SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane City Councilwoman Kate Burke is being told to stop talking about an allegation made against an employee of a local non-profit.
That non-profit says Burke is damaging its reputation and the reputation of one of its employees. Laywers for that employee and the non-profit sent cease and desist letters to Burke and other members of City Hall, saying she has been spreading false allegations against a man who works at the organization.
In one of those letters, lawyers for the employee state: "It has come to the attention of our client that you, and maybe others, are making false and defamatory statements... in and among the Spokane City Council, and perhaps to a broader audience including outside media outlets." The letter goes on to say that Burke heard about the allegation from a woman who used to be romantically involved with the man, and not from any victims of harassment.
Burke also received a letter from one of the organizations leaders, stating: "first and foremost, I have never received any allegations against this instructor from anyone with direct knowledge." It goes on to say that Burke's "advocacy in this matter has been remarkably unprofessional."
An internal investigation by the organization found no evidence of sexual misconduct. However, the man has voluntarily resigned his position.
Following the allegations, several women who worked closely with the man wrote a letter to city council defending him. It said he "was very respectful to each of us as women and as students. He was very professional, knowledgeable and motivating every day."
In one of the cease and desist letters, lawyers say that during a meeting Burke said she would stop city funding to the organization if the man remained an employee. It claims she violated the city's ethic's code. But, the city says it is not aware of any complaints or requests for review to the ethics commission.
In November of last year, Burke brought forward her own accusations of sexual misconduct against legislative aide Richard Rush. He didn't deny his actions, and was fired after human resources investigated other claims of harassment.
Burke also asked human resources to look into whether Council President Ben Stuckart bullied her during a council meeting back in March. The city's human resources department decided those concerns were unfounded.
KXLY reached out to Burke for comment, but she said she could not talk about the issue at this time.
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