I will continue to post updates at they occur.

NOTE: Sorry because of the nature of cut/paste there may be some formatting errors that I will get around to fixing later.  So bare with me.


From my time as a criminal investigator and as the president of a 350 member police union I know my way around City Hall and the potential for “slush funds.”  There were several times I was not happy with what I had to do.  I’m sure there are others in “City Hell” that have kept “crib notes/files” for things that they were compelled to do that they kept for the event that the ball rolled down the hill to them to be chastised or scapegoated.

I do not have to work in this environment.  The Cowles Company can’t control me by their usual means.  If there are those who wish to pass along info/docs that are being withheld from the public, I am ready and willing to meet with them.  I will treat them as law enforcement confidential citizens informants.  I will not divulge their identities to anyone unless I’m called before a court to testify.  I will only then may do so “in camera” in a court that I believe to be free of this organized crime corruption.  I’m preparing with Sheriff Bamonte to bring a federal class action civil RICO prosecution on behalf of the citizens of Spokane to recover what was stolen from them by this criminal enterprise. I’m sure also if there is a subsequent disciplinary action if you sought competent legal counsel you could retire comfortably on the taxpayers nickel.  I will testify in your defense.

BREAKING – Complaint filed with WA State Board of Accountancy alleging Gavin Cooley the CFO of the City of Spokane, WA, violated RCW 18.04.345 regarding the misuse of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) after his name on the City’s webpage.

This is a continuation of a discussion thread at the Spokesman-Review article:

Verner says ‘plans in place’ to deal with 2011 deficit


Here’s the cover letter I sent to the WA State Board of Accountancy with my complaint:




February 8, 2010

Washington State Board of Accountancy

711 South Capitol Way Suite 400

Olympia, WA, 98501


Re: Complaint re Gavin Cooley, CFO of the City of Spokane  – violation of RCW 18.04.345

Dear Sirs and Madams:

Please see my attached complaint alleging Gavin Cooley knowingly is in violation of RCW 18.04.345 – the misuse of the wording “CPA” after his name.  This may initially seem a trivial complaint worthy of perhaps a “warning letter” to correct this offense. When viewed with the information I am supplying you, this is a very serious offense, that you must take seriously and compel a complete and thorough criminal investigation.  Cooley’s alleged violation came to my attention during my investigation to bring a civil class action RICO prosecution against all those complicit in the RPS Bond Fraud et al that will ultimately cost the citizens of Spokane upwards of $100 million dollars.  Mr. Cooley is a principal in my RICO case. 

As I conclude in my complaint:

. . . I believe there is strong probable cause to believe that Gavin Cooley knowingly violated RCW 18.04.345.  Cooley by allowing his CPA license to expire is no longer constrained by the professional ethics of CPAs and subject to regulation under state and federal law. Cooley either knowingly or tacitly allowed the letters “CPA” to appear after his name on the City of Spokane Treasury Department’s webpage.  The effect of which misleads bond agents, bond investors, and bond raters alike.  Cooley by his actions aided and abetted a criminal enterprise as defined in the Federal RICO Act to commit a municipal bond fraud.  Cooley in his deference to this criminal enterprise allows it to continue. This criminal enterprise will likely commit further frauds that will yet again victimize the citizens of Spokane if it is not destroyed.

I would further call your attention to today’s edition of the Spokesman-Review article:

Council seeks more assistance

Pay cuts for other positions would fund extra hours for members’ part-time support staff


Not only has Mr. Cooley allowed his CPA license to expire, the City of Spokane has left the City’s Auditor position vacant.  The Auditor is required to have the equivalent of a CPA however the City’s CFO position has no such requirement.  This effectively leaves Mr. Cooley in control of the City’s some $500 million dollars without external and independent auditing controls.


I would caution that you not seek the assistance of the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office, as it is complicit in the cover up of the manslaughter death of Jo Savage in the RPS Parking Garage.  I realize your criminal cases are forwarded to the WA Attorney General’s Office for filing and prosecution.  I would also advise caution in seeking legal advice of the WA Attorney General’s Office as their actions in the review of the Savage murder case were less than professional and in fact gave political support to County Prosecutor Steve Tucker in his decision not to file this case.


I have not yet filed a PDR for the relevant emails as described in by complaint with the City of Spokane City Clerk’s Office’s to allow you time to act.  I would caution I have several reliable sources that have told me in the past that certain City records including emails have been “scrubbed” to purge incriminating information.  I have taken certain steps to preserve these emails if they still do exist.


I would also request that Board Member Ed Jolicoeur recuse himself from any actions involving my complaint.  Mr. Jolicoeur is a close associate of Mr. Cooley and serves on the City of Spokane’s Audit Committee.  If there are any other Board Members with associations with Mr. Cooley or the Cowles Co et al, I would request that they recuse themselves too.


I will be happy to share any information and expertise I might have with your investigators.


In conclusion in my 35-year career as a criminal investigator, this is certainly one of the most blatantly criminal enterprises I have ever encountered. It’s hard to find words to adequately describe it.





Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

Professional Vitae


Your can read related material here:

WA Board of Accountancy Complaint

Affiant’s Declaration

Table of Exhibits

City of Spokane PDR request

S & P email (Email to analyst that did the latest S & P bond rating report on Spokane)

Here’s a related discussion thread at the Spokesman-Review regarding Mayor Verner’s State of the City address where she discusses the looming $10M budget deficit that is directly related to the RPS Bailout AKA the RPS Settlement Agreement

  • BigE on February 12 at 11:06 a.m.

    Does anyone else have a problem with Mayor Verner ?
    I understand the past problems with city government but for goodness sake, can we get someone that has some bite to them them. She looks and acts like a she is vanilla pudding, plain, bland, get it anywhere, all taste the same.
    What are we getting from our Mayor, she admits she is a “behind the scenes type person”, in my opinion a true leader is out front, setting the example, trying to motivate people to improve our community, start thinking as a whole rather than a bunch of individuals.

  • Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 12 at 12:15 p.m.

  • BigE,

  • You and me both. Here’s my most recent complaint related leaving the City’s auditor position vacant and using salary savings of this position to fund the additional staff time for the Council assistants. Mind you they were just made permanent part time with benefits that no other part time staff in the City get.


