SPD monitor asks city to pay for his cable bill, meals and booze

SEATTLE -- New questions are being raised about the court-appointed monitor in charge of overseeing reform in the Seattle Police Department.

Attorney Merrick Bobb is tasked with making sure the SPD implements a slew of federal reforms put forth after a Department of Justice investigation found officers using excessive force.

Since starting the job, Bobb's spending habits have raised eyebrows. He has turned in receipts for expensive dinners at top restaurants that cost $113, $92 and $191. He has also turned in receipts for his monthly cable bill, an Egyptian cotton pillow case and alcohol.

While no one blames Bobb for having expensive tastes, few seem happy that he's asking taxpayers to foot the bill.

"These are rules that are well understood by everyone in government about what is and what is not reimbursable," said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

In emails between Bobb and the City Budget Office, the city raised red flags over receipts related to his travel from Los Angeles to Seattle, including $100 for airport parking when a taxi would have been cheaper.

There's also a receipt for an excess baggage fee for someone who is not even on Bobb's team. The city suspected it may have been a friend, relative or girlfriend.

Bobb also asked to be reimbursed for weekend restaurant bills when the city said they had no meetings planned.

When the receipts were questioned, Bobb fired back in an email, calling the questions "humiliating, time consuming and obstructionist."

"Our budget office folks, they're just doing their job," McGinn said.

While explaining the receipts, Bobb questioned the police department's progress.

"I'm not certain that we can currently say we are getting cooperation from the city regarding the monitoring or movement toward full and effective implementation of the consent degree," he said in an email.

City officials say Bobb has taken about $7,500 off his requests for reimbursement. He refused to comment for this story.

A representative from the City Attorney's office said since the first receipts came in, the office has discussed with Bobb's office what expenses can and cannot be reimbursed.