Public Still Waiting For Seattle Mayor’s Missing Text Messages

As Seattle’s Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan is getting ready to leave office, a report including information about her missing text messages during racial justice protests last year is overdue. City officials are not saying when the report will be made public.

The Seattle City attorney hired the Crypsis Group, a private firm, to analyze the information available regarding the messages over a year ago. The city attorney’s office issued a statement more than five months ago that it would be sharing the completed report prepared by the contractor.

The city attorney has reported that the Crypsis Group has been paid a total of $407,000 for the work as of November 29. Of that total fee paid, $206,000 has been billed and paid after the city attorney said the report would be provided to the public in July.

A spokesperson for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said this week that he had no additional details to share and information about the delay in issuing the report. Holmes is also leaving his position as city attorney at the end of the month.

Fox Business spoke with a representative of the mayor’s office, who reported their office had “nothing to add.”

In addition to the public’s apparent interest in the missing texts, the delayed report could be valuable evidence in several lawsuits filed against the city related to the protests and riots that took place in 2020.

The city attorney retained the Crypsis Group to assist with defending the city, as Mayor Durkan’s text messages were not included from August 2019 through June 2020. During overlapping periods, the text messages from at least eight other city officials, including the fire chief and police chief, were not retained.

The periods when the messages are missing include June 2020, when unrest led to two fatal shootings in the zone temporarily abandoned to rioters in the Capitol Hill area, and police left the department’s East Precinct building.

The mayor’s office knew no later than August 2020 that her city phone texts were lost. The city attorney hired the Crypsis Group in November 2020 to look for the missing messages. The public was not advised of the situation until May when the ethics and Elections Commission released a whistleblower’s report.

Mayor Durkan has stated that she believed her messages were being retained adequately under the law. However, she admitted that the records requests submitted for copies of the messages “fell short of state law.”