  • This all has to do with the upcoming budget deficit. Perhaps they will dip into the “Bank of Hine” to bail them out. AKA Solid Waste Reserve Fund of $49M that is held off budget.

    See my comment here re Mr. Brunt’s previous story on the Auditor position et al:…

    Here’s another story that the S-R has as of yet to cover. My sources say there is a betting pool under way in “City Hell” AKA City Hall whether the S-R will devote any ink to this:-)

    See my other comment:…


    Dear Mr. Adams,

    You are quite correct re a complaint was filed by me with the WA State Board of Accountancy. This complaint alleges a violation of violation of RCW 18.04.345 by re Gavin Cooley, CFO of the City of Spokane – misuse of the letters “CPA” after his name on the City’s website. The cat’s now out of the bag as this web page has since been “scrubbed.”

    I understand this blog thread is generating considerable interest with City Hall insiders watching from the bleachers. While Mr. Brunt may write a follow-up story, in the interest of full disclosure you can read my complaint below with supporting documents and screen prints and decide whether this was a mere oversight or something more:

    Cover letter…


    Affiant’s Declaration…

    Table of Exhibits…

    [New note in the other post]
    City of Spokane PDR Request for Docs…

    Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
    AKA Ron the Cop

    Flag as inappropriate


    BigE on February 12 at 1:25 p.m.

    Way to go Ron the Cop,

    Our elected officials are just that, we the people are sick and tired of being lied to, double standards, riding the fence on issues.

    Bunch of overly senstive people, no values, no morals, trying their best to find a shread of happiness in this crazy world.

    That my friends is the demise of our society, no backbone, easily offended, affraid of hard work, the attention span of a radish, Grandpa is not happy.

    Flag as inappropriate


    spokanesausage on February 12 at 2:56 p.m.

    I’m hard pressed to point to anything she has accomplished or where her leadership is taking Spokane.

    She’s also sending mixed messages of working with the County, then seperating out a court system that was already integrated.

    And what of these Green Jobs she promised……

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 12 at 3:04 p.m.

    Award winning investigator reporter Larry Shook has replied to my comments about Mayor’s Verner’s State of the City address (See below). Also readers may be interested in this related email I sent to the S & P’s principal researcher on their latest bond report:…

    Det. Ron Wright (Retired)


    Detective Wright: Former Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers has been forecasting this deficit for five years as a direct result of the RPS securities fraud and its fraudulent settlement. Anyone investigating the true cost of the RPS fraud to Spokane’s citizens would benefit from seeking Mrs. Rodgers’s analysis. Similarly, sincere investigators would benefit from interviewing Gary Ceriani and O.Yale Lewis, both of whom have special expertise in this matter because of their service to the city as RPS special counsel. If Mayor Verner is sincere about persuading Spokane’s citizens that she is ethically and honestly managing Spokane’s fiscal crisis, waiving privilege and allowing Mr. Ceriani and Mr. Lewis to speak openly and frankly about their knowledge of the RPS fraud is one of the most effective steps she could take. Among other things, it would constitute a bold statement that she and Spokane’s elected leaders have nothing to hide.

    Mr. Ceriani told me that he had advised against settling the RPS securities fraud case. (Please see “A New RPS Fraud?” at He advocated seeking full recovery of the $26 million RPS parking garage bond fraud from the RPS developer. That, indeed, is what the city council advised the citizens of Spokane they would do in purchasing Mr. Ceriani’s original bond fraud case for $45 million. Mr. Ceriani told me that he was “personally offended” by the fraudulent conduct of RPS developer Betsy Cowles. He wanted a jury to force her to disgorge her fraudulent proceeds from the RPS fiasco. His perspective is strikingly similar to that of former Councilwoman Rodgers. When former Mayor John Powers enlisted the help of retired Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Guy to persuade the city council to mediate the RPS fraud, Mrs. Rodgers refused. She presented Judge Guy with evidence of securities fraud. “How do you mediate fraud?” she asked him. He had no answer. (Please see “Judge Guy Meets Cherie Rodgers” at

    During his tenure as RPS special counsel, Mr. Lewis immediately found evidence that public officials had entered into a conspiracy with the developer to defraud bond purchasers and Spokane’s citizens. At this point, the evidence of Mr. Lewis’s preliminary findings is simply overwhelming. I believe that evidence supports the charges made by both you and former Sheriff Tony Bamonte that Spokane is the victim of continuing organized crime, with the Cowles family as the hub. (I believe the evidence also supports the charge of you and Sheriff Bamonte that this public corruption led directly to Jo Ellen Savage’s death in the RPS parking garage and continues to threaten other such tragedies.) This very evidence is why Mr. Lewis advocated taking the long-hidden truth of the RPS fraud back to the state supreme court so that the evidence could be adjudicated openly before the public. Neither Mayor Verner nor any of the other RPS fraud perpetrators ever wanted that to happen. And so Spokane remains trapped in its own private Groundhog Day of denial, avoidance and deception. This is clearly disastrous to the city’s fiscal health. It is also profoundly injurious, I believe, to its psychological health.

    Larry Shook

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 12 at 3:05 p.m.

    I too believe a good move by Mayor Verner would be to relieve both O. Yale Lewis and Gary Ceriani of their atty/client privilege so they can speak openly to the citizens of Spokane as ultimately they were their clients and paid their bill.

    The City in as much as waived Lewis’ privilege in releasing his documents that I filed a PDR for:…

    See also my case summary for a civil RICO prosecution:…

    Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

    Flag as inappropriate


    dick adams on February 12 at 4:05 p.m.

