NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Court penalizes Tim Eyman and associates as state wins two successive default judgments

Dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman and his long­time asso­ciates have been found liable for vio­lat­ing Wash­ing­ton State’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws and must pay hefty fines to the peo­ple of the State of Wash­ing­ton, Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge James Dixon deter­mined in a pair of recent rul­ings.

In the first of the rul­ings, hand­ed down on Fri­day, April 12th, 2019, Judge Dixon entered a default judg­ment against Eyman and sev­er­al of his polit­i­cal com­mit­tees for fail­ing to respond to three relat­ed cam­paign finance enforce­ment law­suits filed by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son in Sep­tem­ber of 2016.

Judge Dixon indi­vid­u­al­ly penal­ized Tim Eyman $22,340, while four of his com­mit­tees were penal­ized $2,910, $7,700, $6,640, and $5,090, respec­tive­ly. Eyman was also ordered to pay $17,827.28 in rea­son­able attor­neys’ fees plus $366.25 in court costs. The total penal­ty against Eyman comes to $40,533.53.

Judg­ment sum­ma­ry in con­sol­i­dat­ed Tougher To Raise Tax­es cam­paign enforce­ment cas­es

In the sec­ond of the rul­ings, hand­ed down on Fri­day, May 17th, 2019, Judge Dixon entered a default judg­ment against Tim Eyman’s asso­ciates Roy Ruffi­no and William Agazarm (and their com­pa­ny, “Cit­i­zen Solu­tions”) in a fourth cam­paign finance enforce­ment case filed by Fer­gu­son in March of 2017.

Ruffi­no, Agazarm, and “Cit­i­zen Solu­tions” were held liable for vio­lat­ing Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws after they “will­ful­ly and delib­er­ate­ly” failed to fol­low Dixon’s orders and court dis­cov­ery rules. “Cit­i­zen Solu­tions” has now been in con­tempt of court for fif­teen months run­ning, accru­ing $175,000 in fines.

This fourth case is the one that’s drawn pret­ty much all of the media atten­tion, as Fer­gu­son is seek­ing a mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar fine against Eyman and an injunc­tion bar­ring him from being the sole deci­sion­mak­er of a polit­i­cal com­mit­tee.

The three cas­es filed in Sep­tem­ber of 2016 pre­date the fourth case in a sense, because they became law­suits first. How­ev­er, if you con­sid­er the inves­ti­ga­to­ry phase of the fourth case, it’s actu­al­ly the old­est by a long shot. 

The vio­la­tions the fourth case are all about were com­mit­ted in 2012, when Tim Eyman duped the donors to one of his ini­tia­tives by telling them he need­ed more mon­ey than he real­ly need­ed for a sig­na­ture dri­ve. Eyman pock­et­ed a big chunk of the mon­ey he did­n’t need through kick­backs from Cit­i­zen Solu­tions, and then illic­it­ly financed a dif­fer­ent ini­tia­tive that his donors did­n’t know about.

Eyman is still defend­ing him­self in this fourth case; a tri­al is sup­posed to be held next sum­mer. While Eyman has used stonewalling in the extreme as his strat­e­gy for defend­ing him­self in the fourth case, Eyman did not both­er to defend him­self at all in the oth­er three cas­es that Fer­gu­son filed in Sep­tem­ber of 2016.

These cas­es — which were sub­se­quent­ly con­sol­i­dat­ed — were all prompt­ed by com­plaints filed by Wash­ing­to­ni­ans For Eth­i­cal Gov­ern­ment (WFEG) and Keep Wash­ing­ton Rolling (KWR), the coali­tion that works to pro­tect Wash­ing­ton’s bipar­ti­san trans­porta­tion invest­ments. NPI works with both WFEG and KWR to fight Eyman’s destruc­tive ini­tia­tives and hold him account­able for his law­break­ing.

One of the com­plaints stemmed from NPI’s dis­cov­ery that Eyman was run­ning an ille­gal inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture against Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors after they refused to capit­u­late to his demand that they sup­port a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment that would have sab­o­taged the major­i­ty vote thresh­old dat­ing back to state­hood.

