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ELST Correspondence with the King County Journal Newspaper
(formerly the Eastside Journal)

A compilation of the significant correspondence between John Rasmussen and the King County Journal (Eastside Journal) relating to the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme.

(in reverse chronological order)



There are four webpages on this site that provide the significant ELST correspondence between John Rasmussen and government, individuals, and the press:

    1. Correspondence Presented to King County Superior Court.
    2. Additional ELST Correspondence to Friends and Officials.
    3. Correspondence with The Seattle Times.
    4. Correspondence with the King County Journal (Eastside Journal). (This Page)



Subject: My intention to characterize you as a criminal
From: John Rasmussen
To: barbara.morgan@kingcountyjournal.com; craig.groshart@kingcountyjournal.com; greg.heberlein@kingcountyjournal.com; john.perry@kingcountyjournal.com; peter.horvitz@kingcountyjournal.com; tom.wolfe@kingcountyjournal.com; chris.winters@kingcountyjournal.com
Date: Thursday, January 11, 2007 9:04 AM

Hello members of the King County Journal,

I understand that the King County Journal will cease production on January 21st. I had hoped thatthe newspaperwould still be around when I establish my website dedicated to exposing the federal tax fraud scheme and theft of land used to build the East Lake Sammamish Trail.I intend toexpose you as an importantparticipant in that crime.

As you should know, I wrote the Eastside Journal, and subsequentlythe King County Journal, a number of times from 1999 through 2005. In 2000, I discovered evidence of the federal tax fraud scheme that was used to establish the East Lake Sammamish Trail. BNSF donated land that it didn't own to the County. Arthur Andersen provided a grossly inflated value of the land. Norm Maleng participated in that crime and altered public documents to hide his criminal activity. The King County Council froze when advised of the crime, and did nothing. Sims knew. Your newspaper and The Seattle Times refused to report the crime to the public. It got very ugly when it went to court. With no agreement on the material facts, the federal and state judges illegally decided the issues by summary judgment. The rules of summary judgmentare frequentlyabused to give control of every aspect ofa case to the judge.It is the vehicle that crooked judges use toobtain a predetermined outcometoa case. Federal District Judge Barbara Rothstein struck all evidence of the crime and then manufactured material facts that allowed her to hide the crime with her decision. When judges participate in crimes from the bench, it takes a legitimate press to expose their dishonesty. The Journal and The Seattle Times failed to do that.Protecting a press that reports corruption in government isthe concept behind "freedom of the press". That constitutional right was wasted on the Journal.

Attached, below, are several emails that I wrote in the 1999-2004 period, describing the crime. I've also attached the complaint of judicial misconduct submitted to the ChiefJudge of the Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit. In addition, I attach my draft webpage for the website that I'll establish within the next year. (The links on that webpage will not work until the website is established.)

On my website, I'lldescribe the failure to report the ELST fraud bythe Journal, andby you as journalists. Sorry you won't still be a newspaper when my website goes online.The truth of what happened with the ELST has been covered up too long. Perhaps my website will get attention, andfinally make the information public. I don't have a name for my website yet, soI want to offer this opportunity for you toprovide me with an email address that will continue to work after the Journal closes. If you do,I'll notify you of the website's establishment and actually give you a chance to defend your failure to report the truth to the public.That is anopportunity you refused me, as my rights were being violated by the politicians and judges in King County.

I've addressed this email to those at the Journal that I've previously advised of the crimes. Please forward this note to thosewho have moved on and may no longer have an email address at the Journal.If you have Tim Larson's email address, please forward this note tohim.

You folks at the Journal have done a good job hiding the ELST federal tax fraud scheme from the public. Ido notcelebratethe fact that some of you will lose your jobs, but I won't missyour deficient newspaper.

John Rasmussen

Attachment: Open Complaint of Judicial Misconduct to the Ninth Circuit, filed February 10 2004, in a separate window.

