LYNNWOOD, Wash., November 5, 2021 – Lynnwood City Councilman-elect Joshua Binda fails to produce the supporting documentation required by Washington state law, during the public inspection of books of account (RCW 42.17A.235.8 and WAC 390-16-043 Section 6) requested by the Lynnwood Times. Binda also fails to meet with the Lynnwood Times within the required 48-hour deadline to publicly inspect financial records (RCW 42.17A.235.6.a and WAC 390-16-043 Section 4). Towards the end of the meeting with the Lynnwood Times, Binda asked, “Why couldn’t you have waited to release the story until after the election?”

This Lynnwood Times article is the second segment in our series of the ongoing investigation into $10,000 in suspicious campaign expenses reported by Lynnwood City Council Candidate-elect Joshua Binda who is endorsed by the Everett Herald.

It was reported first by the Times that Lynnwood City Council candidate and BLM activist Joshua Binda, 21, recorded almost $4,848.19 in expenditures towards rent, towing fees, concert tickets, jewelry, laptops, airfare, groceries, dental work, haircuts, and office furniture. In addition to these suspicious expenses, another $4,952.12 was lumped together and recorded as “Expenses of $50 or less.”

Joshua Binda
Joshua Binda. Source: Joshua Binda.

The Lynnwood Times sent a request at 2:47 p.m. on Saturday, October 30 to the Treasurer’s email address, in accordance with Washington state law (RCW 42.17A.235), to publicly inspect the books of account for the Elect Joshua Binda campaign. A telephone call to Joshua Binda to confirm the receipt of the email occurred at 2:49 p.m. on October 30 – the same day. During that telephone call, Joshua Binda was informed of the email request and its’ intent to inspect his campaign’s books of account, which Binda agreed to meet.

When questioned on the telephone about campaign expenses being recorded to pay for rent and a $163 haircut, Binda told the Lynnwood Times, “I am not the only one that runs my account, so I would have to ask my campaign manager and would have to talk with him about all of my expenses.”

When then asked if someone is advising him on recording Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) expenses, Binda abruptly ended the conversation stating he is about to enter a meeting and asked if he can call back later to further discuss which he never did.

It was agreed to meet 1 p.m. on Monday, November 1 at Starbucks located at 6208 196th St SW in Lynnwood. At 12:39 p.m. on November 1, an emailed was sent from Joshua Binda rescheduling the meeting for 4 p.m. The Lynnwood Times was unaware of this email as the reporter left at 12:30 p.m. to meet with Binda at the agreed location and time.

After texting Binda at 1:05 p.m. inquiring on his whereabouts, Binda notified the reporter that he sent an email to reschedule for 4 p.m., beyond the 48-hour timeframe required by Washington state law. The Lynnwood Times agreed to reschedule the meeting at the same location at 4 p.m.

During the rescheduled meeting, Binda informed the Lynnwood Times that “they” needed more time to prepare as the reason he couldn’t make the original 1 p.m. meeting.

The books of account meeting

Riall Johnson

Binda was joined by campaign consultant and principal partner Riall Johnson of Prism Washington who Binda uses for campaign services. According to its website, Prism Washington “is a consulting group focused on providing opportunities and services for electoral campaigns centered on social justice.”

Prism was formed by Johnson on January 2, 2020, and has provided campaign services to many high-profile candidates such as: Seattle City Attorney Candidate Nicole Thomas Kennedy; Bellingham City Council Candidate Kristina Michele Martens; Bothell City Council Candidates Han Tran, Jenne Alderks, and Rami Al-Kabra; and Snohomish County Council Candidate Brandy Donaghy to name a few.

According to the PDC’s follow the money online database, Prism Washington began receiving monies for campaign services in 2018 and by 2021 has recorded over one million dollars in payments from 41 campaigns throughout Western Washington.

County 2018 2019 2020 2021 Grand Total
KING $87,900 $56,145 $629,404 $773,450
PIERCE $18,416 $7,477 $25,893
SKAGIT $110,203 $110,203
SNOHOMISH $3,891 $17,022 $13,351 $34,264
THURSTON $3,058 $35,832 $38,890
WHATCOM $46,409 $46,409
(blank) $544 $4,500 $5,044
Grand Total $3,602 $91,792 $237,618 $701,142 $1,034,153

At the start of the meeting, Johnson informed the Lynnwood Times at there are a “bunch of mistakes” and ensured the Times that all of the $4,952.12 recorded as “Expenses of $50 or less” were “campaign related.” He also wanted to make it clear that he is not a treasurer and is there to help Binda fix the issues.

