The Port of Seattle Commission has vetted Executive Director Tay Yoshitani’s decision to become a director of Expeditors International and determined there is no conflict of interest with his port responsibilities, according to a port spokesman.
The port authority was responding to an Aug. 24 letter signed by 13 state legislators questioning whether Yoshitani’s decision to join Expeditors as a director while he is still executive director of the port would give that company’s customers a competitive advantage over other port customers.
“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,” the Washington state legislators stated in their letter.
Port spokesman Peter McGraw said legal teams at the port and at Expeditors analyzed Yoshitani’s decision to become a director at Expeditors and found no conflict of interest. As a freight forwarder and intermediary, Expeditors represents cargo interests, whereas the port’s customers are shipping lines and terminal operators, McGraw noted.
Yoshitani’s annual salary at the Port of Seattle is $367,000. As a director at Expeditors, Yoshitani will be paid $30,000 a year plus $1,000 a day for attending board meetings. He will also be able to purchase $200,000 in restricted Expeditors stock each year.