Tim Eyman listens uncomfortably during a confrontation with his opponents
Tim Eyman listens uncomfortably during a confrontation with his opponents (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Failed guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date and dis­hon­est ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman claimed today that his most recent pay­ment to his attor­ney Richard Sanders has left him almost entire­ly bereft with cash and plead­ed with his fans to send him more mon­ey as soon as pos­si­ble to help him with his debts.

To make his case, Eyman enclosed in his email pho­tographs of pay­ments to Good­stein Law Group PLLC for $25,000 and $10,000 (total­ing $35,000) fol­lowed by a screen­shot of bal­ances in two Bank of Amer­i­ca accounts pri­or to the trans­mis­sion of the pay­ments. Good­stein is the firm that employs Sanders, a for­mer Supreme Court jus­tice with a very lib­er­tar­i­an bent. While on the Court, Sanders wrote sev­er­al dis­sents argu­ing that Eyman’s ini­tia­tives should be upheld.

Since 2019, Sanders has been defend­ing the noto­ri­ous chair thief and ini­tia­tive pitch­man against a cam­paign finance account­abil­i­ty law­suit filed by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, the state’s chief law enforce­ment officer.

“I paid $35K to Richard Sanders’ law firm today,” Eyman wrote. “$25K from my legal defense fund. $10K from my per­son­al account. It drained me dry.”

“I’ve put it all on the line. I owed Richard’s law firm $305K. Our agree­ment was that his firm would only han­dle the notice of appeal if I paid them at least $75K of that. I need to raise more. A lot more,” Eyman added.

(The bold­faced words above were cap­i­tal­ized in Eyman’s email for emphasis.)

Eyman’s finan­cial prob­lems extend far beyond his debt to Sanders and Good­stein Law Group. He owes mil­lions of dol­lars to the peo­ple of the State of Wash­ing­ton as a result of his seri­ous, repeat­ed vio­la­tions of Chap­ter 42.17A RCW, the state’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure law. The amount Eyman owes includes con­tempt penal­ties, a judg­ment against him by the courts, and attor­ney’s fees. That’s right: as the los­ing par­ty, Eyman is respon­si­ble for the costs of both sides of the litigation.

Eyman con­ve­nient­ly failed to men­tion that even more weighty oblig­a­tion to his fan club in his email today, prob­a­bly because he knows his Trump lov­ing friends aren’t going to be excit­ed about giv­ing him mon­ey so that he can turn around and send it to the state trea­sury. Regard­less, Eyman is on the hook, and the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office has been work­ing dili­gent­ly to col­lect from him in installments.

Eyman present­ly owes Wash­ing­to­ni­ans $5,413,169.83, plus accru­ing interest.

In antic­i­pa­tion of being in that hole, Eyman filed for bank­rupt­cy in the Unit­ed States Bank­rupt­cy Court for the West­ern Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton in Novem­ber of 2018. The case was assigned to Judge Marc Barreca.

Declar­ing bank­rupt­cy was one part pub­lic­i­ty stunt and one part attempt to delay Fer­gu­son’s cam­paign finance enforce­ment case by way of the fed­er­al courts.

Fer­gu­son wast­ed lit­tle time in obtain­ing a com­fort order to allow his office to pro­ceed with the case in state court, thus evad­ing Eyman’s delay­ing maneuver.

Although Eyman was­n’t actu­al­ly bank­rupt at the time he filed for bank­rupt­cy, he is def­i­nite­ly bank­rupt now as a result of hav­ing lost his court case and hav­ing hired lawyers whose mount­ing bills he can­not afford to pay.

For once, Eyman isn’t exag­ger­at­ing when he says he’s put it “all on the line”.

His own attor­neys have placed liens against his home in Muk­il­teo, accord­ing  bank­rupt­cy court plead­ings filed by the State of Washington.