Forwarded Emails:

    ----- Original Message -----

    Subject: ELST
    From: John Rasmussen
    To: peter.horvitz@kingcountyjournal.com ; barbara.morgan@kingcountyjournal.com ; craig.groshart@kingcountyjournal.com ; chris.winters@kingcountyjournal.com
    Date: Monday, April 05, 2004 9:49 AM

    Hello King County Journal,

    Take a look at the attached complaint of judicial misconduct. It was filed with the 9th Circuit in early February of this year, and acknowledged by the Clerk.

    I've accused two Seattle based federal judges of treason...so, on that basis alone, you should be able to dismiss me as a crank. But, what if I'm right?

    If you believe that a newspaper should check and report the facts, start doing your job. You're protected by freedom of the press...and what has happened along East Lake Sammamish is exactly why we have freedom of the press.

    Directly below, I've attached a letter I wrote to your newspaper more than four years ago. Scroll down a bit and take a look at the attachment to that letter addressed to the leadership of King County on Feb 7, 2000. Perhaps there wouldn't have been an Enron scandal if you had investigated and reported the facts then.

    Regards, John Rasmussen

      ------------------------------------------------
      ATTACHMENT:
      Attached Letter to Eastside Journal (King County Journal) reporter Tim Larson
      Dated: February 9, 2000
      ------------------------------------------------

      Subject: [Fwd: ELST "The Trail of Shame"]
      Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2000 22:53:10 -0800
      From: John Rasmussen
      To: "Larson, Tim"

      Hi Tim,

      I got your phone message. Kathy Schroeder wrote me earlier in the day that you were working on a front page story about the ELST ownership issue for this weekend. She suggested I forward the attached letters addressed to Maleng, Sims and Council.

      As you know, I have been questioning the County's claim to ownership of my property under the ELST easement. Perhaps the attached letter will cause you to ask the same questions of the County that I have. Nobody has replied to my letter, or even acknowledged it. Perhaps the questions need to be asked publicly.

      In the 1800's much of the west was settled with the government giving away land...homesteading. Now, we are having a kind of reverse homesteading...the taking back of property by the "government". It isn't actually the government that is taking the property, but rather the politicians. Politicians that can further their careers by stealing land from some of their constituents and giving it to the community as a whole. These are politicians that don't have the moral courage to ask their community to pay for the taking from an individual, when it is for the common good. We have laws that prohibit this, but when a politician turns the resources of the community against a few individuals, the individuals suffer. I know. That's what is happening here with ELST. The legal system isn't effective to deal with it. It's been sixteen years since the rails-to-trails act was passed, and nobody has received compensation for the taking of their property under this act. Thousands of folks have suffered by these takings. You can now add to that list, the residents of about four hundred homes along East Lake Sammamish.

      On September 11th, 1998, Burlington Northern made a "donation" of around $40,000,000 to the people of King County. This was probably the largest "donation" to the people of King County up to that time. Yet there was no ceremony, no publicity, no public mention of this from the officials at County government. It's hard to believe that a "donation" of that magnitude was not recognized. It's hard to believe that officials from BNSF weren't invited to Seattle and given the keys to the County. The only reason that I can think the County officials would have the poor manners to not acknowledge such a large donation, is that there is something "fishy" about it. Perhaps my letter asks some questions that Norm Maleng and the County leadership need to answer. Not only answer, but provide documentation.

      I'm off my soapbox now. I'm out of town until after the 20th. I can converse via e-mail, and would enjoy that.

      Also, Kathy left a phone message, late today, that "Craig Grosshart" from your paper is working on a similar editorial. I have no idea if I spelled his name correctly, but if you can figure out who I mean, would you please forward this letter, with attachment, to him?

      Regards, John

      John Rasmussen
      johnras@attglobal.net

        -----------Attachment-------------

        Subject: ELST "The Trail of Shame"
        Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 11:57:37 -0800
        From: John Rasmussen
        Reply-To: issyras@attglobal.net
        To: "Sims, Ron" , "Fimia, Maggi" , "Sullivan, Cynthia" , "Miller, Louise" , "Phillips, Larry" , "Pelz, Dwight" , "McKenna, Rob" , "vonReichbauer, Pete" , "Nickels, Greg" , "Pullen, Kent" , "Gossett, Larry" , "Hague, Jane" , "Vance, Chris" , David Irons
        CC: "Locke, Gary" , Phil Dyer , Jack Barry , Troy Romero , Don Gerend , Kathy Huckabay , Ron Haworth , "Reichert, Dave"

        Dear Mr. Sims and Council:

        I sent the letter copied below to Mr. Maleng last Monday. He chose to not respond.

