Mountlake Terrace City Council member Seaun Richards put the city on notice this week that he was taking a leave of absence from the council during the month of December following the city’s decision to pull its support of the annual Shop with a Cop and First Responders event. Richards, owner of Red Onion Burgers, has sponsored Shop with a Cop for the past six years through his Cheeseburger Babies Foundation.
Richards ran unopposed in the Nov. 3 election and is scheduled to be sworn in for a second term in January. He did not attend the council’s Dec. 3 work/study session.
In a Dec. 1 letter to his fellow council members, Richards expressed his displeasure with Interim City Manager Scott Hugill’s decision to deny support from the Mountlake Terrace Police Department for the annual Shop with a Cop event. In past years, the event has provided approximately 100 kids with a $50 gift card to shop at Target, accompanied by a first responder.
The MLT Police Department had in the past provided staffing to research the names of children in need who would benefit from the program. But this year, Hugill declined to participate, due to a dispute with a citizen who has been making public records requests about Richards and would potentially have access to the children’s names.
Richards said Friday night that the event will go on as scheduled next Wednesday, Dec. 9, with support from the Edmonds School District to identify children in need. The event will take place at the Alderwood Mall Target.