Binda shared that he confused his campaign debit card with his personal debit card, stating they look similar, as the reason for some non-campaign related expenses such as a plane ticket and concert tickets. He also shared with the Lynnwood Times that he gave a “campaign volunteer” access to the campaign’s debit card which the volunteer used for non-campaign related expenses.

He confirmed with the Times that there is only one campaign debit card and that he will be reimbursing the campaign thousands of dollars in non-campaign related expenses. Binda would not disclose the name of the “campaign volunteer” who used the campaign debit card.

Both Johnson and Binda stated that the towing expenses and associated impound fees were for Binda’s vehicle. According to Johnson, “Josh has car troubles” and he called to have his vehicle towed when it was inoperable after campaign/client meetings. For the record, in addition to the $922.23 expenditures recorded as towing on the original C4 report, The Lynnwood Times saw another towing related expense for over $130 for an impound fee.

Because of company policy, Mary’s towing would not disclose to the Times the vehicle information associated with the tow to confirm Binda’s claim.

When questioned about the $968.05 on October 8 for rent to a John Warlick whose real name is Josh Warlick, the manager for Heather Ridge Apartments in Lynnwood who confirmed that Binda does live at the apartment complex, both Binda and Johnson stated that the expense was an accounting error, and it was actually paid to Binda’s campaign consultant Riall Johnson and not John Warlick.

Again, without any copies of checks nor bank statements provided by Binda, the Lynnwood Times was not able to confirm their claim. For the record, Josh Warlick denies receiving any check in the amount of $968.05 from Binda and perplexed why Binda used his name in the original report.

Binda shared that the monies paid to his alleged girlfriend Christy Kioko in the amount of $1,460 was misreported and were actually for campaign services to manage his social media account and for the reimbursement of a laptop which the campaign had already expensed on April 19, 2021. Binda was unable to provide a W9 for Christy Kioko to confirm she was indeed providing campaign services.

Regarding the $260.60 Delta Airlines ticket purchased on August 15, Binda told the Lynnwood Times that this was a personal trip to visit his sister in Rhode Island. He would not disclose the nature of the trip but did share that he left for Rhode Island shortly after the Primary Election in August and returned to Washington state six weeks later in September. No receipt nor ticket stub was presented to the Times to confirm the duration and destination of the trip to Rhode Island.

Binda did stress that he left the campaign debit card in Washington state during his alleged six-week stay in Rhode Island visiting his sister and that any transactions made during this time was by the “campaign volunteer.”

No Supporting documentation, receipts, nor bank statements

No underlying source documents such as receipts, invoices, copies of contribution checks, copies of canceled checks for expenditures, notes, or other documentation concerning expenditures, orders placed, and loans, were provided for review to the Lynnwood Times during the public inspection of books of account which, according to RCW 42.17A.235.8 and WAC 390-16-043 Section 6, are required by Washington state law. Also, Binda and Johnson did not present any bank statements for review.

What was provided by Binda was a physical 4-page copy of a transaction history search result from a checking account ending in “508” which was not in chronological order, looked as if it were possibly snipped together, filtered to show only debit transactions over $50, no running cash on-hand or balance for each line item to validate account running balance, and no deposit or credit transactions.

The 4-page filtered debit report did contain a lot of POS (Point-of-Sale) debit transactions, checks paid to Andy Lo, and account transfers to other accounts.

There were multiple withdrawal-only transactions both POS and non-POS to what looked like multiple other accounts. Transaction withdrawals from checking account ending “508” to an account ending in “0613” and a $1,000 from checking account ending “508” to a savings account ending “425.”

Both Johnson and Binda stated that the savings account is a bank account related to Binda’s campaign, but the Times was unable to confirm their claim as no bank statements were provided.

The Lynnwood Times was unable to reconcile all expenses to what was recorded to the C4 expenditure reports and unable to confirm Johnson’s earlier claim that all the charges recorded “Expenses of $50 or less” were in fact campaign related as the Times did not see any transactions less than $50 in the 4-page filtered debit report presented by Binda and Johnson.

Without seeing bank statements and physical copies of checks, The Lynnwood Times was unable to validate the claims made in the C4 statements and monies reimbursed to the account.

