Under the Influence

Number 18563
Subject Conflicts Of Interest
Source Camas Magazine (Spokane, WA)
State WA
Year 2001
Publication Date March 8, 22, April 12, May 17, June 22, Aug. 20, Sept. 15, 18, Oct. 5, 29, Nov. 18, 28, Dec. 13
Summary A Camas Magazine investigative series "chronicles the ongoing controversy of a public/private partnership so faulty that it seriously threatens the fiscal, political and civic health" of Spokane. The partnership, known as River Park Square, was the developer of an upscale shopping mall. The stories reveal that the private party in the partnership - Spokane's most powerful family, the Cowleses, owners of the Spokane Review and the local NBC station - covered up the faults of the project by abusing media power. The construction of the shopping mall was financed "with a $23 million loan from the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency and $32 million of tax-exempt bonds secured by city parking meter revenues and a limited pledge of general fund revenue." The result: today the new mall is almost empty and facing bankruptcy, and the city and the taxpayers are losing money.
Category Contest Finalist
Pages 196
Keywords BOOK;SERIES;city government;business;Securities Exchange Commission (SEC);stocks and bonds;litigation;lawyers;litigation;IRS;tax rules violations;real estate;land development;poverty;Washington public records law
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