    The story regarding her blah, blah, state of the city, was VAGUE. How can it be anything else. Clandestine meetings continue, reckless spending habits continue, poor OTTO, the firefighter who shacked up in a fire station WITH A 16 YEAR OLD GIRL, has been forgotten, and he was allowed to commit the same crime in California BECAUSE nothing was done about it, thanks to Verner. I again was reminded when I received by real estate taxes a few days ago, the taxpayers who do not have tax exemptions are paying dearly for Verner et al, agreement to shaft the taxpayers for the next 30 years to pay off a huge debt to the River Park Square robbery, AND VERNER CONTINUES TO HAND OUT TAX EXEMPTIONS TO OWNERS OF MILLION DOLLAR CONDOS. Crime in Spokane continues to be above the national average in every category of crime, and the news almost daily is horrific with stabbings, fights, home invasion, and car thefts in the Lilac City. Spokane is named as one of the worst places in the country to have your car stolen. The down core allows double bottom trucks to travel on every street and avenue, trucks with loads of gravel spilling all over the place, and the law to be covered up is not enforced along with side-walk parking and NO TRUCK ROUTES. The SPD obviously has a alcohol problem with many alcoholics and nothing is done until one of Spokane`s finest gets into a accident, and yet VERNER is painting a rosy picture which the writer of the story says is VAGUE. MAYOR VERNER LACKS THE LEADERSHIP NEEDED TO RUN A CITY THE SIZE OF SPOKANE and HER PROMISES MEAN NOTHING. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WE CONTINUE TO BE THE BUTT OF JOKES FOR TALK SHOWS AS THE CITY CONTINUES TO OFFER FODDER.

    Flag as inappropriate


    dick adams on February 12 at 6:37 p.m.


    Flag as inappropriate


    Verbal on February 12 at 7:16 p.m.

    Mr. Adams – I agree with you on Mayor Verner’s lack of leadership skills, but I must question your line about “Spokane is named as one of the worst places in the country to have your car stolen.”

    Last year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau ranked Yakima at #3, but I don’t believe Spokane was on the list. Is there another ranking out there?

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 12 at 8:13 p.m.


    The answer to your question re auto thefts – Yakima, Seattle and Spokane are in the top 25 in the nation:…

    I don’t understand why we don’t have LoJack in the Spokane Region. Most cops I’ve talked to don’t know what this is.

    See LoJack home page at:

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 12 at 8:23 p.m.

    Mr. Cooley responded of which I was a recipient to an earlier email. I’m assuming this was in reply to Mr. Shook’s email copied above. I thought I would share his response:

    “I hate wasting time responding to silly emails but not responding to these rants sends the wrong message.

    In 2006 I decided to lapse my CPA certification. The certification is not a job requirement and my busy schedule made it difficult for me to meet the 120 hour continuing professional education requirement (Note: I passed all sections of the CPA Exam on my first try and learned a tremendous amount during my years in public accounting). I therefore alerted my staff I was no longer a CPA and removed the designation from my business cards, letterhead and other areas where it was used. Since then I have never used the CPA designation. Also, whenever I knew I was listed as a CPA by someone else, I immediately corrected the situation. Simple.

    That is my response. The many other wild accusations in these endless strings of conspiracy-based emails speak for themselves.

    Gavin Cooley
    City of Spokane
    Chief Financial Officer

    Mr. Shook sent this reply back:

    “Dear Gavin:

    Thank you for including me in this response. I have no idea if the lapse of your CPA license is significant. Retired economic crimes Det. Ron Wright obviously finds it suspicious, given the broad pattern of substantially documented intentional deception concerning the RPS fraud. In 35 years of investigating, and contributing to the incarceration of, white collar criminals, Det. Wright obviously developed some instincts about dealing with the criminal mind. Has he found evidence here that the lapse of, and apparently published misrepresentation of, your CPA license is part of the pattern of criminal activity he alleges in Spokane? It’s for him, not me, to explain the basis of his concern.

    In your note below, you dismiss his concern as part of “many other wild accusations in these endless strings of conspiracy-based emails [that] speak for themselves. You then include my email below that. To wit:”

    [See above]

    “If you mean to include assertions contained in my message in your reference to “many other wild accusations in these endless strings of conspiracy-based emails [that] speak for themselves,” please tell me. Please be specific about which of my assertions you consider unfounded. I will provide you and all other recipients of this email with the evidence supporting my assertions. I will welcome your response to this evidence. Thank you.

    Larry Shook”

    Flag as inappropriate


    undooly_prosecuted on February 12 at 10:15 p.m.

    How much will the deficit be after Spokane has to pay the Zehm family and pay to hide the rest of the PD’s and prosecutors blunders? House cleaning from the top to the bottom might be in order………..

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 12 at 11:16 p.m.

    Unduly prosecuted,

    This case is probably worth a few million as a wrongful death. Might add a little to the deficit but the City has a reinsurer I think which will probably kick in around $1M. Good thought but the City’s premium will probably go up though:-)

    The Spokesman Removes Postings – LOL. So you’ve noticed too. Your head should be spinning. You were robbed of cool $45M in this heist.

    Flag as inappropriate


    Daisy Minken on February 13 at 2:14 a.m.

    Mary Verner has simply mouthed the teachings of this disaster of a President. She has no leadership and has done nothing. She makes people smile. If the people knew what she’s been up to, she’d be gone in a split second. Never will be discovered because she’s never identified with anything that might spark notice of investigation. If anything goes wrong, she immediately blames a minion, covers it up or distances herself.

    Not one bit of fiscal respnsibility. She’ll continue to worry about her appearances. Not one street has been fixed. The Police are spending $4.5 million on new offices on Gardner and she just smiles. Nobody will ever asked why they get new offices and spend so much in a very depressed economy in Spokane. Not even knowing the debt is well above the $7 million advertised. It’s all hidden in private conferences despite her promise of openness.

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 13 at 12:58 p.m.

    More from Dick Adams a retired senior executive with USS Steel and knows his way around financial and bond related maters had this to say re Mr. Cooley’s comment above:

    RE, Gavin Cooley`s note, saying,”I hate wasting time responding to silly emails but not responding to these rants sends the wrong message”. etc

    Earlier this week I met with my “CPA” tax man, and before we started to find out how much I owed Uncle Sam, I was curious about who would use his name, and showing CPA after it as a title. My tax man was an excellent source to better understand what the CPA title meant. He explained how, where and when a person could use CPA after ones name. When he was done explaining and answering my questions he inquired who I was talking about and he asked for his name. When he found out I was talking about Gavin Cooley, the CFO for the city of Spokane, he was appalled. He asked me the correct spelling for Cooley and wrote his name down. My CPA tax preparer asked if something was going to be done about Cooley, using CPA after his name, which really irritated him, and he replied, something should be done. I answered him that a well respected former detective with 35 years of service and now retired planned too.