        The letter points to evidence of unethical or even criminal behavior by King County government. I believe I have a right to have some answers about the actions of the County because of the negative effect they have on my family.

        Would you please review the information below and respond by the end of this week?

        Sincerely,

        John Rasmussen

        Reply to: johnras@attglobal.net

          ----------------------------------------------------------------------

          Mr. Norm Maleng, Prosecuting Attorney
          King County, Washington
          Monday, 31 Jan 2000

          Dear Mr. Maleng,

          I believe you, and other lawyers in the King County Prosecutor's Office, may have behaved criminally in the purchase of the ELST railroad easement. Further, as a result, I believe that you and your department have violated my rights.

          Attached at the bottom, is a copy of a letter I received from your office this last week. It is interesting that when I finally got a response from you, it was to a letter addressed to David Irons, not you. I didn't send a copy of the Irons letter to you because I had given up after eight months of attempting to get explanations from you and your department.

          It appears to me that you responded to that letter because I expressed my concern that your department may be involved in tax fraud with respect to the ELST transaction. I'm not accusing you of that crime, I'm pointing to evidence that would justify a formal investigation. I will not stand by and let you defraud the American taxpayer and violate my family's rights. I intend to take this to the federal government, the press, or anywhere else that will resolve it. In fairness to you, I will lay out what I have, tell you how I believe this adds up to tax fraud, and let you respond.

          I believe there is evidence that BNSF, TLC and King County knew that all the land under the ELST railroad easement was not owned, fee simple, by BNSF. I believe there is evidence that, knowing this, TLC and King County provided proof of a donation of that land so BNSF could claim a phony write-off of about $40,000,000 with the IRS. A phony donation of $40 million would rip-off the American taxpayer for around $15,000,000. If it happened, some folks should spend some time in prison, and some lawyers should lose their right to practice law. Are you one of those people?

          Here is the sequence that brings up the question of federal tax fraud, as I see it:

          1. BNSF instructed their appraiser to value the easement land, fee simple. I have a copy of the appraisal by Arthur Andersen, dated 12/10/96. About nine pages in, is a sheet labeled "Special Assumptions and Limiting Conditions". It's one paragraph long, and the last sentence reads: "Because the condition of the title is unknown, we assumed fee simple title at the clients request."

          2. BNSF then got TLC to acknowledge a phony donation. I only have an early draft copy of the transfer between BNSF and TLC. However, I suspect that the basic issues of the final agreement are shown there. I would need all the final agreements between these parties to prove anything, but this is enough to question the transaction. My copy is of poor quality, and impossible to read in spots. I believe it states: "TLCSKC acknowledges that the fair market value of the Rail Line is $41.7 million pursuant to an independent appraisal of the Rail Line...". That ties the sale document to the Arthur Andersen appraisal which valued the line at $41.7 million, also. Further, in print that is very unclear, there is reference to "Internal Revenue Service Form ????". This would make me suspect that TLC agreed to certify the donation to the IRS.

          3. King County then acknowledged the same phony donation. I have a copy of the TLC-KC sale dated 9/11/98. This is very general about the "bargain sale", but refers to all of (TLC's) "right, title and interest (with certain exceptions described herein)...". This would tie King County to TLC-BNSF agreement, and the tax rip-off.

          4. King County knew the ownership by BNSF was in question before certifying the donation. I have been told that in the title insurance policy for the transaction, the title company refused to certify that King County owns the land under the easement. I haven't seen that document. Also, if I understand correctly, there is an appraisal that King County commissioned, that questioned the ownership of the land under the easement. Those two written warnings to the County, in addition to statements made in the Arthur Andersen appraisal, indicate to me that King County was well aware of the ownership question before they signed the papers of sale, and certified the donation.

