PRESS RELEASE: Investigation Concluded For Alleged Port of Centralia Commissioner Ethics Violations


For more information contact:

Port of Centralia
Kyle Heaton, Executive Director
Phone: (360) 736-3527
Email: [email protected]

Centralia, Wash. — The Port of Centralia has received the final report from Kathleen Haggard of Haggard & Ganson LLP for its third-party investigation into allegations of ethics violations by Commissioner Peter Lahmann. A memo submitted by the Port’s Director of Administration & Finance Amy Graber alleging violations of the Port’s Code of Ethics and the Washington State Code of Ethics for Municipal Officers spurred the investigation.

The report concluded no legal wrongdoing by Peter Lahmann but warned “Commissioner Lahmann’s conduct can still create problems even if it does not violate the Ethics Code. When he represents himself, or allows others to represent him, as a Port Commissioner at public appearances, this blurs lines, creates distrust and discord among the staff and other Commissioners, and calls into question Lahmann’s commitment to the collaborative process. This is especially true because Lahmann does not always disclose his appearances, and he often disagrees with his colleagues on policy matters.”

Kathleen Haggard’s report provided a list of guidelines to shore up the Port’s Code of Ethics, including avoiding OPMA violations at meetings attended by more than one commissioner, requirements to avoid presenting opinions as official Port stances, establishing talking points on official issues, and prohibiting attacks on Port staff, among others. She recommended the Port commissioners begin voluntarily cooperating with her list of guidelines as a means for moving forward.

Peter Lahmann is employed as an apprenticeship program specialist for the Washington Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Amy Graber’s memo expressed concern that he used his position as a Port commissioner to push for apprenticeship utilization standards in Port contracts, despite being not legally required to do so; to engage in quid pro quo arrangements with Port tenants where he agreed to advocate for tenants’ interests in exchange for them utilizing apprenticeships; and to participate in meetings with other organizations where he identified himself as the Port’s representative without Commission authorization to do so.

Kyle Markstrom, President of the Port of Centralia, said in a statement, “We must remember that allegations of ethical violations are serious matters that require careful scrutiny and unbiased evaluation. While the report did not find any legal wrongdoing, it is incumbent upon us as public servants to ensure that our actions are beyond reproach and uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct. Moving forward, we will take the findings of the investigation seriously and work towards strengthening our ethical framework. The Port Commission remains committed to promoting transparency, fostering trust within the community, and upholding the values that underpin our operations.”

Port of Centralia Executive Director Kyle Heaton said, “We appreciate the work of the Port’s Auditor in bringing these troubling issues to our attention. While the investigation concluded that there was not enough evidence to refer this matter further, Commissioner Lahmann’s actions were very close to, if not over, the line. Going forward, the Port will consider new ethics rules to ensure that no commissioner can use their position for their own personal advantage. We would like to express our appreciation to Kathleen Haggard for all of her work on this investigation and for providing guidance to prevent any future appearance of impropriety. The Port of Centralia has maintained a clean audit record throughout its history and values the high standards set by the founding commissioners and those who preceded them.”

To view the original memo, ethics investigation report, and Commissioner Kyle Markstrom’s full statement, please visit

Founded in 1986, the Port of Centralia operates two industrial parks and one planned
mixed-use development that provide over 2,100 jobs to the local community.
The Port’s 30-plus tenants include Sierra Pacific Industries, Michaels, United Natural Foods,
STIHL Northwest and Dick’s Brewing Company.

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