For the first time in 15 years, The Seattle Times will be duffless come June. That's when Seattle's dean of investigative reporting, Duff Wilson, three times a Pulitzer finalist, takes what's got to be one of the plum gigs in all of journalism—the newly created sports investigative reporting slot at The New York Times. Wilson, 50, says he's not leaving Seattle for reasons any more complex than "it's an opportunity to do investigative reporting for the best paper in the world. Who wouldn't want that?" Wilson, who started reporting at his father's paper in Omak, was, with Eric Nalder (since departed for the San Jose Mercury News), part of one of the best investigative teams in the print world. Wilson says he's moving to New York and will be digging into the realm where sports, business, and politics intersect. PHILIP DAWDY


When government agencies get caught in an auditor's dragnet, they usually try to untangle themselves and promise to do better. Not the state Department of Social and Health Services. State Auditor Brian Sonntag recently tagged DSHS with 19 violations of record keeping and mishandling taxpayer money. Among them: DSHS provided unallowed federal Medicaid services to illegal immigrants, its records were unreliable, background checks weren't done, and dead people might be getting medical benefits. DSHS's responses: There are "legitimate reasons" why illegals get unallowable services; some of its records were unreliable because the auditor "manipulated" the data; true, DSHS doesn't make some background checks as required—doesn't even see some recipients in person—"but the voluminous turnover in staff" would make it impossible on an ongoing basis. And there are "valid reasons" why DSHS can't determine that a dead person is getting state benefits. Says Jason Mercier of the tax-watchdog Evergreen Freedom Foundation: "When an agency refuses to even acknowledge its audit findings, it is very unlikely that corrective action will occur from within that organization." RICK ANDERSON

Politics and Culture

Challenging the adage that Seattle is too soft and soggy for satire, the management of Town Hall plans to mount a monthly evening of topical political comedy called "Seattle Follies." Promised for the first installment on May 20 are segments featuring City Council member and ex–Seattle Times columnist Jean Godden reciting the speeches of Donald Rumsfeld as free verse; satirical songs by Seattle Post-Intelligencer sports columnist Art Thiel; and humorist John Moe's multimedia analysis of the monorail project. Former Almost Live! TV host Jon Keister will emcee. ROGER DOWNEY


"Insane to write something before the election." —notes from a September 2000 meeting between senior aides to Washington State Attorney General Christine Gregoire and attorney Susan Barnes who was carrying out an "independent" investi­gation of how the attorney general's office missed the deadline for appealing a record-breaking $17.6 million judgment against the state. (The Seattle Times, Sunday, April 18)

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