S-R Jonathan Brunt’s B-1 “above the fold” article ran in Saturday’s S-R [June 7, 2008] on the O. Yale Lewis documents. See the two emails below I’ve sent to him regarding his story.

Finally the door creaks open in Spokane on its “dark little secret.”

Ron the Cop

Email I

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: rocketsbrain
Date: Sat, Jun 7, 2008 at 6:24 AM
Subject: Great Work! Mr. Brunt – ‘Counsel’s RPS strategy faces criticism’
To: Jonathan Brunt

Mr. Brunt,

Hey a great job in getting a lot of stuff out in the open in one article. I hope we will see more refreshing articles in the near future. Perhaps a status check with the US Attorney’s Office in Seattle? I hope the S-R will continue to press for the remaining docs. I don’t buy the atty/client privilege. It’s a dodge to protect certain city officials and others from complicity in the RPS bond fraud and a ongoing criminal conspiracy. The people are the client here and deserve to see these documents to hold their elected/appointed official accountable for this bond fraud.

In my opinion Siddoway tanked an excellent bond fraud case that Gary Cerrani put together that the city bought out and should have pursued to trial. In my opinion so what if the LLC/foundation tanked. If fraud could be shown from the start or at least when the bond escrow was allowed to close without full disclosure of material facts to the institutional bond investors and the public, the the LLC could be pierced and all the assets of the developers to make the citizens whole again would be on the table.. While it’s a moot point re the public recovering from itself (The City) those who City officials were criminally involved would have no grant of governmental immunity and would be personally liable for their criminal actions. You may know that Siddoway and her husband were large contributors to Powers campaign and the infamous Mr. Ormsby was Power’s campaign treasurer. I think it was more of a case of Powers firing Lewis because of what he found would be so damning to those who were involved in the RPS bond fraud.

Mind you the Siddoways are alleged to have pressured KXLY to get rid of former reporter Tom Grant who was biting hard on RPS. Siddoway is their first amendment counsel. General Manager Herling confirms that were taking a $100K hit not being on the Cowles’ “buy list.” See the response from Tom Grant below. Further I find the recent purchased of KGA and the axing of Mark Fuhrman Show to be very suspicious and have the same “fingerprints” and M/O. Read Mike Fitzsimmons comment in my letter to Mr. Smith re the S-R’s past coverage of RPS. It is my speculation that there is a Cowles “straw investor” in the Mapleton LLCs family tree and or other quid pro quo in exchange. I’m currently researching this angle. Perhaps you should ask Rebecca Mack what she knows? The coincidence here is just too convenient to be ignored as Mark Fuhrman was onto to the Lewis angle when he was canned. The light bulb went on for Mark the Monday before he was canned on Wednesday. It was first on the Fuhrman Show where Verner during the her campaign made the commitment to me ( a caller to the show) to consider bringing back O. Yale Lewis. In my investigative experience there are no “coincidences” in criminal conspiracies.

Just read the IRS ruling re the tax-exempt status of the first bonds in my recent response to Mr. Smith, this is the best explanation of the facts I’ve seen re the RPS bond fraud. They said, “The casino was rigged.” As I said I don’t know for the life of me why the IRS didn’t pursue the RPS case criminally to set a precedent in public corruption re these quasi public/private projects. In essence the players screwed the pooch. My speculation as I explained in my email to Mr. Smith is that McDevitt was the finger in the dike and the IRS new that pursuing it criminally would be a losing proposition. Perhaps you should ask them and also confirmed they got their back taxes through the back door from Preston and Gates.

Anyway a crack in the door into this Gordian knot. There is hope for the S-R after all. This was a breath of fresh air.

Ron Wright

Email from Grant after my interview with Herling:

On Fri, May 9, 2008 at 5:55 AM,

Tom Grant  wrote:

My thoughts… On Fox. We knew KXLY and Fox were negotiating. Q6 was never in the picture, as far as we knew, until the moment they told us the news operations was being shut down.

Not only were Siddoways active in Powers’ campaign, Doug Siddoway clearly crossed the line when he advised me to drop a story both as a Powers worker and as our attorney. Doug also worked as KXLY attorney, on occassion.

While Herling may not have perceived any pressure from Siddoway regarding the RPS story, I did. At one point, shortly before I left KXLY, I was called into a meeting with Herling, Powers, the News Director, and the HR person. I can’t remember exactly what the meeting was about, except that when I saw them all there I felt a great deal of pressure that my reporting was causing problems.