    Enclosed herewith, is the document showing Gavin Cooley, CPA, for a bragging event this week scheduled at the Spokane City club. It does not require reading the story about Cooley, but merely shows the document to click on and says it all.

    With what I found out this week, I`m wondering if the “silly emails” and “these rants” were what COOLEY was referring to re his email?

    Dick Adams

    Mr. Adams had asked me to provide the supporting documents and link to them in his email to others:

    It’s stored on my server here:…

    If you’re interested in the scrubbed webpage here’s the screen print from earlier this week:…

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 13 at 1:13 p.m.

    Former Sheriff Bamonte of Breaking Blue fame:…

    asked these questions:

    February 13, 2010

    Dear Mr. Cooley:

    I was perplexed to receive your e-mail concerning your CPA certification and don’t know your reason for sending it to me, since I don’t know you, have never met you, nor have ever corresponded with you in any manner. However, since you took the time to explain to me the reason you let your CPA certification expire, I will, as a courtesy, give you my thoughts. Incidentally, congratulations on passing all sections of the CPA exam on your first try. My wife was also a CPA (she let her certification lapse when she left the field) and also passed all sections of the CPA exam on her first try. I am proud of her for that achievement, as you are also proud for your achievement.

    Since you brought this to my attention, and as a Spokane resident and taxpayer, I will give you my thoughts: Because you are currently working in the field of the city’s accounting and financial affairs, I think it would have been in the best interest of both the city and yourself to have maintained your CPA certification. The fact that you worked hard to get it in the first place and the prestige of the designation are both important, but most importantly, I feel the education level that designation requires you to maintain is important and in the taxpayer’s best interest. My brother-in-law, William Schaeffer, is also a CPA and the CFO of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Santa Clarita, California. We get together often and I assure you he appreciates the knowledge he receives from the continuing professional education requirements necessary to maintain his CPA license. Both he and my wife, as CPAs, have taken many hours of professional education requirements, and both feel it is important to maintain the high level of education these courses offer. I have also found that, during the various professional careers I have been involved in, the educational requirements have been in the best interest of myself and those I have served. This is just my opinion, but I hope it helps. Please feel free to share this letter with your superiors in hopes they may allow you to take the time from your “busy schedule” to allow you to stay current with the laws and changes that affect your position.

    Mr. Cooley, I also appreciate your willingness to freely impart your information to someone you don’t know. With your openness in mind, I have one question I would like you to respond to in your capacity as Spokane’s chief financial officer. I am enclosing an attachment with copy of a letter I wrote to Spokane County Auditor Ralph Baker (E-110) and also an attachment I provided Mr. Baker with my letter to him (E-96). Mr. Baker did not respond to that letter, but hopefully you will.

    At this time I respectfully ask the same question of you I asked Mr. Baker: When both the sellers (Cowleses) and the purchasers (Spokane City Council members) were in complete agreement that the value of the RPS parking garage was $26 million and both the sellers and the buyers had it officially appraised by a Washington State licensed appraiser, of which they were both in agreement, why isn’t the RPS garage currently assessed at the $26 million value rather than the current assessed value of $10,628,800? I feel this is an important question in light of the city’s current financial shortcomings. To me, it appears that when the city originally purchased the RPS garage from the Cowleses there was a fraud committed, but if not, the Cowles are currently being given an illegal tax break of almost $16 million dollars on their taxable base. Also, if you are not familiar with the June 28, 2004, IRS (Department of the Treasury) report, I ask that you look it up and read it.

    Thank you in advance for your time and attention. I look forward to your response.


    Tony Bamonte

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    Ron_the_Cop on February 13 at 1:17 p.m.

    Mr. Graham and Mr. Brunt,

    I haven’t seen any coverage this breaking story in the S-R. Why? We have on the record statements by a number of people. Seems to me the S-R has a duty and responsibility to ask these probative questions of our City elected/appointed. Why must Spokane citizens have to ask these probative questions?

    Seems to me this is now newsworthy. Perhaps the S-R has something to hide?

    [Note to Mr. Pitts thank you for allowing this important thread to stand which has not been the practice of the S-R in the past]

    Flag as inappropriate


    Verbal on February 13 at 7:26 p.m.

    With all due respect, please stop spamming. If we are interested in your story, we’d have clicked on your original link and then followed from your website. Repeatedly bringing up Mr. Cooley on a story about Mayor Verner (and other stories and websites) as you are doing smacks of desperate pleas for attention rather than thoughtful fact finding and presentation.

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 13 at 10:38 p.m.


    I’m very sorry if I annoyed you and others here. I only seek the truth. This venue serves as the new public square to speak directly to the citizens of Spokane. The S-R reporters won’t or can’t report these stories. This has everything to do with the $10M deficit the Mayor Verner spoke about in her address.

    This is a structural deficit that was the result of the RPS Bail Out and the RPS Settlement Agreement. Mr. Cooley was one of the principal architects of this agreement as was Attorney Laurel Siddoway and Steve Reynolds the secretary treasurer of the Cowles Co.

    So far the S-R has failed to seek the truth and is covering for the criminal activities of its owners. If the citizens of Spokane are not informed of the truth, they cannot hold their elected/appointed governmental officials accountable for their criminal actions. There has already been one murder that was the direct result of the actions of those involved in carrying out these frauds. I’m trying to prevent any more from occurring.

    Trust me I know of what I speak. Read my professional vitae if you have any doubts:…

    Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 13 at 10:45 p.m.


    Steve Reynolds = Steve Rector

    Flag as inappropriate


    Ron_the_Cop on February 14 at 5:22 p.m.


    I may just take you up on your suggestion and just link new developments over at my server. And there has been some real barn burner emails. It’s getting a little cumbersome to keep updating here. That’s assuming Mr. Pitts (S-R online editor) is not overruled by the “powers that be” come Tuesday and this thread still stands as a public record.

    Here’s another little tidbit from Tim Connor re Mr. Cooley’s email above apparently calling Connor/Shook reporting:

    “The many other wild accusations in these endless strings of conspiracy-based emails speak for themselves.”

