As chairman of the Seattle Police Foundation, Michael Malone has helped raise money for life-saving gear for city cops. He also sits on the board of a software firm that sells video games in which gamers try to elude police and kill them, the Seattle Times reports. Malone says it is not a conflict, but other board members of the foundation see a problem serious enough that he may have to choose between business and philanthropy. “I don’t think anybody would argue that these video games are a detriment to the safety of police officers,” said Jim Johnson, a foundation board member. “I don’t think Mike would want to stay on, and it would be very difficult for the board to support that. It’s a direct conflict.”
Malone, a Seattle music entrepreneur and hotel co-owner of the Sorrento Hotel, helped found the nonprofit foundation in 2001. In January, without telling the foundation, he joined the board of Take-Two Interactive Software. The New York firm’s violent, anarchic “Grand Theft Auto” series has become a poster child for legislators and police nationwide – including Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske – concerned that such games may lead to real-life mayhem. Malone said he did not disclose his new job to the foundation because it is temporary, and he is prohibited from talking about it. Florida attorney Jack Thompson found Malone’s name among Take-Two’s board members and told the foundation and local media. Thompson is suing makers of “Grand Theft Auto” on behalf of three Alabama law-enforcement officers killed by an 18-year-old obsessed with the game.