June 28, 2005

Spokane mayor files to stop recall effort

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Spokane Mayor James West filed anappeal to the Washington State Supreme Court on Monday to tryand stop a recall effort launched after a local newspaperreported that he offered jobs and perks to young men he metonline.

In a statement, West denied stories published last month bythe Spokane Spokesman-Review, which said West used his officeto seek sexual alliances with young men. The stories alsoreported accusations by two men that West had abused them whenhe was their Boy Scout leader in the 1970s.

"I did not molest anyone, 25 years ago or ever; and I havenot misused my official office for personal gain. I am certainthe investigations now being conducted will show that I havedone nothing that makes me unfit for public office," said West,54, a Republican known for his strong opposition to gay rights.

"Yes I exercised poor judgment and made mistakes in mypersonal life, but nothing illegal and nothing unethical," Westsaid in a statement which he has asked the Spokesman-Review topublish on Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, Superior Court Judge Craig Matheson approvedthe recall proposal by Shannon Sullivan, a 37-year-old mother,who said that "if Jim West had admitted he was what he is, hemay or may not have been elected. So let the people decide."

An appeal to the state supreme court would likely delay anyresolution of the situation until at least next year some time.The Chamber of Commerce and several other local businessorganizations have asked West to resign immediately.