(After the fil­ing of that com­plaint, Eyman pulled the ads.)

The oth­er com­plaints alleged that Eyman failed to exe­cute writ­ten loan agree­ments for a set of loans that he arranged from him­self and sev­er­al of his wealthy bene­fac­tors to his polit­i­cal com­mit­tees, and that Eyman’s com­mit­tees failed to prop­er­ly account for and report inter­est pay­ments on those loans

On Sep­tem­ber 23rd, 2016, the com­plaints became the foun­da­tion of the three afore­men­tioned law­suits against Eyman and his asso­ciates. Fer­gu­son amend­ed one of the com­plaints a cou­ple months lat­er alleg­ing even more vio­la­tions uncov­ered by our team at NPI, which became the basis of anoth­er WFEG com­plaint.

On Novem­ber 3rd, 2017, the cas­es were con­sol­i­dat­ed.

Tim Eyman nev­er respond­ed to the three con­sol­i­dat­ed cas­es, hav­ing appar­ent­ly decid­ed the best course of action would be to do noth­ing.

That choice might have saved Eyman some mon­ey on legal defense bills, but he will not get to escape lia­bil­i­ty for his law­break­ing, as Judge Dixon has now grant­ed Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s motion for a default judg­ment.

The remain­ing defen­dants in the case (Eyman’s asso­ciates) will be dealt with sep­a­rate­ly, per Judge Dixon’s April 12th, 2019 rul­ing.

“The Court directs the entry of such judg­ment because there is no just rea­son for delay,” Dixon’s order declares. “The Court finds that the remain­ing issues that need to be decid­ed as to the remain­ing defen­dants can eas­i­ly be decid­ed sep­a­rate­ly, and there is noth­ing that would pre­vent the entry of sep­a­rate judg­ments as to those defen­dants. The Court finds that the inter­ests of judi­cial econ­o­my weigh towards enter­ing a final judg­ment as to these Defen­dants.”

It is extreme­ly sat­is­fy­ing to know that our work to uncov­er Eyman’s ille­gal activ­i­ties has result­ed in sig­nif­i­cant penal­ties being assessed against Eyman and his asso­ciates. Eyman’s con­tempt for Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure law is prac­ti­cal­ly beyond com­pare. Over and over again, Eyman has brazen­ly flout­ed the law as though it sim­ply did­n’t apply to him. Now he and his pals must pay.

Because Eyman is in Chap­ter 11 bank­rupt­cy, Fer­gu­son has applied to U.S. Bank­rupt­cy Court Judge Marc Bar­reca to col­lect the penal­ties Eyman has been ordered to pay to the peo­ple of the State of Wash­ing­ton.

On May 9th, 2019, Fer­gu­son filed a com­plaint to deter­mine the dis­charge­abil­i­ty of Eyman’s debt. The State says that Eyman’s bank­rupt­cy does not exempt him from hav­ing to pay the penal­ties assessed by Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court “because they are a lia­bil­i­ty for mon­ey or prop­er­ty obtained by false pre­tens­es, false rep­re­sen­ta­tion, or actu­al fraud” and because they are “a lia­bil­i­ty for mon­ey or prop­er­ty obtained by fraud or defal­ca­tion while act­ing in a fidu­cia­ry capac­i­ty.”

Com­plaint to deter­mine dis­charge­abil­i­ty of debt

Fer­gu­son is ask­ing that Eyman’s debt to the State for civ­il penal­ties, attor­ney fees, and costs in the amount of $40,533.53 be adjudged non-dis­charge­able.

The State will also no doubt be seek­ing to col­lect from “Cit­i­zen Solu­tions” as a result of the default judg­ment that was entered against the firm this month.

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One Comment

  1. Con­grats on this huge win. We need­ed a clear vic­to­ry against Eyman and your team deliv­ered!

    # by Joe Kunzler :: May 24th, 2019 at 7:28 PM