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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.

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

Tim Eyman loses again in court as Judge James Dixon declines to reconsider sanctions

Dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman has lost anoth­er court bat­tle.

Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge James Dixon today denied Eyman’s motion to recon­sid­er his pre­vi­ous rul­ing impos­ing new sanc­tions and denied Eyman’s request for a fur­ther stay in the pro­ceed­ings.

The motion was Eyman’s lat­est attempt to post­pone his day of reck­on­ing through a stonewalling in the extreme legal strat­e­gy. He is being sued by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son for egre­gious vio­la­tions of Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws.

Eyman’s asso­ciates have already been found guilty in the case (No. 17–2‑01546–34) and fined more than $1 mil­lion for their role in covert­ly fun­nel­ing mon­ey back into Eyman’s pock­ets in the form of kick­backs.

Eyman, mean­while, has been in con­tempt of court for more than a year because he refus­es to turn over records the State is seek­ing to prove that he broke the law. Eyman’s bla­tant dis­re­gard of the Court’s law­ful dis­cov­ery orders has infu­ri­at­ed the attor­neys work­ing to hold Eyman account­able as well as the case’s Spe­cial Mas­ter, retired Thurston Supe­ri­or Court Judge Gary Tabor.

Because Eyman is in con­tempt, he’s rack­ing up dai­ly mon­e­tary fines.

But those fines have not moti­vat­ed him to com­ply.

So Fer­gu­son sought the impo­si­tion of addi­tion­al, non-mon­e­tary sanc­tions.

Last month, state attor­neys con­vinced Dixon to reclas­si­fy sev­en years of “gifts” and oth­er income that went into Eyman’s pock­ets as reportable cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions as an addi­tion­al sanc­tion upon Eyman. As a con­se­quence of that deci­sion, Eyman is now faced with hav­ing to break his promis­es to his wealthy bene­fac­tors, whom he assured could remain anony­mous if they gave mon­ey to him per­son­al­ly, as opposed to donat­ing to one of his ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry’s com­mit­tees.

The prospect of hav­ing to report who has been writ­ing checks to his per­son­al purse has fright­ened Eyman. That’s why he asked Dixon to recon­sid­er his deci­sion order­ing that Eyman’s “gifts” be report­ed as cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions.

Eyman also request­ed a stay in the case, as men­tioned, to buy him­self more time.

Eyman is peti­tion­ing U.S. Bank­rupt­cy Court Judge Marc Bar­reca to allow for­mer State Supreme Court Jus­tice Richard Sanders (who always vot­ed against strik­ing down Eyman ini­tia­tives that were clear­ly uncon­sti­tu­tion­al) to rep­re­sent him as his new legal coun­sel, after hav­ing spent months as a pro se defen­dant.

State attor­neys Eric S. New­man, S. Todd Sipe, and Paul M. Crisal­li wrote a pow­er­ful brief shred­ding Eyman’s request for a recon­sid­er­a­tion.

“The State has wait­ed a long time for jus­tice in this mat­ter because of Defen­dant Eyman’s antics,” their brief notes. “The State is still await­ing that jus­tice. There is noth­ing unjust about a dis­cov­ery sanc­tion against a defen­dant who defied this Court’s orders and his dis­cov­ery oblig­a­tions for two years, espe­cial­ly when the dis­cov­ery vio­la­tions con­tin­ue even after the sanc­tion. The Court’s order is only the first step toward the State’s final­ly hav­ing the issues in this case resolved. Defen­dant Eyman’s hol­low ges­ture does not change any­thing.”

With respect to Eyman’s efforts to bring Richard Sanders on board to rep­re­sent him, the state’s attor­neys observed:

“Defen­dant Eyman chose to pro­ceed with­out an attor­ney for eight months. He
inten­tion­al­ly avoid­ed hir­ing an attor­ney so that he could false­ly tell this Court and the Spe­cial Dis­cov­ery Mas­ter that his fail­ure to respond to dis­cov­ery was out of igno­rance, not defi­ance. He repeat­ed­ly claimed that it was the State that was pre­vent­ing him from get­ting a lawyer, despite that asser­tion being patent­ly false.”

Not only did Fer­gu­son’s office not pre­vent Eyman from get­ting a lawyer, it repeat­ed­ly advised him in writ­ing to obtain a new attor­ney, and object­ed to the with­draw­al of Eyman’s pre­vi­ous coun­sel, Joel Ard.

You can read their brief in its entire­ty here:

State of Wash­ing­ton’s oppo­si­tion to motion to recon­sid­er non-mon­e­tary sanc­tions

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