In the aftermath of a Friday altercation between Mayor Tim Matthes and Teresa Osinski, executive vice president of the Kitsap County Home Builders Association, Matthes today (Nov. 2) offered an apology to City of Port Orchard staff, citizens and his supporters.
“I’m so unhappy with what happened Friday,” Matthes said in his office at City Hall. “It hurts my heart. This was purely a campaign thing, not a city thing. I’m sad that it reflects on our city staff.”
Responding to Osinski’s request to review his campaign expenditure documents, Matthes set a meeting on Friday at a restaurant in Bremerton. He asked the Home Builders Association executive to sign a document confirming that the “mini” reporting records were made available for viewing. The document also confirmed the signee agreed to have the meeting tape-recorded.
An already tense meeting, which was attended by four witnesses for Matthes, became heated when former Mayor Lary Coppola arrived to witness for Osinski. Matthes said Coppola, his opponent in the mayoral contest in 2011, had not made a formal request to attend the meeting. Matthes asked Coppola to leave. When the former mayor responded that “I’m not going anywhere,” Matthes ended the meeting and grabbed the campaign documents from Osinski.
During the ruckus, Osinski said Matthes lunged at her and injured her finger and arm while grabbing the notebook. The mayor said he also suffered a minor paper cut during the melee.
Matthes said, in retrospect, he’d have handled Osinski’s request to view his campaign expenditure documents much differently. While remorseful, Matthes said he took exception to the view he hadn’t followed the law.
“I did everything within the law,” the mayor said, reciting state law RCW42.17A.235, which states, in part, that “The treasurer may refuse to show the records to any person who does not make an appointment or fails to provide identification.”
While he’s apologetic about the incident, Matthes said he believes the campaign has been spiteful.
Matthes said he’s “tired of the attacks against me” and his campaign. “This shouldn’t happen in a town of 13,000 people,” he said.
Although he opted to file under the mini-reporting option and doesn’t have to publicly declare his campaign contributions except to individuals who request to see them in person, Matthes disclosed that his total expenditures during the campaign were $2,889. Contributions totaled $1,600, of which $250 was the largest donation made by a single contributor.