King County Democrats Chair Bailey Stober during a meeting in late February.
King County Democrats Chair Bailey Stober during a meeting in late February. screenshot from facebook live

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The King County Assessor's Office, where King County Democrats Chair Bailey Stober holds his day job, has asked an attorney to look into the allegations involving Stober's leadership of the party organization, the Seattle Times and Erica C. Barnett report.

Stober is currently on leave from his job as communications director at the assessor's office. In his role as chair of the King County Democrats, he faces allegations that he harassed and demeaned a party employee and volunteers. A former party employee, Natalia Koss Vallejo, says Stober engaged in "a pattern of harassment and abuse," pulled pranks, mocked women, and pressured her and others involved with the party to drink alcohol. An internal investigation by three of the organization's vice chairs found that Stober called Koss Vallejo a "stupid cunt" and "stupid bitch." That investigation and an open letter from other party members also allege Stober mismanaged party funds, spending too much on travel. Stober has repeatedly denied the allegations and has criticized the vice chairs' investigation.

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The assessor office tells the Times Stober does not face similar allegations associated with his work for the county, but the office wants to do a "fact-finding mission." It's not yet clear how much the work will cost.

In the weeks since the allegations became public, the King County Democrats have fallen increasingly into disarray. In a late February meeting, members of the organization's executive board voted to begin a new investigation into Stober. However, some in the party have criticized that planned investigation because Stober would select two of the five investigators. The vice chairs who did the initial investigation would pick two more and those four would pick the fifth. Two of the three vice chairs have now resigned, leaving one of them to find two other people willing to participate in the controversial process.

The King County Democrats also voted to broaden the investigation to cover not just the allegations against Stober but also the "leaking" of information about the vice chairs' initial investigation to reporters. Plus, the group is broke. At the February 27 meeting, the group's treasurer said, "we don’t have any money." She told the group that after paying the bills that are owed, the organization will be "in the red" by about $3,000. Now, Barnett reports that one of Stober's picks for the new investigation has declined and several legislative district Democrat groups are now considering withholding dues from the county party until Stober resigns or is removed.

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