    Here’s the excerpt by Connor:

    Regarding Moral Hazard
    Published on November 29, 2008…

    “Now, that I don’t get. And, apparently, neither does Gavin’s boss. It was only a few months ago that the Mayor acknowledged the City’s remaining $40 million-plus indebtedness in the RPS fiasco (which, as advertised, wasn’t supposed to cost the city a penny) and said, according to the Spokesman-Review’s Jonathan Brunt: “The pay-down of the River Park Square facilities is far from over.””


    “I’ve known Gavin for years. He’s very personable, witty, and surprisingly candid at times. Years ago, before he became CFO, he approached me as I was walking up the hill to City Hall from Peaceful Valley, where I’d parked my car. He told me that, in his circles, the view was that the only two people involved in “this” who sleep well at night were “you and Larry.” “This” was the River Park Square fiasco and Larry, of course, is Larry Shook, my reporting partner at the time on the RPS investigation. I’ve written a book about RPS, “Secret Deal,” and Larry and I co-authored a second book “Under the Influence, Spokane, the Cowles Family, and River Park Square.” Both books contain reporting that won national journalism awards and while Larry and I occasionally endure general, ad hominem comments questioning our sanity, no one has seriously contested the facts in either book.”

    Det. Ron Wright (Retired)


More email exchanges with Gavin Cooley:

Dear Larry,

Thank you for your email.

Responses to questions on the Riverpark Square matter are now coordinated through the City Attorney’s Office.  

There are, however, other areas from your prior emails I would be happy to discuss.

If you are available next week I would appreciate the opportunity to meet for coffee. I am available at xxx-xxxx.


Sent from iPhone


Thanks, Gavin.

Please tell me specifically what you are wishing and willing to discuss. I repeat, if you believe there are errors in anything I have written in any context, please tell me specifically what they are so that I may correct them. If you believe I have committed errors that you are unable to address but the City Attorney’s Office is, please have that office contact me immediately with complete details. I request a written and complete record of any errors that you or the City Attorney’s Office believe I have made. I very much appreciate your assistance. For the purpose of holding myself accountable and assuming full responsibility for my work, I have copied this correspondence openly, as you see above. I have also blind copied it widely for the same purpose. You are obviously welcome to do the same.

Best wishes, Larry Shook


Dear Larry,

My invitation was simply intended to provide you with a better understanding of the factors contributing to the City’s projected 2011 budget deficit (which, is proportionately smaller than most other cities across the country).

Unfortunately, our email exchanges begin to feel more like a lesson in ‘Catch 22’ so I respectfully withdraw.


Sent from iPhone


Dear Gavin:

Again, thank you. And again, I would welcome receiving from you any written explanation that you would offer to “provide me with a better understanding of the factors contributing to the City’s projected 2011 budget deficit,” as you write below.

As I understand the “Catch 22” you refer to below, the evidence suggests to me that it is one for which you bare at least partial responsibility. When you and Cowles treasurer Steve Rector recommended that the Spokane City Council settle the RPS securities fraud claim on the disastrous terms that you did, based on the developer’s threat of bankruptcy, I believe your professional credentials suggest you should have known that was an empty threat. Indeed, when the developer tried the identical threat in response to the suit former RPS manager Bob Robideaux brought against her, a federal bankruptcy court judge not only rejected the claim, she penalized the developer for making a bad faith filing. That penalty, I am told, approached $10 million. Yet you and other Spokane officials pretended the threat had merit, allowing the the multi-million cost of the RPS fraud to be passed onto Spokane’s taxpayers. If you deny this, a wall of evidence exposes the falsity of your denial. If you admit it, you acknowledge complicity in what both retired economic crimes Det. Ron Wright and retired Sheriff Tony Bamonte charge was organized crime that led directly to the death of Jo Ellen Savage in the RPS parking garage on April 8, 2006.

I agree with you. Based on the evidence, some of which the city paid the plaintiffs $45 million for in the RPS securities fraud case, I believe you and many others do face a Catch 22 of your own creation. I believe that at some level this must be a terrible burden for all of you to live with. I sympathize with you. My sympathies for the public are greater, though, including Ms. Savage’s friends and family. Greater still is my concern that Ms. Savage’s tragedy could be repeated at any time as a direct result of the Catch 22 you refer to.

Once again, Gavin, if you are in possession of facts that refute these conclusions, I request you provide me with them immediately.

Sincerely, Larry Shook

Dear Mr. Cooley

I’m unclear just which email you were referring to in your email.  Was it Larry Shook’s or perhaps mine:

I hate wasting time responding to silly emails but not responding to these rants sends the wrong message.

In 2006 I decided to lapse my CPA certification.  The certification is not a job requirement and my busy schedule made it difficult for me to meet the 120 hour continuing professional education requirement (Note: I passed all sections of the CPA Exam on my first try and learned a tremendous amount during my years in public accounting).  I therefore alerted my staff I was no longer a CPA and removed the designation from my business cards, letterhead and other areas where it was used.  Since then I have never used the CPA designation.   Also, whenever I knew I was listed as a CPA by someone else, I immediately corrected the situation.  Simple.

That is my response.  The many other wild accusations in these endless strings of conspiracy-based emails speak for themselves.

Gavin Cooley

City of Spokane

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Cooley, I’m just a shopworn, battle weary detective of 35-years from large Southern California city that chose to retire to Spokane for it many fine attributes.  While traveling back and forth to So Cal I began listening to the old Mark Furhman Radio Show on KGA.  Over time I heard people like former Sheriff Tony Bamonte, former Councilperson Cherie Rodgers, former Mayor John Powers, former KXLY TV Reporter Tom Grant, Tim Connors, Larry Shook, Dr. Kim Thorburn, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Breean Beggs of the Center for Justice, former Mayor Dennis Hession, and the then Councilperson Mary Verner.

My awakening occurred when I heard US Attorney for the Eastern District Jim McDevitt on the show who came on to rebut what Larry Shook had alleged the previous week of his personal involvement in the RPS Bond Fraud with his former colleague Michael Ormsby at the law firme of Preston & Gates.   Once I heard the tension in McDevitt’s voice I immediately understood why no federal criminal investigation had ever got off the ground regarding the RPS Bond Fraud fiasco.  This was being covered up.  I found what these people were saying wasn’t being reported either in the Spokesman-Review.  Why?

