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caption: Bruce Harrell is a former Seattle City Council Member and candidate for mayor in the 2021 primary election.
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Bruce Harrell is a former Seattle City Council Member and candidate for mayor in the 2021 primary election.
Credit: Courtesy of the Bruce Harrell Campaign

Bruce Harrell, Seattle mayoral candidate, accused of trying to influence wage theft investigation at men-only social club

Seattle mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell is facing a last-minute ethics complaint, days ahead of the November 2 election.

The ethics complaint dates back to 2018 when Seattle's Office of Labor Standards was investigating a wage theft case against a private social group for Black men — the Royal Esquire Club. At the time, Bruce Harrell was board chair of the club while also serving as a city council member.

Now, Harrell is being accused of not disclosing that connection before he criticized the wage theft investigation.

“He apparently attempted to influence the investigation itself,” said Rich Stoltz, former head of a Seattle immigrant rights group.

Stoltz is bringing the complaint and has filed it with Seattle's Ethics and Elections Commission. He is also a donor to Lorena González, Harrell's opponent for Seattle mayor.

“I'm not neutral,” Stoltz admits.

Stolz also admits that he met with the labor union Unite Here to discuss bringing the complaint. That union's PAC is running hundreds of thousands of dollars in TV attack ads against Harrell.

Harrell's campaign issued a statement accusing González of trying to distract voters from issues like homelessness and public safety.