In response to a lawsuit by the Snoqualmie Tribe claiming ‘intentional racial discrimination’ by Snoqualmie city officials, mayor and council members, the City of Snoqualmie released its own press release today rejecting the Tribe’s claims.
According to the release, the City stated it was surprised and disappointed to learn of the lawsuit. The Tribe served the City with the lawsuit late in the afternoon of December 14, 2015 – five full days after the Tribe issued a press release announcing the lawsuit.
The city communication piece said it was unfortunate that the lawsuit specifically named the Snoqualmie Mayor, City Council Members, City Administrator, and Public Works Director – stating these individuals should not have been included in the lawsuit.
The city made reference to the “biased nature of the Snoqualmie Tribe’s action,” saying its complaint names Brad Toft who has not been sworn in or seated as a Council Member, and could not have taken any part in the alleged actions detailed in lawsuit complaints.
The City said it that it denies the allegations by the Snoqualmie Tribe. Specifically:
- The City extended, rather than terminated, the agreement to provide fire, emergency medical, and sewer service to the Snoqualmie Tribe’s Casino. The Agreement’s term has nearly an entire full year remaining; not expiring until November 30, 2016.
- The City did not discriminate in any way or at any time against the Snoqualmie Tribe.
- The City did not act or attempt to violate or deny the Snoqualmie Tribe’s constitutional or federally protected rights.
According to the rest of the press release:
- The City of Snoqualmie is not the only provider of sewer treatment services for the Snoqualmie Casino. The Snoqualmie Tribe has other options, such as constructing and operating its own on-site treatment and disposal system. Many other tribes do so, including the Tulalip, Nisqually, Skagit, and Grand Ronde Tribes. In fact, the Snoqualmie Tribe’s own lawsuit admits that the vast majority of other landowners outside City of Snoqualmie limits and within the urban growth boundary rely on private septic systems to address their sewer needs.
- The City of Snoqualmie tried very hard to work with the Snoqualmie Tribe to find a long-term, mutually beneficial solution concerning City sewer utility service to the Snoqualmie Casino. The City requested numerous meetings with the Tribe over a two-year period. The Tribe declined or refused to answer these requests.
- The Tribe also refused to discuss a long-term extension to the sewer agreement. Instead, the Tribe insisted on an extension for only one year. The City agreed to the Tribe’s request, and the City signed the extension document the Tribe drafted.
- The Snoqualmie Tribe, and not the City of Snoqualmie, attempted to terminate the fire and emergency medical services portion of the Services Agreement. In doing so, the Tribe breached the Agreement’s requirement that the Tribe provide the City a full year’s prior written notice and, therefore, is currently in breach of the requirement to pay the City for fire and emergency medical services service through the end of the contract’s term (November 30, 2016).
The City of Snoqualmie said it is reviewing the lawsuit and will communicate to the public further findings or actions as appropriate timelines allow.