Binda’s 19 amendments to PDC documents

C-4 Summary Reports summarizes a campaign’s financial activity and shows itemized expenditures for a specific period. C-3 Contribution Reports are as its name implies, itemized contributions to a campaign.

According to the Elect Joshua Binda PDC account, the campaign submitted twelve C-3 Contribution and seven C-4 Summary report amendments between October 31 and November 1 after the October 30th Lynnwood Times request to publicly inspect the campaign’s books. Each of the amendments were signed by campaign Treasurer Joshua Binda.

To view a worksheet summarizing all amendment changes click here.

Click to download and view the WORKSHEET SUMMARY OF 19 AMENDMENT CHANGES FOR JOSHUA BINDA (NOV 1 FILINGS)

According to the PDC campaign reporting database, Joshua Binda has contributed $2,943.39 to his campaign, up from $967.89 prior to the Lynnwood Times telephone interview with Binda on October 30. In amendments to contribution reports submitted on October 31 and November 1, Binda signed off on $3,777.51 in increased campaign contributions not previously reported to the PDC possibly concealing campaign contributions from public disclosure in violation of RCW 42.17A.235 and RCW 42.17A.240.

A $1,000 contribution from a Abraha Henok on October 8 is no longer reflected on any of the amended reports. Prior to the Lynnwood Times meeting with Binda to inspect his campaign books, Henok contributed a total of $2,000 to the campaign but now that amount is reduced to $1,000. The October 8 contribution was signed off by then Treasurer Andy Lo.

A $250 contribution for Mukilteo City Councilman Louis Harris on October 5 has been replaced with a $250 contribution on October 3 by the Snohomish Ebony PAC for a total of $1,000 in contributions to the Binda campaign from this PAC.

According to its website, the Snohomish Ebony PAC, “exists to increase the representation of African Americans in elected positions and to hold all elected officials accountable to our community, regardless of political party affiliation.” Mukilteo Councilman Louis Harris is the Treasurer of the Snohomish Ebony PAC which has received a total of $23,379.36 in contributions. On July 16, Mukilteo Councilman Harris received a total of $1,000 from this PAC of which he is the Treasurer.

Excluding Binda’s $1,975.50 sudden contribution to his campaign between October 31 and November 1, a total of $2,802.01 from 22 contributors in previously unreported contributions are now visible on reports and a $1,000 contribution for an Abraha Henok on October 8 is now missing.

Below is a summary of contribution changes signed by Joshua Binda in 12 C3 amendments:

CONTRIBUTOR AS OF
OCT 30
AS OF
NOV 1
DIFFERNCE
ABRAHA HENOK $2,000.00 $ 1,000.00 ($1,000.00)
BONTJE NORM $150.00 $ 300.00 $150.00
BRODERHAUSEN RACHEL $140.00 $ 150.00 $10.00
CRIDDLE KAREN $192.31 $ 384.62 $192.31
CROCKER NINA $25.01 $ 50.02 $25.01
DAMRON HEATHER $300.00 $ 325.00 $25.00
GOLDWARG JORDAN $500.00 $ 1,000.00 $500.00
HARRIS LOUIS $250.00 $ – ($250.00)
Joshua Binda (Josh Binda) $967.89 $ 2,943.39 $1,975.50
KAUFFMAN MARY $150.00 $ 300.00 $150.00
KENNEDY JOHN $40.00 $ 60.00 $20.00
KETCHAM SALLY $108.15 $ 216.30 $108.15
LAINE KRISTEN $150.00 $ 300.00 $150.00
LIPSCOMB RUTH $150.00 $ 300.00 $150.00
MARKLYN HOLLY $150.00 $ 300.00 $150.00
MARKLYN WILLIAM $150.00 $ 300.00 $150.00
MILLER FERNELL $350.00 $ 400.00 $50.00
RENSCHLER KATHERINE $150.00 $ 300.00 $150.00
SILVERTON LAURA $250.00 $ 500.00 $250.00
SMALL CONTRIBUTIONS $1,610.54 $ 1,732.08 $121.54
SNOHOMISH EBONY PAC $750.00 $ 1,000.00 $250.00
THOMPSON DAVID $100.00 $ 200.00 $100.00
VILLARREAL SOL $150.00 $ 300.00 $150.00
VOGEL TODD $50.00 $ 100.00 $50.00
WILLIAMS BROOKE $150.00 $ 300.00 $150.00
Totals $8,983.90 $12,761.41 $3,777.51

According to the PDC campaign reporting database, Joshua Binda has signed off on a net reduction of $4,572.61 impacting 16 previously recorded expenditures to his campaign after the October 30 request by the Lynnwood Times to publicly inspect the Elect Joshua Binda campaign books. Between October 31 and November 1, seven amendments to expenditure reports were submitted by Binda possibly concealing/misappropriating campaign expenditures from public disclosure in violation of RCW 42.17A.235 and RCW 42.17A.240.

