August 24, 2012
Port of Seattle Commission 2711 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98121
Dear Port of Seattle Commissioners:
We are concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest and ethical issues raised by the Port of Seattle CEO's dual employment on the board of directors of an international logistics company, Expeditors' International, with direct economic interest in the Port's operations.
As the board president of Expeditor's International, Mr. Yoshitani will receive additional annual compensation of approximately $250,000, including stock options, for a total annual compensation of more than $600,000. It is our understanding that no other major port director in the U.S. sits on the board of a private company in the transportation or logistics industry.
Expeditors' reported revenues exceeded $6 billion in 2011. Expeditors' directs their customers' goods through different ports and negotiates directly with local service suppliers on their customers' behalf. Expeditors' International provides freight forwarding services for shippers that have contracts or may have contracts at the Port of Seattle, including Foxxcon, Nike, Cisco, Intel, Kodak and many other shippers.
As stated in Expeditors' 2011 Annual Report: "The global logistics services industry is intensely competitive... Depending on the location of the shipper and the importer, the Company must compete against both niche players and larger entities." Expeditors' International has been under investigation since 2007 by the U.S. Department of Justice for anti-competitive behavior.
It appears to the public that Mr. Yoshitani may directly and personally benefit by giving Expeditors' customers a competitive advantage over other Port of Seattle customers, and as Port CEO he has the power to prioritize his personal profit over the public mission of the taxpayer-supported Port of Seattle.
We understand the Port of Seattle Commission did not publicly review or approve the CEO's outside employment, leaving that decision to one of the CEO's subordinates. Under state law it is the Port Commission's responsibility to supervise the managing officer of the Port. We are concerned about the precedent this sets for public officials, as well as the message this sends to Expeditors' competitors, their customers and other Washington Ports.
Rep. Zack Hudgins 11th District
Rep. Dave Upthegrove 33rd District
Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon 34th District
Rep. Gerry Pollet 46th District
Rep. Bob Hasegawa 11th District
Rep. Derek Stanford 1st District
Rep. Tina Orwall 33rd District
Rep. Patrick Sullivan 47th District
Sen. Karen Keiser 33rd District
Sen. Adam Kline 37th District
Sen. David Frockt 46th District
Sen. Sharon Nelson 34th District
Rep. Luis Moscoso 1st District
Have a great day,
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This is not going to end well for somebody at the Port.