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.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

JUSTICE! Tim Eyman’s pals fined $1 million for their role in illegal kickback scheme

Asso­ciates of dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman have been ordered to pay the State of Wash­ing­ton more than a mil­lion dol­lars in penal­ties and court costs for their role in an ille­gal kick­back scheme that fun­neled mon­ey into to Tim Eyman’s pock­ets, a Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court judge decid­ed yes­ter­day.

Judge James Dixon signed off on an order penal­iz­ing Eyman’s co-defen­dants after hav­ing entered a default judg­ment against them ear­li­er this year.

The co-defen­dants include William Agazarm of Bris­tol, Con­necti­cut (the son in law of Eddie Agazarm, one of Eyman’s pals) and Cit­i­zen Solu­tions, LLC (the firm con­trolled by William Agazarm and Roy Ruffi­no, also one of Eyman’s pals.)

“This judg­ment reflects the seri­ous and inten­tion­al vio­la­tions of Washington’s cam­paign finance laws com­mit­ted by Mr. Agazarm and Cit­i­zen Solu­tions,” said Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son in a state­ment.

“Mr. Agazarm and Cit­i­zen Solu­tions know­ing­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in a scheme to hide how con­tri­bu­tions to Tim Eyman’s cam­paigns were real­ly being used.”

The scheme — which was sus­pect­ed by NPI and oth­er Eyman oppo­nents to exist long before it was proven in court by Fer­gu­son — worked like this:

  • Dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman would cook up an ini­tia­tive for wreck­ing gov­ern­ment in some way in Wash­ing­ton State, then find wealthy bene­fac­tors to pitch the scheme to, like the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness (AWB) and its affil­i­at­ed trade orga­ni­za­tions.
  • Eyman would tell the bene­fac­tors that he need­ed a cer­tain sum to qual­i­fy the scheme for the bal­lot. For exam­ple, he might claim to need $1 mil­lion, when in real­i­ty, he’d only need around half that for a sig­na­ture dri­ve.
  • Upon receiv­ing cash and/or com­mit­ments in sup­port of the scheme, Eyman would hire his bud­dies at “Cit­i­zen Solu­tions” to con­duct the sig­na­ture dri­ve.
  • Eyman would then have Cit­i­zen Solu­tions secret­ly fun­nel funds back to him that weren’t actu­al­ly need­ed to pay peti­tion­ers, in vio­la­tion of the law.

Any­one look­ing at Eyman’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure reports would see that he was pay­ing him­self a salary out of cam­paign funds — a prac­tice that began after Eyman was caught lying about tak­ing mon­ey from his donors in 2002 — but not that he was dou­ble dip­ping by arrang­ing for kick­backs from his chief ven­dor.

Eyman and his pals went to great lengths to con­ceal their kick­back scheme.

For exam­ple:

“Eyman had Cit­i­zen Solu­tions’ own­ers divide his kick­backs among his wife, Karen, and their minor chil­dren, so none of the checks would be more than $13,000,” the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office not­ed in its news release detail­ing Judge Dixon’s find­ing. “Accord­ing to Karen Eyman’s depo­si­tion, she and the chil­dren were unaware of the pay­ments, even though the checks were made out to them.”

“Eyman wrote to one of the own­ers [Roy Ruffi­no]: ‘You gen­er­ous­ly gave me $9900 on Sep­tem­ber 22nd (and a nice bot­tle of cham­pagne!!) so that leaves $35,100 for the rest of 2012 and still $39,000 for 2013. … I ask that you please sched­ule a few more lunch­es from now until Decem­ber 31st so you can ‘max gift’ by the end of the year. You’re mak­ing great progress on this and I con­tin­ue to be extreme­ly grate­ful for your con­tin­ued help on it.’ ”

“The Court finds that the Cit­i­zen Solu­tions Defen­dants not only knew the extent of Defen­dant Eyman’s scheme, but active­ly assist­ed with his vio­la­tions, help­ing him mis­lead con­trib­u­tors into believ­ing their con­tri­bu­tions would go to sup­port bal­lot ini­tia­tives, when in fact, they were ben­e­fit­ing Defen­dant Eyman per­son­al­ly,” Judge James Dixon wrote in his order approv­ing $1 mil­lion in penal­ties.

“Cru­cial­ly, the Cit­i­zen Solu­tions Defen­dants assist­ed Defen­dant Eyman in laun­der­ing pay­ments pur­port­ed­ly for sig­na­ture gath­er­ing, which were made after the sig­na­ture gath­er­ing was com­plet­ed and accept­ed by the Cit­i­zen Solu­tions Defen­dants sole­ly to con­ceal that they were being fun­neled to Defen­dant Eyman.”

Judg­ment against Cit­i­zen Solu­tions in State of Wash­ing­ton v. Tim Eyman

Here’s a break­down of all the penal­ties approved by the court:

  • Agazarm to pay $150,000 in civ­il penal­ties;
  • Cit­i­zen Solu­tions, LLC to pay $150,000 in civ­il penal­ties;
  • Agazarm and Cit­i­zen Solu­tions joint­ly to pay $117,500 in unpaid con­tempt sanc­tions; and
  • Agazarm and Citzen Solu­tions to pay $622,255.67 in costs and fees.

Alto­geth­er, Tim Eyman’s co-defen­dants owe a total of $1,039,755 67.

Eyman has yet to be penal­ized for his role in the scheme.

This judg­ment has been a long time in com­ing.

Final­ly, jus­tice is being served upon the peo­ple who enabled Tim Eyman to line his pock­ets at the expense of his donors, who were duped into over­pay­ing for sig­na­tures to qual­i­fy destruc­tive schemes to the Wash­ing­ton State bal­lot.

Now it’s time for Tim Eyman to face the music him­self.

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