I would encourage all to thoroughly read investigative reporter Larry Shook’s riveting new blog post:
Read Shook’s reporting first and then you can read my comments below.
Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
Spokane, WA, Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick is failing to investigate the organized criminal activities of Spokane’s powerful Cowles family in return for favorable coverage in the media dynasty’s press, charges a famous ex-sheriff.
Among other things, former Sheriff Tony Bamonte finds evidence that a massive property assessment fraud costing Spokane County property owners tens of millions of dollars appears to be underway. Bamonte’s research suggests that Cowles family members may be primary beneficiaries. “When you give some property owners a break, you have to make other property owners pick up the difference in order to meet the county’s budget,” says former Spokane County appraiser Debi Mason. Mason recently blew the whistle on $20 million worth of fraud she found in her single assigned area in the county assessor’s office. Mason says all three Spokane County Commissioners are ignoring the crisis in the county assessor’s office, and she supports Sheriff Bamonte’s call for a grand jury investigation.
1915 Spokane Press cartoon
Kirkpatrick illegally refused to investigate evidence of the assessor fraud, charges Bamonte, just as she refused to investigate evidence that public corruption revolving around the Cowles family caused the first-degree manslaughter death of a patron in the downtown Spokane shopping mall owned by the Cowleses. It’s part of an organized criminal enterprise that has gripped Washington’s second-largest city for more than a century, charges Bamonte, one of the most distinguished policemen of his generation.
Bamonte then and now
Does that make Chief Kirkpatrick the most dangerous cop in America? Read a new blog post about the situation here and judge for yourself.
I only played a very small role in Sheriff Bamonte’s latest investigation of Spokane County’s Assessor Ralph Baker alleged preferential property tax assessments. I am acutely aware though of the cover up of the first-degree manslaughter death of Jo Savage at the hands of the Cowleses in the River Park Square Parking Garage by all segments of our law enforcement community with the exception of the Washington State Patrol.
All law enforcement agencies involved in the Savage investigation have turned a blind eye to her death. Why?
They all failed to do and or compel the complete and the thorough criminal investigation that was necessary that followed the evidence wherever it would lead to its logical conclusion. County Prosecutor Steve Tucker’s decision not to file any criminal charges in the Savage death was the crowning blow and culmination of a long series of failures by law enforcement professionals that have abrogated their sworn duty to the citizens of Spokane. See my criminal complaint I filed with Governor Chris Gregoire re Prosecutor Tucker’s rendering of criminal assistance (See Evidence Item RW 22 Criminal complaint of 05-05-09 ).
As a former police union president, I’m not hearing that the Police Guild was at all disputing Chief Kirkpatrick’s discipline in certain high profile cases. The Guild President stated on the Fitzsimmons Radio Show, they have no issue with and welcomed the investigation of critical incidents (Officer involved death of another) by outside law enforcement agencies. In my opinion the Police Guild has some legitimate issues with Chief Kirkpatrick regarding her not following well established rules/procedures in disciplining officers. This has been costly to Spokane taxpayers. These significant issues have all but been lost in the spinning of the public narrative on the Guild’s recent vote of no confidence story by the Spokesman-Review. Why? Since when is an election won by a majority of all potential voters and not just those who actually voted? Sheriff Bamonte believes this preferential treatment of Chief Kirkpatrick by the S-R is a pay back for her aiding in the burying of the Savage case and Cowleses potential criminal involvement from public srutiny.
I concur with Sheriff Bamonte’s findings as reported by Larry Shook. Chief Kirkpatrick’s one foot in and one foot out the door of Spokane is both unfair to the rank and file of Spokane PD and the citizens of Spokane. Chief Kirkpatrick has besmirched the members of Spokane PD as a distraction from her own questionable professional actions. The Spokane PD and the Police Guild have substantial issues regarding the trust of the public. The Police Guild most assuredly could have handled this vote better. The S-R has tried to paint the Guild as as whiners and snivelers. In so doing the S-R is laying down a smoke screen to conceal more substantive issues of governmental corruption at the highest levels as led by the Cowleses.