Below is a summary of expenditure changes signed by Joshua Binda in seven C4 amendments:

ORIGINALLY REPORTED AMENDED BETWEEN OCT 31 AND NOV 1
Vendors/Recipients Amount Vendors/Recipients Amount Difference
76 $    73.01 76 $    73.01 $ –
ACTBLUE $    144.66 ACTBLUE $    144.66 $ –
All Smiles   Family Dental $    326.90 $    (326.90)
ALPHAGRAPHICS $    250.43 ALPHAGRAPHICS $    250.43 $ –
AXS $    91.25 $    (91.25)
BARTELL DRUGS $    69.59 BARTELL DRUGS $    69.59 $ –
BEST BUY $    773.49 BEST BUY $    1,073.49 $    300.00
BINDA JOSHUA $    42.00 BINDA JOSHUA $    42.00 $ –
BLACK COFFEE $    80.00 BLACK COFFEE $    80.00 $ –
CHAMBERS BAY $    53.15 CHAMBERS BAY $    53.15 $ –
DELTA $    260.60 $    (260.60)
EMPIRE BANQUET   HALL $    3,951.00 EMPIRE BANQUET HALL $    3,951.00 $ –
EXPENSES OF   $50 OR LESS $    4,952.12 EXPENSES OF $50 OR   LESS $    4,622.29 $    (329.83)
FEDEX OFFICE $    96.63 FEDEX OFFICE $    96.63 $ –
FRED MEYER $    57.28 FRED MEYER $    57.28 $ –
Infinity Body   Jewery $    88.00 $    (88.00)
International   Auto $    99.09 $    (99.09)
John Warlick $    968.05 $    (968.05)
JT Sheffey $    348.00 JT Sheffey $    108.00 $    (240.00)
KIOKO CHRISTY $    1,460.00 KIOKO CHRISTY $    70.00 $ (1,390.00)
LO ANDY $    900.00 LO ANDY $    900.00 $ –
MACY’S $    130.90 MACY’S $    130.90 $ –
MARYS TOWING $    823.14 MARYS TOWING $    411.57 $    (411.57)
NOI THAI $    74.02 NOI THAI $    74.02 $ –
OFFICE DEPOT $    345.71 OFFICE DEPOT $    345.71 $ –
PRISM   WASHINGTON $    3,468.25 PRISM WASHINGTON $    3,218.25 $    (250.00)
RUFFIN HOSHEA $    65.00 RUFFIN HOSHEA $    65.00 $ –
SHELL $    125.55 SHELL $    125.55 $ –
SKY PRINTING $    330.00 SKY PRINTING $    330.00 $ –
SMART   FOODSERVICE $    66.13 SMART FOODSERVICE $    66.13 $ –
SNAP CUSTOM   CLOTHING $    165.75 SNAP CUSTOM CLOTHING $    165.75 $ –
STATE OF WA $    198.00 STATE OF WA $    198.00 $ –
STRIPE $    56.03 STRIPE $    56.03 $ –
THREE GIRLS   COLLABORATIVE $    75.00 THREE GIRLS   COLLABORATIVE $    75.00 $ –
T-MOBILE $    756.85 T-MOBILE $    600.21 $    (156.64)
Tory Fletcher $    162.00 $    (162.00)
VANTIV $    216.75 VANTIV $    302.23 $    85.48
VIVID SEATS $    184.16 $    (184.16)
WA STATE   DEMOCRATS $    461.15 WA STATE DEMOCRATS $    461.15 $ –
WALMART $    143.79 WALMART $    143.79 $ –
WINCO FOODS $    160.35 WINCO FOODS $    160.35 $ –
ZOOM $    110.46 ZOOM $    110.46 $ –
TOTAL   ORIGINAL $    23,204.24 TOTAL AFTER   AMENDMENTS $    18,631.63 $ (4,572.61)

In analyzing and comparing the physical C4 Summary reports to the online PDC expenditure reporting database, all of the expenditures associated with the C4 Summary report for reporting period September 1 through October 11 have been removed. Technically, the entire reporting period has been purged and replaced with an amendment for a reporting period of October 12 through October 25.