I believe the Siddoways were influencing KXLY’s coverage of RPS after Powers took office. There is no question in my mind that management (Herling? Siddoway? The station GM? The News Director acting on his own?) decided not to cover RPS in any meaningful way after Powers took office.


Counsel’s RPS strategy faces criticism

Jonathan Brunt
Staff writer
June 7, 2008

Documents: Packet sent to mayor by Spokane’s former RPS attorney (PDF; 8 MB)• Related section: River Park Square development

The Seattle attorney who originally represented the city of Spokane in the contentious River Park Square issue is accusing his successor of misleading council members with a failed legal strategy that’s costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

O. Yale Lewis stopped representing the city in 2001 after a dispute over his fees.

Lewis mailed more than 50 documents to Spokane Mayor Mary Verner earlier this year on the matter and said he did so in response to a Web site maintained by the attorney who lead the case after Lewis, Laurel Siddoway.

Last month, Verner and former City Attorney Jim Craven flew to Seattle to meet with Lewis. Verner has declined to give details about the meeting.


Email II

Mr. Brunt,

I just scanned the PDFs of the Lewis docs on the S-R server. This may well in fact save me the $28 or so to get them from my own copies of my piggyback PDR with the City:-).

Just in passing I think the billing dispute with Lewis is a over wrought. Seems to me the City got a very good deal considering what was at stake.

Also the very last letter in these files is very illustrative. I don’t know what Atty Mark Schwartz’s relationship is to this case. I don’t know what prompted his letter to former Mayor Powers. I see where he concurs with my position that Laurel Siddoway gutted an excellent civil fraud case when even the Washington Supreme Court unanimously held in favor of the “case in chief” of Lewis’s appellate filing that is essentially the civil fraud perpetuated by the “developers” and others et al.

I appreciate Mr. Smith has now realized the value of obtaining outside counsel re matters of RPS as Mr. Swinton was up to his “eyeballs” in this deal whether there was a true legal conflict of interest or not. He’s the primary mover of the “confidentiality” agreements. I hope you will avail yourself of this outside counsel. This counsel needs to advise you re the merit of Siddoway’s case once she in my opinion gutted the heart of the case and essentially rendered it moot which in effect CYA’d those government officials and others complicit in this fraud. Had these facts been exposed in a civil trial I don’t doubt that criminal indictments would have soon followed.



My reply to City Clerk Terry Pfister re my PDR request for the Lewis docs:

Dear Ms. Pfister,

Thank you for your update regarding my PDR for the Lewis documents. I see that S-R Reporter Brunt received his copies re his PDR on the Lewis documents and they are now posted on the S-R website. I’m assuming these are all the Lewis documents that are available for release. If not please let me know and I will come into your office to review them. I do know that there was a letter sent to several of the council members by the City Attorney Office regarding the release of these documents. I requested this letter and I don’t see where it is among the redacted documents.

Of course I differ re the determination of the City Attorney to withhold these redacted documents as a matter of attorney/client privilege. If the Spokesman-Review does not pursue them I may initiate legal action to obtain them. In my opinion the citizens of Spokane are the “true” clients. The withholding of these documents interferes with the citizens’ ability to hold their governmental accountable for potentially criminal acts. In reality former Mayor Talbott, former City Councilperson Cherie Rodgers, and Attorney O. Yale Lewis will not sue if these documents are disclosed. The only ones likely to support their withholding from public disclosure are the ones that have potential criminal liability in the apparent ongoing criminal conspiracy regarding the RPS bond fraud. This includes Ms. Laurel Siddoway who is captioned in many of these documents. This is especially apparent in the now released letter from Attorney Mark Schwartz. In my discussions with Mayor Talbott, Mr. Lewis was retained to unravel the RPS bond fraud and to make whole the citizens of Spokane. Mr. Lewis’ charge was not to provide criminal defense for city officials or their contract employees that were complicit in this fraud. In my opinion the interest of the publics’ right to know to hold their government accountable when there is reasonable cause to believe that they were defrauded in the RPS project in an ongoing criminal conspiracy, trumps any potential attorney/client privilege in documents in the possession of and paid for with taxpayer funds of those complicit in the fraud. The citizens of Spokane after all are now saddled with a new indebtedness of approaching $100M.

Please kindly forward my email to the City Council and the City Attorney.