I join too in calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor and the impanelment of a state grand jury under existing WA State Law as I outlined in my previous criminal complaint to Governor Christine Gregoire and or the impanelment of a federal grand jury. I too have met with Ombudsman Tim Burns and am in the process of filing a formal complaint regarding the Spokane PD’s handling of the Savage manslaughter investigation.
The federal prosecutors chose not to impanel a federal grand jury in their review/investigation of the RPS Bond Frauds et al. They could have chosen to investigate the Savage manslaughter case an unindicted state offense as one of their required predicate offenses to establish the existence of a criminal enterprise in filing a federal criminal RICO case. The cause of her death is very much entwined in the RPS Bond Frauds.
Now we are learning that initial statements and reports do not reflect the truth - Asst. Chief Nicks and his accounts to the media. There remain issues of proper police policy, procedure and training that involve the police administration that are not being discussed. Are they being dealt with so this doesn’t happen again? Is police administration be held accountable or are we simply making Ofc. Thompson the scapegoat for a failure of management.?
Why did the federal prosecutors choose to impanel a grand jury in the Otto Zehm Case and not in the RPS et al matters?
While Spokane citizens are righteously outraged by the death of Otto Zehm at the hands of Spokane PD, the should be similarly outraged at the death of Jo Ellen Savage and cover up too. The Zehm and Savage deaths are only symptomatic of a much deeper and darker problem - the dysfunctional Spokane government that has been so thoroughly corrupted by an ongoing criminal enterprise.
As I conclude in my recent report in support of bringing of a federal civil RICO prosecution, “RPS Bond Frauds and Jo Savage Manslaughter RICO Case” and “RPS Table of Evidence“:
This is the very corrosive impact organized crime has on government. 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. This is no appeasing of organized crime. It must be thoroughly destroyed.
The Cowles Co, the developer of RPS et al., in my opinion by a clear pattern and practice of ongoing criminal activity, is a criminal enterprise as defined in the Federal RICO Act (See, “Causes of action for RICO prosecution” E-RW27). This criminal enterprise has systemically co-opted/corrupted the City of Spokane government. . .
I find it detestable and contemptuous that my colleagues in the law enforcement/prosecutorial community at all levels have failed to perform their sworn duties on behalf have the public especially with regard to the Savage manslaughter case.
And in my concluding statement:
The people have been repeatedly victimized by this criminal enterprise - this is organized crime. Organized crime cannot be appeased but must be destroyed because of its corrosive impact on government. The citizens of Spokane and the family of Jo Savage have a fundamental right to ensure that justice is served when their political/ governmental law enforcement bodies and decision makers because of their systemic co-option/ corruption can’t or won’t act to protect them from criminal victimization and from imminent public hazards.
In our legal system the law is of, for and by the People – NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.
I voted for Mayor Mary Verner in the last election as I believed she would bring about the change that is so desperately needed in Spokane government. I was wrong as Shook quotes Sheriff Bamonte in his earlier piece, “American Serbia,” Mayor Vener turned her back on the people who elected her. So far Mayor Verner has been unwilling to confront the insidious influence that the Cowles Co. has on Spokane government. In the RPS frauds alone the Spokane taxpayers were robbed of $87.5 million dollars.
In a recent S-R article thread on the death of Otto Zehm I posted a “punch list” of things that Mayor Verner has the authority/power to do immediately or can use her bully pulpit to lobby for that would be helpful. I would encourage all to email Mayor Verner and demand that she do so:
Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
Riverside PD, CA
Masters of Administration, University of California, Riverside, CA
BA Political Science, Cal State University, Fullerton, CA (With Honors)
AA Administration of Justice, Riverside Community College, Riverside, CA (With Distinction)
Riverside Sheriff’s Academy - graduated academically No. 1
Past two-term President Riverside Police Officers’ Assn, Riverside, CA
Former planning commissioner City of Grand Terrace, CA
Past multi-term president of a CA statewide investigators’ association.
Instructor in criminal justice, ITT Technical Institute (Spokane Valley) - Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation, Controversial Issues in Law Enforcement and Community Oriented Policing
Professional Vitae with significant case histories of complex criminal cases worked