusing his position of power as mayor, violating council rules, interfering with a police investigation and making false statements.
Goldsmith cited police reports regarding accusations of criminal behavior made against a member of Mutchler’s family. In the police information report, Mutchler is said to have gone to the Ferndale Police Department (FPD) and asked if the case had come “across the chief’s desk.” Mutchler is then said to have informed FPD staff that “he wanted it known he had retained an attorney. The attorney is Mark Kaiman.”
Goldsmith asserted Ferndale Police withdrew from the case and forwarded it to the Bellingham Police Department upon learning Mutchler had retained Kaiman.
Kaiman is a Bellingham attorney who was recently appointed to serve as the city’s Municipal Court judge.
Goldsmith said she had initially expected to ask the council to remove the judge from his duties due to the perceived conflict of interest. But, Goldsmith said, she was informed by a senior partner of Kaiman’s firm that Mutchler had not “engaged” Kaiman.
Goldsmith requested the councilmembers “take immediate action and refer this matter to the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney and suspend the Mayor until such time as this matter is resolved.”
After Goldsmith concluded her comments, Mutchler told the council they were “welcome to exercise our ethics and due process about anything about this administration and I will be fully cooperative.” There was no response from the council and the meeting moved on to the next item on the agenda.
According to the police reports cited by Goldsmith, there was an investigation by the Bellingham Police Department in May of this year but the accuser decided they “did not want to follow through with any prosecution. Therefore, Bellingham Police closed their investigation into this matter.”
The large City Council audience appeared to be there primarily to voice concerns regarding a rezone request in an area north of Shields Road which was proposed to be converted from RM1.5 (Residential Multifamily Multiple Dwelling) to RMM (Residential Multifamily Medium). The rezone was approved with a council vote of 6-1 with Councilmember Olson opposed.
Do you find value in what you read on My Ferndale News? Help us keep local news free to all readers with your monthly support of $5 (or whatever amount you choose) per month. Click the button below to get started (payments are handled via WordPress and Stripe). Thank you!