          As we all well know, the County has been "in bed" with TLC from the beginning. I understand that TLC was set up as a middle man in the transaction because the County could not legally buy a railroad, and TLC was used to work around that requirement. TLC is headed by a former County bureaucrat. The County bought the easement from TLC less than a day after it was purchased from BNSF. Therefore, your department undoubtedly was aware of the conditions of the BNSF-TLC sale, if fraud was involved, and if TLC actually agreed to certify the donation to the IRS. As I said above, I haven't seen those final documents, only an early draft. Perhaps you would provide those final documents to me. My guess is that, even if BNSF didn't take the tax write-off, the actions of your office can be shown to be very unethical.

          I believe that is enough information to justify an investigation. I would be in a better position to decide what to do, if I had more information. Perhaps you would be willing to help in that respect. If you have nothing to hide, it will be easier for you to deal with this now.

          The ownership issue is the foundation of the "house of cards" that King County has built to violate the rights of the residents along East Lake Sammamish. The false claim to ownership allows the County to charge crossing fees for folks to cross their own land. The false claim of ownership justifies the ridiculously high price the County paid to TLC. The false claim of ownership allows the County to ignore the rights of the residents under RCW 64.04.180, and the right to eminent domain. The false claim to ownership partially explains the County's arrogant and inconsiderate treatment of the residents along the lake. When it is shown that the claim to ownership is a fraud, the foundation crumbles and the house of cards comes down. Hopefully it will also bring down the dishonest individuals that are responsible for its construction.

          Mr. Maleng, if you would like to meet with me to discuss this, please reply by e-mail, otherwise I'll begin a campaign to bring the tax fraud issue to a formal investigation. This letter is addressed only to you. I may discuss it with others, generally, but will not forward it to anyone until the end of this week. You have until then to respond, if you chose.

          Sincerely,

          John Rasmussen
          johnras@attglobal.net (Please reply to this address in addition to the address indicated above.)



Subject: That Wacky King County Journal
From: John Rasmussen
To: ELST Trail Friends
CC: barbara.morgan@kingcountyjournal.com; craig.groshart@kingcountyjournal.com; peter.horvitz@kingcountyjournal.com;
Date: Sunday, October 09, 2005 6:16 AM

Dear Friends,

I wrote a sarcastic editorial to the Journal several days ago. As you all should know, Judge Rothstein didn't do any research when she decided that Hilchkanum wrote the deeds to the railway. She just manufactured that fact, and ignored all the documents we submitted indicating just the opposite. Her decision covered up the federal tax fraud scheme involving BNSF, King County, Arthur Andersen, and several lawyers fromthe Rails to Trails Conservancy.

We were not allowed toshow Rothstein was very wrong. We were not allowed to establish the facts in court. That is a constitutional right in our courts...but not for us.

Anyway, the King County Journal printed "my" editorial today.Here is a link to the Journal editorial:

    Letter to the Editor "Honor Bill Hilchkanum", October 9, 2005

At the bottom of this message I copy the letter that I submitted. Themost important paragraph in my editorial submission was deleted, completely changing the character of the letter. The Journal printed the setup paragraph and deleted the important one.

The whole point of my editorial submission was to shine a light on the non-existent research by a very crooked judge, and the dishonest support of her ridiculous decision by the higher courts. I suggested her "extensive research" be taught in our schools. There wasn't any research.

The King County Journal can't figure out that the right of way decisions are completely bogus, but a class of sixth graders could. If a high school class looked at whatRothstein did, the next generationmight have an understanding of how the truthgets twisted around in our society...and our newspapers. As you can see, below, mykey paragraph was deleted, turning the editorial into a completely different letter.

You would think that the Journal would ask my permission before it completely alters the point ofmy editorial submissionand prints the altered version with my name "signed" at the bottom.

As, Paul Harvey says, "...and now you have the rest of the story".

