Mullis Center ‘Zoom-bombed’ with illicit material while streaming election results

It’s been a year of disruption at the Mullis Community Senior Center, and its recent election was no exception.

During a virtual meeting to tally results for its district committee elections on Nov. 11, the session was “Zoom-bombed” with pornography.

Due to this incident, the center is no longer offering a live feed that allows community members to observe the election.

“We do not yet know if this was a community member or some hacker from anywhere in the world,” said Sheriff Ron Krebs.

It is currently an ongoing investigation and the Sheriff’s Office does not have any further details.

The Mullis Center released a statement about the issue, which read, “We are taking this heinous act very seriously. ‘Zoom-bombing’ charges could include disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, hate crimes, fraud or transmitting threatening communications. If found guilty, the crimes can be punishable by fines or imprisonment.”

Representatives from the Mullis Center do not wish to make any additional comments until more is known from the Sheriff’s Office. Once the responsible party is identified, they will move forward with filing charges and carrying out a prosecution.

The election was for 15 open positions on the committee. Those who were eligible to vote must be residents of the San Juan District (including San Juan, Henry, Brown, Spieden, Stuart, Johns, Pearl, and Flat Top islands), and at least 60 years old or have a disability.

It was a contentious election after the center was accused of financial mismanagement by a group of community members.

According to a guest column by Stephen Shubert, Chair of Mullis Community Senior Center District Committee, “In 2020, Mullis Center’s financial records, and the subsequent amending of previous tax returns for the Senior Services Council of San Juan County corporation was a necessary and legitimate financial correction to a clerical error. The funds in question were granted to the Seattle Foundation and as the owner of the funds, they manage them according to the wishes and goals of the donor and provide a portion of the funds to the Mullis Center, as they are needed, to be used in the service of seniors and disabled on San Juan Island. These conditions are stated in the agreements between the Mullis Center and the Seattle Foundation and the correction to our financial records was made under the advisement of the Council’s CPA.”

Ballots were counted Nov. 12 and the results are not yet known due to delays in ballot counting.

According to the center’s website, “The ballot count team had planned to obtain the final mail-in ballots from USPS at noon on Friday, Nov. 12 to complete the mail-in count. Unfortunately, due to the disruption of USPS delivery of San Juan Island mail, the Friday Harbor Post Office did not receive any mail on Friday.

“Due to these unusual circumstances, the ballot count team, along with Debbie Haagensen (SJ Co Senior Services Manager who oversees this process) and the attorneys determined it would be best to reconvene the ballot count team on Monday, Nov. 15, after the mail can be picked up from USPS.”

The team will continue the count Monday afternoon after the Journal went to press. Sheriff Krebs has secured the ballot count records completed to date and he will return the locked ballot box to the center.

The candidates are as follows: Paul Arroyo, Clayton Banry, David Bayley, Mary Pat Bone, Patty Brightman, Carrie Brooks, Christine Bush, Dennis Blusse, Linda Chowdry, Kathleen Commins, Alice Deane, Nancy DeVaux, Lucretia Devine, Barbara Dragin, Patty Garcia, Nancy Geist, Beth Helstien, David Honeywell, Nancy Honeywell, Marty Huleatte, Minnie Knych, Susan Mazzarella, Jeffrey Musburger, Frank Penwell, Shannon Plummer, Sandy Rabinowitz, Robert Reilly, Terry Sanders, Laura Jo Severson, Stephen Shubert, Marie Skufeeda, Bonnie Sliger, Nadine Sullivan and Rich Swenson.