The now missing September 1 through October 11 C4 Report contained $5,158.01 in suspicious expenditures for rent, groceries, towing, dental work, jewelry, a $163 haircut, and included $1,527.15 categorized as “Expenses of $50 or less.”

When comparing physical C4 reports, the $968.05 originally reported as rent, was changed on the report as being paid to campaign consultant Riall Johnson. This expenditure is no longer visible in the online expenditure data and is only visible when reviewing the physical C-4 reports. The Lynnwood Times has notified the PDC of this apparent loophole in the internal controls to amend a PDC report.

Carry Forward contribution and expenditure amounts for C4 reports on several amendments did not match. For example, the Carry Forward C4 Expenditures from the previous 9/1-10/11 period increased by $2,965.50; whereas the contributions were reduced by $250.

PDC Enforcement

There are currently two open cases for alleged violations of Washington’s campaign finance and disclosure laws (RCW 42.17A) and rules (WAC 390) against the Elect Joshua Binda campaign.

The existing complaints allege theft or misappropriation of campaign funds for personal use (RCW 42.17A.445 and WAC 390-16-238) and concealment of expenditures (RCW 42.17A.235 and RCW 42.17A.240). Currently pending is a violation of RCW 42.17A.235.6.a for failing to publicly meet within the required 48-hour timeframe to publicly inspect campaign books, and another for not supplying the required source documents as required by Washington state law WAC 390-16-043(6). Additional violations for the concealment of contributions may be filed as early as Monday, November 8.

When asked of the enforcement process, Kim Bradford, Deputy Director of the PDC told the Lynnwood Times that within the first 10 days of a complaint, PDC staff reviews the validity of the violation claim. If there is sufficient information to support an allegation, a case is opened (posted on the website), and the respondent has 14 days to address the complaint. Staff will then review the respondent’s response and take appropriate action.

Bradford shared that most cases are resolved within 90 days administratively through a reminder, a warning or statement of understanding in which the respondent admits to a violation and pays a penalty.

However, for allegations that require an investigation, a formal investigation is initiated which may take months to resolve. The PDC has subpoena authority to obtain bank records and other source documents to aid in its investigation.

Complaints under formal investigation may lead to possible enforcement action. When and how that happens depends on the outcome of the investigation and if an investigation reveals evidence of a material violation of the laws or rules enforced by the PDC.  If a stipulation or settlement is not reached, PDC staff may issue a notice of administrative charges and schedule the matter before the commission as an enforcement matter in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

Washington state law allows complainants to bring lawsuits in the name of the state if the PDC or Attorney General’s Office doesn’t act. If the PDC hasn’t resolved a complaint, referred the matter to the Attorney General’s Office, or opened a formal investigation and held an initial hearing within 90 days of a complaint being filed, complainants can file a 10-day notice signaling their intent to go to court.

Binda’s statement to Lynnwood residents

Binda wanted residents to know that he is an accountable person and “taking the necessary steps to fix the accounting errors.” During our meeting on November 1 with both Binda and Johnson, The Lynnwood Times was informed by both of them that Binda has reimbursed the campaign for non-campaign related expenses.

Binda also shared that he intends to fully cooperate with the PDC.

Mario Lotmore

Mario Lotmore is originally from The Bahamas and for the last seven years has called Mukilteo, WA his home. Having lived in every region of the United States has exposed him to various cultures, people, and approaches to life. Lotmore created the Lynnwood Times to represent the character of a diverse and growing Lynnwood. The launching of the city’s community newspaper will only help bring neighborhoods together. Lotmore was an industrial engineer by trade and proven success implementing and managing lean accountable processes and policies within his eighteen years of operations excellence, strategic development, and project management in the aerospace, manufacturing, and banking industries. Over his career he has saved and created hundreds of union and non-union jobs. Lotmore is the President of a Homeowner Association, an active Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics volunteer in his community, and former Boeing 747 Diversity Council leader. Mario’s talent is finding “that recipe” of shared destiny to effectively improve the quality of life for others.

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