Mr. Cooley, I’m sorry if my cynicism as an old gumshoe clouds my judgment.  First there was an interesting retiring of bonds on the Sports Arena necessary to secure new bonds for the expansion of the Convention Center.  Related to this we  have an unelected Public Facilities District Board that has taxing authority.  The much touted Kendall Yards Project fell flat on its face even though the City gave it very favorable TIFF funding without voter approval.  Not to mention the “bums rush”  the Regional Health Board who our Mayor led the charge, gave Dr. Kim Thorburn.  Dr. Thorburn was probably seen as impediment to this project by the players because of the location of the public health building.  Of course I’ve notice the unique urban redeveloped by arson that occurs in this town e.g., the District 81 Admin Building fire where Nordstroms now sits and the Jamison Building fire (AKA Zukor clothing store) where the STA Transit Plaza now sits.

I’m sure it has faded from the collective memories of most Spokanites but Spokane Fire Department Fire Capt. Hanna was killed fighting this fire at the Jamison Building.  This was an arson/murder that has no statute of limitations as the murder of Ms. Savage did.  The STA Transit Plaza was built at considerable public expense $20M and is now only appraised by the County Assessor’s Office at about 1/4 of this amount.  Sound familiar?

I tried to get the police and fire department reports on this murder case.  Since I teach forensics and crime scene investigation I thought there may be physical evidence that could be processed with new forensics techniques.  Much to my complete astonishment there were only fragmentary police reports, no fire department reports and no record of any physical evidence being retained.  Where I’m from no open murder cases especially involving on duty public safety employees simply disappear.  From the reports I’ve read this was no transient warming fire.  It was an arson set. There were significant leads regarding potential suspects that there are no supplementary reports indicating that these leads were ever followed up on.

Along the way we had the preventable death of Jo Savage in the RPS Parking Garage which was in my opinion is a First Degree Manslaughter.  Her death was the direct result of the actions/omissions of those complicit in these frauds.  What is distressing to me is our local law enforcement community all turned a blind eye to her death and did nothing.  There was no complete and thorough criminal investigation done that followed the evidence no matter where it would lead.  It’s not surprising that County Prosecutor Steve Tucker found “insufficient evidence” to file a criminal complaint.  This was because he didn’t compel such a criminal investigation to be done before he rendered his filing opinion.  More importantly we still don’t know if the RPS Parking Garage is safe for continued public occupancy because the Mayor and City Council will not ask the probative questions on behalf citizens of Spokane.

This was followed by ill-fated Northside Landfill Little League Project which was a political deal gone bad because the neighbors got wind of this play.  This action directed my attention to the Park Board and the great lease deal on the Northbank property that had all the earmarks of being RPS II.  Dare I mentioned the YMCA dilemma which the City had to dip into the “Bank of Hine” for a bridge loan?  Of course there was the AMR billing fraud?

Mr. Cooley were you referring to the collective works of Tim Connors and Larry Shook in your reference to, “these endless strings of conspiracy-based emails speak for themselves?”  This seems incongruous considering what you had to say about their reporting in the past.  See Connor’s article, “Regarding Moral Hazard.”  He said:

Now, that I don’t get. And, apparently, neither does Gavin’s boss. It was only a few months ago that the Mayor acknowledged the City’s remaining $40 million-plus indebtedness in the RPS fiasco (which, as advertised, wasn’t supposed to cost the city a penny) and said, according to the Spokesman-Review’s Jonathan Brunt: “The pay-down of the River Park Square facilities is far from over.”


I’ve known Gavin for years. He’s very personable, witty, and surprisingly candid at times. Years ago, before he became CFO, he approached me as I was walking up the hill to City Hall from Peaceful Valley, where I’d parked my car. He told me that, in his circles, the view was that the only two people involved in “this” who sleep well at night were “you and Larry.” “This” was the River Park Square fiasco and Larry, of course, is Larry Shook, my reporting partner at the time on the RPS investigation. I’ve written a book about RPS, “Secret Deal,” and Larry and I co-authored a second book “Under the Influence, Spokane, the Cowles Family, and River Park Square.” Both books contain reporting that won national journalism awards and while Larry and I occasionally endure general, ad hominem comments questioning our sanity, no one has seriously contested the facts in either book.

Sheriff Bamonte asked me to compile data regarding the actual damages that the citizens of Spokane suffered in the RPS Bond Fraud fiasco.  Dick Adams a former senior executive with USS Steel and very familiar with complex financial statements and corporate bonds ask me to go along to meet with Tim Dunivant.  Mr. Adams wanted to check on an insurance settlement from the Northside Landfill he had tracked earlier in the 1990s (See attached S-R articles).  I also have a personal interest in the Northside Landfill after the ill-fated Little League Project became an issue so I agreed to go along.

After Mr. Adams concluded his questions with Mr. Dunivant I briefly mentioned that I was doing some work on the RPS Bond fiasco.  I told him I had filed some PDRs but I was wondering if he might be able to answer some my questions later without having to file additional PDRS.  You were kind enough to oblige, “. . . just call us and we will handle your request from our office and you don`t have to bother and go through a public records request.”

This was the spirit I did email Mr. Dunivant.  Mr. Dunivant however had to refer me to Mr. Danek with my follow up questions. This is what precipitated the latest series of email with Mr. Danek.  It was after this I received information of the lapse of your CPA license.  Since you’re offering an explanation as to why you allowed your CPA license, I have several simple questions that might put to rest this latest furor.

I won’t cover here what former Sheriff Bamonte has written you about his surprise of your allowing your CPA license to expire.  I share his concerns.  Since you are an “at will” employee and could be dismissed at anytime wouldn’t it be prudent to maintain your license?  It would probably take some months before you could make up in service training and relicense.

As you explained the 120 hours of in service training was too much to include in your busy schedule and that your position doesn’t require to to have a CPA license.  Your are correct but these 120 hours only need to be completed over three years.  Is this really too much of a burden?  Besides I would fully support your attendance on City time and reimbursement for your expenses.

