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Thursday, October 10, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Council Fires Back At Krull

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

King County Ombudsman David Krull has made statements that are malicious and false and is waging a media campaign to draw attention away from an investigation into his own misconduct, say members of the County Council.

They made their assertions after Krull said earlier this week - and then again at a news conference yesterday afternoon - that he will ask for protection from the Metropolitan King County Council under the state's whistle-blower law. He accused council members of interfering in the operations of his office, including hiring and making assignments. Krull's attorney expects to file the complaint today.

Krull specifically cited Councilwomen Louise Miller and Cynthia Sullivan as not respecting the independence of his office.

Krull has been under investigation for sending an off-color e-mail message to one of his deputies, Amy Calderwood, who says he also has made unwanted comments about her appearance.

The investigation is being conducted by an independent expert in harassment at the request of council president Jane Hague.

Miller and Hague were out of town yesterday and unavailable to comment. Sullivan refused to be interviewed, but one of her aides distributed a written statement from Sullivan, Miller and Hague that described Krull's comments as "malicious and false."

For example, Krull has said the council is angry with him for insisting it take action against a former staff member who was accused of sexual harassment and for raising awareness of food-safety problems at the Kingdome.

In reality, according to the council members' statement, Krull at first refused to provide information about the harassment so it could be fully investigated.

And council members actually were pleased the question of public-health standards in the Kingdome was raised, they said.

The council members also denied council interference in the ombudsman's office, saying the council has made no attempt to direct which cases Krull investigates or what conclusions he draws. But they did say that he has tried to hire and fire staff members without the legal authority to do so.

The council has scheduled - and then put off - final action on the allegations against Krull several times.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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