Ron T. Cop addressed the Spokane City Council on February 23, 2009.  See my formal demand letter for the immediate inspection of the RPS parking garage.  I was reading from a prepared statement but Council President Shogun called time before I could finish the last paragraph.

UPDATE – Challenge to the publisher of the Spokemans-Review

Dear Mr. Cowles,

I appeared before the Spokane City Council on Feb 23, 2009.  I addressed the Council regarding my demand for the immediate inspection of the RPS parking garage as an imminent public hazard because of an ongoing series of alleged illegal acts by public officials e.g, non inspection of the RPS parking garage expansion and after retrofits after the death of Jo Savage.  It is my profession opinion that the proximate cause of Jo Savage’s death was the culmination of these illegal acts which I believe the facts and circumstances arise to the level of a 1st Degree Manslaughter under Washington state law, .

I provided at the Council meeting to your City Government Reporter Jonathan Brunt, who BTW is an excellent journalist, with copies of my formal demand, prepared statement I submitted to Council as well as a DVD copy of Larry’s Shook’s major investigative report that was released last week.  This video and report can be viewed here:

I find it interesting that Brunt’s last story in the S-R regarding the very damning sworn statement from Rex Franklin was carried off the lead page of the local section and was given a nondescript headline.  Was this a case of burying the lede? I also find it interesting that this story was not run by the AP even though the somewhat related story by Jim Camden and Bill Morlin of the nomination of Mike Ormsby to US Atty of the Eastern District of WA was released to the AP wire service.  As an aside in my opinion Ormsby has more culpability in the RPS bond fraud than Jim McDevitt.  So far the S-R has been mum regarding Shook’s report.

I’m sure your are aware of my professional  opinion regarding the “under reporting” of the RPS story et al by the Spokesman-Review:

“This is a very unique situation where you have a newspaper that is an instrumentality of criminal activity,” says Wright. “The principals in Spokane’s organized criminal enterprise, the Cowles family, use their newspaper to control public opinion and deflect the hue and cry [that would result] from the public if they were informed.”

Wright reels off a series of other Camas stories that further support his allegations. “Look at ‘Breaking the News’” he says. “It shows developer Betsy Cowles editing a Spokesman-Review story for the purpose of deceiving the public about the true costs of the River Park Square garage.”

Another piece “shows that the city’s own bond counsel was advising the Spokesman-Review publisher how to spin the story about the securities fraud case and that ‘He is very, very concerned that his handprints are not on any of these ideas.’”

. . . “I believe based on my training, education, and investigative experience that these [facts Wright presented] are part of an ongoing criminal enterprise/conspiracy in Spokane. There is group of individuals [who] at different times have acted individually and/or in concert together to commit criminal acts with the knowledge and approval of this group headed by the Cowles Co. This criminal enterprise/conspiracy has successfully plundered the public treasury of $100 millions of dollars [sic] through successive quasi public/private projects in Spokane.”

. . . That question goes to the second reason Wright says he planted the seed of RICO: he wanted to telegraph his own plans. He quotes from the Civil Recourse section of RICO under USC 1962: “Section 1964 (c) permits any person whose property or business has been injured by a RICO violation to recover treble damages, plus costs of the suit and reasonable attorneys’ fees.”

“I have now documented that I have made multiple requests of law enforcement and government officials to do their jobs and properly investigate the evidence of RPS-related crime that I have provided them,” says Wright. “I’ll give them a chance to do their jobs. Because of the statute of limitations on Savage’s death, they don’t have much time left. If they don’t do their jobs, I intend to bring a civil RICO action against the perpetrators of River Park Square, which includes every complicit public official. I’m now in the process of searching for representation from a major class-action law firm.”

My opinion is based on speaking with former City Councilperson Cherie Rodgers, Tim Connor, Larry Shook, former Sheriff Tony Bamonte, former Mayor John Talbott, KXLY Station Manager Steve Herling, Councilpersons Bob Apple and Steve Corker, and many others.  I have reviewed the Camas Magazine reporting and documents that stand alone on their face as direct evidence of the RPS bond fraud by this ongoing criminal enterprise and conspiracy.  I read the IRS ruling disallowing the tax-exempt status of the first RPS bonds as reported by Camas Magazine in “The Casino was Rigged.”  I should note that the IRS in its ruling relied on Camas Magazine reporting and its documentation. I have reviewed the Fancher Report that was written in the 70’s that chronicles the Cowles Co dynasty in Spokane over the last one hundred years. I have also reviewed the “Joint Omnibus Statement” prepared by the RPS bondholders’ attorney Gary Ceriani.  I filed a PDR with the City of Spokane for what are known collectively as the “O. Yale Lewis documents” and have read them.  I have read Larry Shook’s reporting and documentation in, Girl from Hot Springs, which chronicles the death of Jo Savage in the RPS Parking Garage.

