[Note: This is an edited version of a post to the FOF email group]

To All:

The US Attorney’s Office in Seattle, WA upon its review found “no criminal intent” sufficient to warrant any federal indictments in the RPS bond fraud matter. See the press release issued by their office:

DOJ Closes River Park Square Investigation with No Criminal Charges

Mr. Robert Westinghouse, Criminal Chief for the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, conducted the press conference this morning in Spokane and answered questions of the media present. I have written extensively on this and is best summarized in my letter to US Attorney Jeffrey Sullivan.

I concurred at the time with Spokane Police Chief Kirkpatrick’s decision to refer former Sheriff Bamonte’s complaint re the Jo Savage death in the RPS parking garage to the feds in as much as they had just undertaken the review of the RPS bond fraud. This review was the direct result of US Attorney Jim McDevitt’s (Eastern District of WA) appearance on the Mark Fuhrman Show to rebut Larry Shook’s allegations re McDevitt’s conflict of interest/complicity in the RPS bond fraud. To be honest hearing Mr. McDevitt speak on the Fuhrman Show gave me insight as a criminal investigator of many years as to why no federal criminal investigation had garnered any traction up to that point. Mr. McDevitt opened the door for the current review of the Connor/Rodgers documentation and his subsequent recusal from this case.

I can understand at this late date why the feds did not want to take on this case as the chief alleged offenses have gone well beyond the normal federal five-year statue of limitations. Mr. Westinghouse said many of these transaction occurred ten years ago and documents have been purged and witnesses’ memories fade. To get around the tolling of the federal statue of limitations would require a finding of an ongoing criminal enterprise, the burden to show beyond a reasonable doubt in this Alice in Wonderlandian complex fraud case would be difficult. I believe this could be done but the feds apparently had no stomach to do so.Mr. Westinghouse explained while the IRS may have found evidence of civil fraud with its disallowance of the tax-exempt status of the first RPS bonds, the burden to show actual criminal intent was much greater. In their investigation they could not find that governmental officials did not act in good faith based on multiple inputs from many different attorneys. Mr. Westinghouse admitted there was considerable controversy with regard to the “assessment” value of the garage and it’s funding stream but they could not find criminal intent to mislead the investors. He did personally indicate that the BBB minus bond rating of the RPS bonds should have been a clue to the potential bond investors and other as to the potential risks involved. He said he would not have purchased the bonds.

In their press release they could not find any instance where Mr. McDevitt had acted inappropriately or failed to disclose his prior relationship with Preston & Gates. No case had been referred to his office prior to the summer of 2007. As I said at the press conference I would not hold Mr. McDevitt harmless. Yes, Mr. McDevitt, can say no investigative agency presented a case for him to review. I would not let him off the hook so lightly as morally and ethically as the chief federal law enforcement officer of this district he is charged to aggressively pursue public corruption cases. With what Mr. McDevitt knew he should have taken a leading role in this investigation once he took office. It was Mr. McDevitt’s passivity e.g., “hearing and seeing no evil,” that allowed this case to grow stale.

As for the Savage case both Sheriff Bamonte and I believe there is reasonable cause to believe based on the evidence available that her death was a negligent homicide arising to a First-Degree Manslaughter under WA state law. Sheriff Bamonte has been advocating from the very beginning this case should have been prosecuted under state law using a grand jury to compel testimony of reluctant witnesses who are afraid, intimidated, or reluctant to give testimony. Apparently the feds have received information in their investigation warranting a referral to Country Prosecutor Tucker in the Savage case and, “. . . sought and obtained permission from the court to provide certain limited grand jury materials to the Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker for review.” Since they found no federal criminal fraud they have no statutory grounds to pursue what is in essence a state case:

. . . At issues is whether faulty maintenance at the garage led to the accident. The review determined there is no federal statute that would address the facts surrounding the accident. Whether the State statues proscribing negligent homicide have application to these facts is a decision better left to local authorities.

To be blunt I have no confidence in Mr. Tucker. I questioned Mr. Westinghouse based on the “local politics” why they hadn’t referred the Savage case to the State’s Attorney General’s Office. He replied they had no reason to doubt that Mr. Tucker couldn’t carry out this investigation. Mr. Tucker can call on the resources of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane PD, and or the Washington State Patrol. If I’m correct Mr. Tucker in the past refused to impanel a grand jury to conduct this investigation.

Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick unfortunately are back in the “hot seat” again. I have full confidence in both Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick to carry out such an investigation but there are others who will claim that they have conflicts of interests whether they exist or not. In the interest of getting the Savage investigation underway before the WA statue of limitations runs on April 9, 2009, I would suggest that Sheriff Knezovich, Chief Kirkpatrick with or without the support of Mr. Tucker formally request WA Attorney General Rob McKenna to impanel a state grand jury which he has the statutory authority to do and that his office coordinate the investigation. Mr. McKenna in my opinion has enough standing within the State of WA that an investigation conducted by his office would have the transparency and lack of potential conflicts if this case were to be pursued by Mr. Tucker locally with the potential review by the Superior Court Bench of Spokane County.

Perhaps our plight in Spokane is best handled by civil action by the FTC and the FCC which I will pursue in the future and through former Sheriff Bamonte’s class action suit on behalf of the citizens of Spokane who after all are left paying the bill on what will ultimately be $100M. The burden of proof in a civil class action case is much less than burden required in any criminal case.

Ron the Cop


Jacob Fries was at the press release and filed this story. The last paragraph is quite telling re the transparency of the feds:

Out with a Whimper


Shook inquired about who they talked to and Westinghouse said he would not reveal the names of those interviewed. Would any documents from the investigation be released?

“We do not make work product available … because it would be unfair to all those involved,” he said, adding, “You can assume that we took all reasonable steps to explore and to satisfy ourselves that there was no criminal wrongdoing.”

Unsatisfied, reporters chased Westinghouse into the hall after the press conference. An aide shouted at the reporters pursuing the prosecutor: “He won’t be taking any more questions.”

Also for those interested from the USDOJ’s Criminal Resource Manual here’s the fed criminal statue of limitations:

Statute of Limitations