Sometimes The Seattle Times has great, important, relevant stories that put a new light on something in the Northwest that otherwise wouldn’t be covered. And I’m going to miss some of those when I don’t read their website behind its paywall. But sometimes they just do hack pieces that they claim are important stories. More and more it’s looking like the Rob Holland piece falls on the hack side.
Except that’s not what happened and that’s not what the report found. Martin did not use Holland’s credit card to purchase anything, and the report Heffter cites actually found this particular allegation to be “unsubstantiated” (PDF, page 25). Martin has repeatedly asked Heffter and Kreamer to issue a correction, and they have repeatedly refused.
“At the end of the day, all you have is your reputation,” Martin told me. And he desperately wants his reputation cleared. The Seattle Times has yet to respond to a request for comment.
But also, reading their emails to Martin, both Heffter and Kreamer just come off as incredibly confused. “There is a receipt and additional official documentation showing you as the purchaser of camera equipment for the Port, with Commissioner Holland’s Port credit card being used,” Kreamer writes to Martin in a February 25 email, totally ignoring the fact that this so-called “receipt” proves nothing of the kind. “The Port report you cite says the third-party use of the card (by you) was not found to be unauthorized, but we never wrote that it was,” Kreamer continues. “The items purchased were indeed for Port use, the audit found.”
When the Seattle Times goes out of their way to point out stories like this one are vital to the region, so we need to support them, well, you’d think they would at least work harder to get the story right.