I have since filed a demand for a criminal investigation re the alleged non inspection of the RPS parking garage with Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick . . .

Mr. Cowles the MSM business paradigm is going in the tank.  The MSM no longer exclusively controls the flow of information with the advent of the Internet and the new media/alternative media.  The stock and trade of both the new and old media is what’s it always has been – CREDIBILITY, value, predictability, reliability, and usefulness in one’s own daily life.  The new medium of expression is essentially free.  No longer are large capital expenditures necessary e.g., printing presses and TV/radio transmitters to disseminate news, information, and thoughts of the day.

Mr. Cowles in my experience as a working police detection and president of a large police officers’ association dealing with local political and police beat reporters daily, this story involving potential political corruption at the highest level of local government e.g., the alleged illegal order by former City Manager Pupo to not inspect the RPS parking garage, would be either page one above the fold or at least above the fold on the local section.  Mr. Cowles just like the Madoff $50B Ponzi scheme, this story will eventually break.   Even though the SEC had multiple warnings over some ten years and sat by like a paper tiger, this story and the truth finally emerged.

Mr. Cowles if I’ve misstated the facts in anyway please correct me where I’m in error and I will immediately issue a correction and apology to those receiving this email.  However please don’t marginalize me as Steve Smith former S-R editor did; recklessly impugning my character as well as former Sheriff Bamonte, Larry Shook, and Tim Connor as loons, wackos, little green men et al.

Personally I will not park in the RPS parking garage and neither will my wife. Mr. Cowles will the S-R be reporting this story?  If not, why?


Det. Ron Wright (Retired)


My followup email to Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick re my formal demand for a criminal investigation as to why former Spokane City Manager Pupo ordered that the RPS parking garage expansion would not be inspected as alleged by two former city officials:

Dear Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick,

In my last email to you I demanded a formal investigation into the allegation by two former City of Spokane employees that former City Manger Bill Pupo ordered that there would be no inspection of the RPS garage during its renovation and expansion at the behest of Betsy Cowles the owner/developer.   This order if true would be highly unusual for any public official charged with building inspection.  This goes against all reason why the state empowers cities and counties to inspect buildings and other structures to issue certificates of occupancy to protect the public safety.

There are several potential law violations here.  Obviously there is probable cause to believe that Mr. Pupo received some inducement or other benefit that caused him to fail to performing an official act that he was required to do:

RCW 9A.80.010

Official misconduct.

(1) A public servant is guilty of official misconduct if, with intent to obtain a benefit or to deprive another person of a lawful right or privilege:

(a) He intentionally commits an unauthorized act under color of law; or

(b) He intentionally refrains from performing a duty imposed upon him by law.

(2) Official misconduct is a gross misdemeanor.

and more seriously based on the ongoing criminal enterprise/nature that surrounds the RPS bond fraud – bribery:

RCW 9A.68.010



(1) A person is guilty of bribery if:

(a) With the intent to secure a particular result in a particular matter involving the exercise of the public servant’s vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion, or other action in his official capacity, he offers, confers, or agrees to confer any pecuniary benefit upon such public servant; or

(b) Being a public servant, he requests, accepts, or agrees to accept any pecuniary benefit pursuant to an agreement or understanding that his vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion, or other action as a public servant will be used to secure or attempt to secure a particular result in a particular matter.

(2) It is no defense to a prosecution under this section that the public servant sought to be influenced was not qualified to act in the desired way, whether because he had not yet assumed office, lacked jurisdiction, or for any other reason.

(3) Bribery is a class B felony.


RCW 9A.68.050

Trading in special influence.


(1) A person is guilty of trading in special influence if:

(a) He offers, confers, or agrees to confer any pecuniary benefit upon another person pursuant to an agreement or understanding that such other person will offer or confer a benefit upon a public servant or procure another to do so with intent thereby to secure or attempt to secure a particular result in a particular matter; or

(b) He requests, accepts, or agrees to accept any pecuniary benefit pursuant to an agreement or understanding that he will offer or confer a benefit upon a public servant or procure another to do so with intent thereby to secure or attempt to secure a particular result in a particular matter.

(2) Trading in special influence is a class C felony.


All three are offenses fall that fall within the definition of “criminal profiteering” under the “Criminal Profiteering Act” as defined in Chapter 9A.82 RCW.  In my opinion the failure to conduct onsight inspections of the RPS parking garage directly resulted in the later death of Ms. Jo Savage.  I believe the facts and circumstances surrounding her death amount to a 1st Degree Manslaughter RCW 9A.32.50.  Unfortunately this class of homicide is not included in the definition of “criminal profiteering.