I realize in your emails to Larry Shook, questions re the RPS Settlement Agreement must now go to the City Attorney’s Office.  I just have a few quick questions regarding your CPA license. In the interest of transparency could you at least answer these questions:

You said you let your your license expire on 06-30-06.  Was it then that you advised the City Council and took steps to remove the usage of CPA in conjunction with your name?  Or was it later when Ms. McKereghan called this to the attention of Ms. Phister and Mr. Dalton.   And if so why did you wait so long?

Since the Treasury Department is under your direct supervision, the City’s Treasurer’s website had your name as chair of the City’s investment committee with CPA after your name?  How long has it been there?  Why wasn’t it removed after you let your license expire?  Did you order it’s removal last week?

Will the City Auditor’s position be filled anytime soon?  I see this as an important structural check against these less than ethical transactions.

At the recent Spokane Chapter Meeting of WSCPA where you were a speaker, could you please explain why CPA appeared after your name on the printed bulletin after your name?

Did you sign any documents, emails, correspondence et al with CPA after your name after your CPA license expired?

Again as Larry Shook, I sympathize with your position and your colleagues but had any of those with professional licenses acted based on their professional ethics and state and federal law, the RPS Bond Fraud, the subsequent fraud with the RPS Settlement Agreement and the death of Jo Savage would have never occurred and the citizens of Spokane would not be on the limb for $45M.


Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

Professional Vitae


Detective Wright:

Thank you for sharing this with me. It’s a valuable public record of a retired criminal investigator attempting to make sense of Spokane’s extraordinary public corruption. Whether this community can ever heal itself of its serious affliction will depend, I believe, on the involvement of its citizens. With this correspondence you have given the public an opportunity to help itself, if it wants to. If it chooses not to act, it cannot consider itself an innocent victim. At the very least, every recipient of this email can forward it to others to make them aware of your concerns about the evidence you cite.

Larry Shook


Dear Mr. Wright,

Thank you for your email (below) forwarded to me this morning by Mr. Shook.   I am responding to you directly to avoid a repeat of individuals on Mr. Shook’s distribution list later questioning why I am sharing information with them unsolicited.

The answers to your various questions (see below) regarding my prior certification are generally contained in my February 5th email regarding the same.   However, in the interest of clarity, the following is provided:

I removed all known references to CPA at the time I lapsed my license, and I immediately alerted my staff.  Inasmuch as CPA’s not working for public accounting firms regularly lapse their licenses later in their careers, I did not deem alerts beyond my staff necessary.  Naturally, I responded to the recipients of Donna McKereghan’s email in response to the questions she had raised.

The reference on the Treasurer’s website was unknown to me until you alerted me (thank you!) and I therefore moved immediately to correct the error as per the following emails:



I’m sorry about the mistake.  I do remember you mentioning that you had not maintained your standing as a CPA.  However, I forgot to update the Treasurer’s website.


Ellen Dolan

Ellen Dolan, CFA

City Treasurer/Investment Officer

From: Cooley, Gavin
Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 5:14 PM
To: Dolan, Ellen
Cc: Pfister, Terri; Cooley, Gavin; Williams, Laura; ‘
Subject: Correction needed: remove “CPA” designation

Hi Ellen,

It has been brought to my attention that I am listed as a CPA on the City’s webpage for the Investment Committee.  Please note that  I have not maintained my standing as a CPA and since becoming inactive I have openly requested that the designation be removed from my business cards, letterhead and all other known displays.  Accordingly, please have the aforementioned CPA designation immediately removed from the City’s webpage.

Thank you,


As for the Spokane Chapter Meeting at which I spoke last week, I was similarly was unaware I had been listed as a CPA.  I had previously sent a bio that did not list me as a CPA and I had not seen the brochure. Again, you alerted me and I immediately moved to correct the situation as per the following emails that were sent addressing the error:

I assume that Sue Megaard was unaware of that fact.  Thank you for clarifying.

The bio you submitted did not list you as a CPA.


>>> “Cooley, Gavin” <> 2/9/2010 9:26 AM >>>

Hi Bob,

It was brought to my attention yesterday that I was listed as a CPA on the brochure for tomorrow’s Clair Daniels Symposium.  In fact, my license has been inactive for several years so I will make a brief announcement at the front end of my comments tomorrow to assure we do not mislead anyone in attendance.  You may want to alert organizers of the event.

Thank you,


 Regarding the City Auditor, the City Council, in conjunction with the Audit Committee, is solely responsible for that position.   As a practical matter, I strongly believe the position potentially adds tremendous value to the City organization and citizens.

The views of citizens are important and, clearly, you and others believe your City’s CFO should maintain his CPA certification.  In that regard, it really doesn’t matter that, in my opinion, my average day at the office contains more relevant education than the same number of hours in a CPE course.  Accordingly, I will give proper consideration to regaining my certification.

At the end of your email you state:

“Again as Larry Shook, I sympathize with your position and your colleagues but had any of those with professional licenses acted based on their professional ethics and state and federal law, the RPS Bond Fraud, the subsequent fraud with the RPS Settlement Agreement and the death of Jo Savage would have never occurred and the citizens of Spokane would not be on the limb for $45M.”

Everyone has opinions and you have a right to yours.  For my part, I know beyond the smallest doubt, that this assertion is untrue and fundamentally misguided.  I was there.  Despite the assertions of Mr. Shook and others, I rest very easy in my knowledge that I absolutely acted in accordance with the highest ethical standards and in the best interests of the Citizens of our community.

Thank you for providing information on your background and move to Spokane.  You are obviously passionate about the health and welfare of your adopted community and I respect that.


Gavin Cooley


Dear Mr. Cooley,

Thanks for your response to my questions.  I might add you should indeed meet for coffee with former Sheriff Bamonte.

I have only one follow up question with several parts.

You say you were unaware of the Treasurer’s webpage with the misleading reference to you having a CPA.  You said that when you were notified by me of this error you acted to immediately remove it.  This was an appropriate action to take.

My question is as follows.  You say I alerted you.  By this statement I’m assuming you did not receive notification by the WA State Board of Accountancy after my filing of my complaint on Monday, February 8, 2010.  Is this true?

