The Kennewick City Council voted 5-2 to censure (or reprimand) one of its own Tuesday night over what they said was an unfounded  and unapproved drug investigation.

Mayor Pro-tem Steve Lee and his wife own the Green2Go pot store in Finley.  Councilman John Trumbo received what he said was enough information to request an investigation into alleged drug activity at the store. Trumbo eventually contacted Benton County Sheriff's detective Sgt. Bob Brockman.

Trumbo claims he was told in 2018 about  a rumor that a Green2Go  worker saw Lee  with a large amount of an illegal drug in an employee break room two years ago.

Trumbo, who is a former Tri-City Herald reporter, began his own investigation, seeking to talk with the worker at length, as well as several others who supposedly had heard the rumor. Trumbo first heard of the rumor, he said, from a downtown Kennewick business leader.  Lee called it a "fourth-hand" rumor, because Trumbo heard it from the downtown leader, who said he heard it from a Richland business owner, who in turn had heard it from one of his own workers. That worker reportedly was told about the drugs by his girlfriend who was the former Green2Go employee. The girl had been fired from the store some time ago.

Trumbo said he was not able to directly talk to the girl, but turned over what information he had to Dectective Brockman in January of this year.  Brockman dismissed it, concluding the claims were unfounded. Lee was even interviewed by the Detective, and said having such drugs would be bad for business. Officials also scoured hours of in store surveillance footage and found nothing.

However, Lee is now asking for Trumbo to apologize and calling on him to resign. Trumbo has refused on both counts. The council voted to censure Trumbo, and he was also removed from all board and committee appointments for the rest of this year.