-John-

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: John Rasmussen
    Date: Oct 5, 2005 11:56 AM
    Subject: Letter to the Editor Submission
    To: craig.groshart@kingcountyjournal.com

    With the East Lake Sammamish Trail set to open later this year, it is time to give it a name. I would like to suggest naming it "The Hilchkanum Trail". Bill Hilchkanum was a Native American, and former member of the Duwamish Tribe, who homesteaded along Lake Sammamish in the late 1800's. The history of this remarkable American Indian came to light in the research involved in establishing King County's present ownership of the right of way land. Apparently, Federal Judge Barbara Rothstein has completed an in-depth study of this man's life and found that he became essentially a self taught lawyer. She discovered that he was an expert in the language used in Homesteading law, and also an expert in deed language. This is amazing for a Native that was born in a tribal setting, first spoke only his native tongue, and yet transitioned into white society to the point that he became a community leader. Rothstein discovered that Hilchkanum not only wrote his own deed, donating his land to the railroad, but that deed became the same deed form that was used by all of his white neighbors to donate their land. This is even more remarkable when we understand that Hilchkanum was illiterate in the English language, unable to even sign his own name.

    We need to invite Judge Rothstein to present her extensive research, as it documents the success of a Native American in white society at time that other Natives were reeling from their relocation to reservations and the destruction their native culture. Judge Rothstein's research has been validated by the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and, also, the Washington State Supreme Court. We need to teach the success of Bill Hilchkanum in our schools in order to better understand the contribution of Native Americans in Washington Territory in the 1800's.

    The new trail along East Lake Sammamish will pass through the original Hilchkanum homestead. We should honor this remarkable man by naming the new trail "The Hilchkanum Trail".



Subject: "Make Enron repay billions it took from us"
From: John Rasmussen
To: barbara.morgan@kingcountyjournal.com; craig.groshart@kingcountyjournal.com; greg.heberlein@kingcountyjournal.com; john.perry@kingcountyjournal.com; peter.horvitz@kingcountyjournal.com; tom.wolfe@kingcountyjournal.com; chris.winters@kingcountyjournal.com
Date: Tuesday, June 08, 2004 8:29 AM

King County Journal:

It was entertaining to read your editorial "Make Enron repay billions it took from us".

If you really believe that those responsible for Enron should pay it back, take up a collection around your newsroom. You see, it takes a village for the Enron Scandal to happen. It isn't just the crooked executives and employees at Enron that are to blame. It is also those that participated in the preliminary crimes that led to the full Enron fraud. The Journal was informed about a local Arthur Andersen tax fraud scheme four years ago, but refused to report it to the public. If Arthur Andersen had been prosecuted for that crime, there may have never been an Enron.

Arthur Andersen provided a grossly inflated appraisal for the East Lake Sammamish right of way. Burlington Northern used that fraudulent appraisal to rip off the American taxpayers for about $15 million. Every member of the leadership of King County was informed of this crime more that four years ago, yet the County has accepted the donation of the right of way, enabling BNSF to take the massive fraudulent write-off. Your newspaper has known about this crime for four years and refuses to report it to the public. It takes a village.

The journal has played an important part in the Enron Scandal, and now you point your finger at select few to place the blame.

Sleep well.

-John Rasmussen-

907-229-9493



Subject: East Lake Sammamish Trail
From: John Rasmussen
To: chris.winters@kingcountyjournal.com
CC: peter.horvitz@kingcountyjournal.com ; barbara.morgan@kingcountyjournal.com ; craig.groshart@kingcountyjournal.com
Date: Monday, April 12, 2004 11:12 AM

Hello Chris Winters,

Thanks for returning my call last Thursday,April 8th.

I'd just like to summarize our discussion so that I can understand the response of your newspaper to my emailof the 5th.

First you told me that the King County Journal doesn't cover the federal courts. I pointed out that this is not about the federal courts, but rather about the participation of the leadership of King County in an Arthur Andersenfederal tax fraud scheme more that four years ago. The participation is spelled out in publicdocuments and the facts can be verified, yet your paper has not reported the story.

Then you told me that the staff has been cut at the newspaper to the point that you don't have the resources to report the story. You claim you cannot cover King County with your present staff,but you are still willing toprint dishonest statements released by King County, and not willing to balance your articles with facts that show the County to be lying. Your handlingof ELST is an absolute dream come true forNorm Maleng and the leadership of King County.