The state, rep­re­sent­ed by Fer­gu­son’s office, isn’t hap­py about those liens, and wants them void­ed. The State con­tend­ed in a fil­ing last week: “The actions tak­en by Debtor’s Coun­sel [Vort­man & Fein­stein, Good­stein Law Group] to encum­ber the Eyman Home erode the pro­tec­tion avail­able to the State and oth­er cred­i­tors of the Estate to recov­er from the non-exempt equi­ty in the home.”

The state is ask­ing that it “be allowed to record and per­fect its judg­ment lien in Sno­homish Coun­ty with respect to the judg­ment entered in Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court, Case no. 17–2‑01546–34,” and that, “except for the lien of the State of Wash­ing­ton and any statu­to­ry or prop­er­ty tax liens, any future liens that are placed upon the Eyman home pri­or to ter­mi­na­tion of the Chap­ter 11 plan will be void unless notice has been pro­vid­ed accord­ing to the terms of the plan and Bank­rupt­cy Court approval of record­ing has been granted.”

The state’s com­plaint and prayer for relief is below.

State of Wash­ing­ton bank­rupt­cy com­plaint regard­ing the Eyman home

Eyman has pre­vi­ous­ly tak­en out mort­gages against his Muk­il­teo fam­i­ly home to finance ini­tia­tive cam­paigns. Now the home — Eyman’s most valu­able asset — is the cen­ter of a dis­pute between Eyman, his attor­neys, and the state.

Eyman’s appar­ent objec­tive is to trans­fer sole own­er­ship to Karen Eyman so that the home can be placed out of the reach of Eyman’s creditors.

As not­ed by Fer­gu­son’s office in a May 21st, 2021 legal filing:

“The State under­stands that Debtor Eyman is con­tin­u­ing to work on a pro­pos­al to sell the com­mu­ni­ty prop­er­ty por­tion of the Eyman home to Karen Eyman. Due to the cur­rent liens on the home, Debtor Eyman’s coun­sel would be paid from the pro­ceeds if these encum­brances were not removed.”

You can under­stand why Eyman is so des­per­ate for cash. He needs mil­lions of dol­lars to sat­is­fy all the debts that he’s racked up.

Eyman says his friends Dave McMullen (the Chair of the Pierce Coun­ty Repub­li­cans) and Chris Ley­ba will be host­ing a fundrais­er for him on Sun­day August 1st at the Puyallup Elks Club, ahead of the Pierce Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty’s “All Amer­i­can Fam­i­ly Pic­nic” planned for 3 — 7 PM at the same venue.

“It’ll be my oppor­tu­ni­ty to thank folks in per­son for help­ing me and my fam­i­ly through the last eight and a half years — we nev­er woul­da made it with­out you. So put August 1st on your cal­en­dar. But please don’t wait until then to donate my legal defense fund. This insan­i­ty must be appealed,” Eyman wrote.

“I need your help now more than ever before.”

“My fight is your fight. My fight is our fight.”

“Please… I implore you… donate today.”

Left unsaid is the fact that Eyman is in the sit­u­a­tion he’s in because of choic­es that he made. It was Eyman who demand­ed kick­backs from his bud­dies. It was Eyman who steered funds meant for one ini­tia­tive to anoth­er. It was Eyman who chose to vio­late the Fair Cam­paign Prac­tices Act, repeat­ed­ly. And it was Eyman who chose to stonewall when inves­ti­ga­tions were opened into that lawbreaking.

Tim Eyman is no match in the court­room for Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, a cham­pi­on chess play­er (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Fer­gu­son makes a great bogey­man and scape­goat because he is despised by the Trump-lov­ing Repub­li­can base for his hard work to uphold Wash­ing­ton’s pro­gres­sive laws and stop Trump’s min­ions from destroy­ing envi­ron­men­tal and work­er pro­tec­tions. But the truth is that Tim Eyman is his own per­se­cu­tor. He has no greater ene­my and no greater tor­men­tor than him­self.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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