I have yet to hear back from you on the progress of your investigation.  Is there a police report number assigned to my complaint?  If not why?  Do I need to physically come into your offices to file a formal complaint?

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)


S-R Reporter Jonathan Brunt has now filed this story re the demand for an immediate inspection of the RPS parking garage.  Be sure to read the comments posted re this story.  Dennis Berringer is strongly sticking by his story.  Berringer is strongly sticking by his story.  Nick Dragisich as quoted in Brunt’s story s backing off on his earlier confirmation he gave to Shook back before the Savage death.


The “inspection/non inspection” of the RPS parking garage is really only a “red herring” to confuse the facts and circumstances surrounding Savage manslaughter death.  See this discussion I had with the attorney that represented the Savage family in their civil action against the owners of the parking garage.

The following comments were sent to both Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick re this issues:

 FYI – Re spandrels “as built” meeting building code standards as alleged by the Cowles is a red herring.  Bottom line they had knowledge these barriers were failing many times in the same manner that killed Savage.  There are now two depo’s describing similar incidents however the cars hung on their undercarriage and did not go over.  The Cowles knew and did nothing for FIFTEEN years for economic reasons.  From the bond fraud and Franklin statements, re fully depreciating the garage and keeping two sets of books, it is very evident that Cowles were going to off load this accumulating liability in the RPS garage  onto the City.  This backfired when title to the garage was passed back to them in the RPS “baikout”. Yes, witness statements as of right now will only get Jim Cowles.  I would use a grand jury to get testimony to link Stacey and Betsy Cowles having the same knowledge and failing to act e.g., Bill Pupo.

[Reply to Savage’s attorney]

Thx for your reply and confirmation of my assessment.


On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 4:08 PM


I think you have their contention (WJE–Cowles).  Obviously, that accepts their assumptions about the underlying strength of the concrete.



From: rocketsbrain
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 4:00 PM
Subject: Re discussion of RPS barriers, design, and placement of rebar.

Just so that I’m clear re our panel discussion.  I’m reading from WJE final report 07-18-06. The “as designed” specs for maximum design load require the rebar to be installed at a depth of 3″ from the inside surface.  From what we discussed the rebar location is critical and the optimum distance from the neutral or center of the panel is towards the outside surface of the panel.  I’m guessing this distance should be 3″ from the inside surface of the nominal 5″ panel width.  The failed panel in the Savage death the average depth was 3.28″.  WJE using their Ferroscan scanning of the actual rebar depth found the average depth of panels to be 3.45″.  From the preliminary WJE report of 05-12-06 you mentioned as you note in this report under “Conclusions and Discussion” the placement of the rebar away from the neutral axis results in a loss of capacity of 52 percent but however would still resist the design live load of 6000 pounds as required by the current 2003 IBC.  So what is the optimum depth from the inside surface?

I find it laughable that they are quibbling re the early 1970s vintage panels only have to withstand gravity and wind loading and not crashes by cars.  Many of these 1970’s panels from the south side of the structure were recycled into the expansion.  I also find it interesting the WJE was finding fault with Hinzman re their analysis of the panel loading.  However Hinzman correctly though pointed out the elephant standing in the room – the barriers were failing with regularity whether they met standard or not.  They made the common sense recommendation to remedy the danger would be to install cables so that vehicles would not impact the barriers.  According to Franklin they did not follow through on this recommendation for economic reasons.  WJE glosses over the owner’s knowledge and attendant liability saying without intrusive detection methods there was no way for the owners to know the barriers “as built” were anything less than the “as designed” standard.  The bottom line is that the standard was not preventing the failure of the barriers.  I think Eugster’s observation [See attached letter] is salient re the definition of what a “vehicle barrier” as intended in the IBC as opposed to this cantilevered design of the RPS barriers is why while testing to standard the RPS barriers fail with regularity when struck by vehicles.

All I have to say is DAH – the standard is meaningless if the barriers are failing as Franklin states or they are stretching the standard to fit this cantilevered design.   Franklin confirms at least rescuing the occupants of one vehicle hanging over the edge and now we have another vehicle hanging in a similar manner in 1999 based on the new depo I was not aware. My speculation is that longer wheeled based vehicle will high center and become stuck on their frame.  Unfortunately in Ms. Savage’s case a short wheeled base car will not be so fortunate and will be pulled over.

How much notice does the owner need!

[Docs and engineering reports mentioned above can be found here:

or here: ]