I did not reveal my complaint to the City of Spokane until Tuesday, February 9, 2010, after I discovered in the afternoon this page had been “scubbed.”  It was at this time I wrote Mr. Danek and disclosed my substance of my complaint.  I did partially disclosed my actions to Ms. Pfister and Ms. Farnsworth on Monday because of my concern that City records were in danger of being destroyed and asked that they take appropriate measures to protect the records.  There was a cryptic reference by Mr. Adams in an S-R article thread by Mr. Brunt on the unfilled City Auditor position, however there was no mention of the substance of my complaint.

Could you please clarify again how you received notice of the error on the City’s webpage?  Did your notification come by way of Ms. Pfister or Ms. Farnsworth?

Again thank you for your kind reply.  Transparency in such matters in the City of Spokane in my opinion has been the direct cause of these financial disasters that must be now borne by the citizens of Spokane and the structural deficit the City is now facing.  And I also concur re the importance of filling the City Auditor position with all do haste.


Det. Ron Wright (Retired)


Councilman Bob Apple responds to email by Dick Adams.  Followed by a comment from Larry Shook:

State Board of Accountancy

You may find this email exchange of use in your investigation.  Councilman Bob Apple is a sitting City of Spokane Councilmember perhaps worth interviewing in the course of your investigation.  That is if you proceed beyond the simple misuse of the term CPA and seek to hold Cooley professional responsible for his previous actions that probably were the real reasons why he let his CPA license lapse.  If you do you may also wish to consider Steven Rector too.  Unfortunately the WSBA did not pursue aggressively the complaint in what Attorney Laurel Siddoway also did in representing the citizens of Spokane in the RPS Settlement Agreement.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Larry Shook <>
Date: Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 8:45 AM
Subject: Councilman Bob Apple on Spokane CFO Gavin Cooley
To: Larry Shook <>
Cc: “Cooley, Gavin” <>, “Verner, Mary” <>,

Dear All:


Retired U.S. Steel executive Dick Adams has been one of Spokane’s most tireless budget hawks for years. Mr. Adams is extremely critical of the role played by Spokane C.F.O. Gavin Cooley in the city’s budget crisis and the public corruption associated with it. He recently exchanged emails with Councilman Bob Apple on this subject. Councilman Apple’s response, below, suggests that he shares at least some of Mr. Adams’s views.

Allegations have been made for years about the pivotal role played by key Spokane public servants in what both retired Det. Ron Wright and retired Sheriff Tony Bamonte allege is the continuing organized criminal enterprise that victimizes Spokane. O. Yale Lewis, Spokane’s first special counsel concerning what emerged as the River Park Square federal securities fraud, immediately found evidence of this very pattern when he signaled in court filings that he intended to investigate whether there had been a “civil conspiracy to improperly divert public money for private purpose” between public officials and the RPS developer. We now know that Mr. Lewis never got a chance to pursue that evidence. We know that the developer mounted a secret campaign to remove Mr. Lewis’s client, former Mayor John Talbott from office. (Please see the article “How a publishing heiress went after an uncooperative mayor at We also know that this publishing heiress’s newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, was used to commit actual malice against Mayor Talbott by twice branding him in print as a “civic terrorist.” (Please see the story, “All in the Family” aw  Mayor Talbott’s alleged act of terrorism was attempting to expose what the evidence shows was a $23 million federal fraud that served as the cornerstone of what the IRS suggested was the RPS fraud. (Please “Inside Job” and “The Casino was Rigged” at

What Councilman Apple below refers to as “dirt” is presumably the broad pattern of corruption that Det. Wright and Sheriff Bamonte say proves the existence of organized crime in Spokane. It is this organized crime, they say, that caused the death of Jo Ellen Savage in the RPS parking garage on 4/8/06. (Please see “Death by Parking” and “Deathtrap” at Sheriff Bamonte alleges that Ms. Savage’s death was uncharged first-degree manslaughter. “That means Savage was murdered,” says  Bamonte,the retired sheriff credited in the book, Breaking Blue, for solving the oldest open murder case in U.S. history.   Presumably, the “dirt” referred to by Councilman Apple is the same evidence of corruption that, according to Spokesman-
reporters, left a permanent stench, both in the paper’s newsroom and the Spokane community, because of the paper’s poor reporting of the RPS scandal and Spokane’s continuing toleration of the chronic public corruption that caused it. As the fourth anniversary of Ms. Savage’s death approaches, these facts, I believe, are worth remembering by everyone who longs to see Spokane become a health community.


Larry Shook



Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2010 00:16:38 -0800
Dick Adams:Taxes, such as property taxes that the voters have passed most often and at least had a say or well until last year when those outgoing hacks, jacked up those utilities.  It is frustrating when you want to encourage building that results in more jobs and revenue so that you will not have to directly pay an increase but right now the economy just isn’t working so, the new hacks want to increase taxes.  I’m also feeling that unreasonable large School Bond but the voters said OK and I’m happy the voters said the same for Streets and Parks but it is going to be tough this year with; EMS, Fire Bond and some Kids Initiative.  Honestly, I’m just happy the voters get to decide some because staff and council are looking at fees, fines and anything else that can be imposed by those you have chosen.As for Cooley well I’ve been expecting the last three Mayors to make a change however he has become to well aligned with the self professed power brokers and the dirt has been shared for his salvation.  Worse, he is only one of a wealth of the problems that have resulted in unbelievable pay increases for upper management and they all work hard only at covering the tracks but I still point occasionally such the Fire Chief receiving $225 Thousand annually now, in wages and benefits.  When I was in Olympia, visiting last month I was told we need to find more money for programs from republicans and try to hold the line from democrats so when I got done shaking my head I, was happy to get home.The fact is we are looking at a $10 Million shortfall and this Council cannot decide whether to accept $5 Million from Conservation Futures public funds already charged you or make the estimated shortfall $15 Million.  As you can guess I’m shaking my head here and know if we do not act now to curb the problem it will be unmanageable by August like it was the first year I was on the Council and well, they just won’t listen.  You see, I now know what you must understand and that is that they really do believe your pockets are endless, really unfortunate huh.Bob Apple


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