I sent this letter to S-R Editor Steve Smith after he banned me from all S-R Blogs that I previously posted here.

I intended to post this letter sooner.

Ron the Cop


Certified US Mail

April 11, 2008

Steve Smith, Editor
999 West Riverside Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201

Re: Your email of April 8, 2008

Dear Mr. Smith:

If your were referring to my recent email to S-R Reporter Jonathan Brunt regarding the STA Transit Plaza and the Zukor Building arson/murder fires, I meant what I said, “ . . . if the shoe fits – wear it.”

Mind you Downtown Spokane can go many years without having three and four alarm structure fires. And yet circa 1980 there were several (See S-R article). Of special note was the District 81 School Adm Bldg arson fire. The Cowles Co real estate firm purchased shortly after this property. The new Nordstroms is now located on this property. The District 81 administration was relocated to another Cowles Co building downtown.

Another noteworthy arson fire was the Zukor Bldg right where the STA Transit Plaza now sits. There’s an interesting civil suit between the owners of the Zukor Bldg and their fire insurer that’s worth a read (See attached PDF). Tragically there was a fire captain killed in fighting this fire. An arson murder has no statute of limitation. If the feds are seriously digging into dirt in Spokane now that US Attorney McDevitt has recused himself, I’d be sweating a little. In my professional experience there are no coincidences in criminal conspiracies. Of course this is my opinion.

Investigative reporters and criminal investigators share many common tools and techniques. In one way we differ is the manner we pose probative questions to potential witnesses and suspects. We all seek the truth and ultimately serve the public. I won’t restate my operating hypothesis outlined in the Brunt email but I will say from my review of the Camas Magazine documents there is a clear pattern and practice in a series of public/private projects in Downtown Spokane where “tainted” public financing was used to enrich the pockets of a few individuals at the expense of the public. Based on my training, education, and investigative experience this is an ongoing criminal enterprise where individuals at different times have acted together in concert to commit criminal acts and/or individually carried out with the knowledge and approval of this group. This by definition, Mr. Smith, is a criminal conspiracy.

In my review of the circumstances and evidence I believe there is reasonable cause to believe a similar MO is apparent in the STA Transit Plaza Project. I don’t know who burned out whom in the Zukor Building arson fire or in the District 81 Building arson fire but some of the same individuals clearly economically benefited from these fires. Generally if anyone aides, abets the principals in the commission of these acts, with criminal knowledge personally benefits, conceals information and/or impedes the investigation is criminally liable. As a criminal investigator I most assuredly would be asking probative questions to seek the truth. I would in a heartbeat use as a “hammer” as any cop would who wasn’t green behind the ears, that Captain Hanna was killed fighting the Zukor Building fire. I would make it very clear this was an arson/murder fire and further ANY involvement could bring criminal liability for murder under the general felony/murder rule. This applies as well to the Savage death in the RPS Parking Garage that both former Sheriff Bamonte and I believe was a negligent homicide arising to the level of a first-degree manslaughter in Washington.

Mr. Smith marginalize if you wish the collective information and work of Tim Connor, Larry Shook, former Sheriff Tony Bamonte, former Councilperson Cherie Rodgers, Tom Grant, Mark Fuhrman, and a long list of others. And now you’ve chosen to marginalize me. For my entire law enforcement career I have been involved in the investigation and prosecution of complex criminal fraud conspiracies. I have included my updated bio and this summary of my more significant investigations. I would invite all to read and decide based on my education, training, and experience as to my credibility. As I said in the Brunt email it is my professional opinion that the collective work of these individuals stands alone on its face. This information should warrant the immediate impanelment of a federal grand jury to compel testimony of reluctant witnesses who either through fear, intimidation and/or complicity would not freely come forward to unravel this Gordian knot. Perhaps since US Attorney Jim McDevitt has now recused himself this process will go forward. I should note McDevitt’s recusal was the direct result of the Mark Fuhrman Radio Show and not from anything in the pages of the S-R.

Mr. Smith marginalizing the messengers is a ploy often used by attorneys when the facts do not support their case to “blow smoke” to confuse the jury. This is the trap that Mark Fuhrman fell into laid by F. Lee Bailey in the OJ Simpson murder trial. If you dispute any information in this collective work, please do enlightened and inform the citizens of Spokane. You are in “check” Mr. Smith. The question is and remains as I challenged in my email to Brunt, “. . .Will you and the S-R do the right thing?”

. . . Perhaps it would be a good time to follow the S-R’s new Code of Ethics (Independence Section)? The operative question is the Code of Ethics merely a PR ploy or will Smith and/or Graham take it to heart and do the right thing?

I should also add in addition to the above Duane Swinton and Whitherspon & Kelley should recuse themselves from any involvement in this matter in representing the interests of the S-R and its owners. [Emphasis added]


Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
Riverside PD, CA

PS: I’m somewhat encouraged that the S-R has now filed a public request for the Lewis documents. I might add I can now confirm that Mayor Vener has been in touch with Mr. O. Yale Lewis and plans to meet with him. This is yet another story that was first broken on the Mark Fuhrman Radio Show and was only belatedly reported in the S-R.

cc: Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, County of Spokane, WA
Mayor Mary Verner, City of Spokane, WA
City Council, City of Spokane, WA
US Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan, Western District of Washington, Seattle, WA
Agent Frank Harvill, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Spokane, WA
Sgt. Ken Wade, Washington State Patrol, Spokane, WA
Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, City of Spokane, WA
Acting City Attorney Pat Dalton, City of Spokane, WA