I believe that the protections of freedom of the press come with the responsibility for newspapers to discover and write the truth. In our modern society,freedom of the presshasevolved intoonly a privilege...forthe pressto use to duck responsibility for shoddy reporting.

The federal tax fraud scheme along Lake Sammamish cannot be successful without your cooperation. Your willingness to not report the truth to your readership is critical to the fraud being successful. After all, in King County, who prosecutes the Prosecutor? Answer: Nobody.

By the way, some cracks in wall that holds back the truth of ELST are starting to show. The Ray case,which brings the same ownership issue of the ELST underlying land to state court, recently cleared the Court of Appeals. Two of the appeals court judgesessentially copied the ridiculous decision of Federal Judge Rothstein against me (King County v. Rasmussen). However, there is a dissenting opinion from the Ray appeals court decision that makes many of the same points that I brought in my complaint of judicial misconduct against the 9th Circuit judges. That dissenting opinion is correct with respect to the law, and will be in front of the Washington State Supreme Courtwith the appeal. In that dissenting opinion, the Washington State Appeals Court judge analyzedthe Rothstein and Fletcher9th Circuit decisions and concluded "For reasons discussed above, I disagree with the Rasmussen court's analysis." I know you don't have any time to research what you write in the Journal, but I attach that dissenting opinion, anyway, on the chance you would like to compare my complaint of judicial misconduct with that Court of Appeals dissenting opinion. I don't believe there is any waythat appeals court dissenting judge could have read my complaint against the federal judges,yet he trashes the Court of Appeals majority opinion with the same points I make in my judicial complaint. We came to the same conclusions because it is the law.

Since you claim your newspaper doesn't have the resources to pursue this story, you should at least add a disclaimer toyour ELST articles to let your readership know that you are just a mouth for the County.

Chris, you seem to be a nice guy. If your newspaper won't let you report the truth, perhaps it's time to move on.

Regards, John Rasmussen

    Forwarded Email: Open Email to Eastside Journal Staff, April 5, 2004, in a separate window.

    Attachment: Open Ray v. King County, Dissenting Opinion, March 15, 2004, in a separate window.



Subject: ELST
From: John Rasmussen
To: peter.horvitz@kingcountyjournal.com ; barbara.morgan@kingcountyjournal.com ; craig.groshart@kingcountyjournal.com ; chris.winters@kingcountyjournal.com
Date: Monday, April 05, 2004 9:49 AM

Hello King County Journal,

Take a look at the attached complaint of judicial misconduct. It was filed with the 9th Circuit in early February of this year, and acknowledged by the Clerk.

I've accused two Seattle based federal judges of treason...so, on that basis alone, you should be able to dismiss me as a crank. But, what if I'm right?

If you believe that a newspaper should check and report the facts, start doing your job. You're protected by freedom of the press...and what has happened along East Lake Sammamish is exactly why we have freedom of the press.

Directly below, I've attached a letter I wrote to your newspaper more than four years ago. Scroll down a bit and take a look at the attachment to that letter addressed to the leadership of King County on Feb 7, 2000. Perhaps there wouldn't have been an Enron scandal if you had investigated and reported the facts then.

Regards, John Rasmussen

    ------------------------------------------------
    ATTACHMENT:
    Attached Letter to Eastside Journal (King County Journal) reporter Tim Larson
    Dated: February 9, 2000
    ------------------------------------------------

    Subject: [Fwd: ELST "The Trail of Shame"]
    Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2000 22:53:10 -0800
    From: John Rasmussen
    To: "Larson, Tim"

    Hi Tim,

    I got your phone message. Kathy Schroeder wrote me earlier in the day that you were working on a front page story about the ELST ownership issue for this weekend. She suggested I forward the attached letters addressed to Maleng, Sims and Council.

    As you know, I have been questioning the County's claim to ownership of my property under the ELST easement. Perhaps the attached letter will cause you to ask the same questions of the County that I have. Nobody has replied to my letter, or even acknowledged it. Perhaps the questions need to be asked publicly.

    In the 1800's much of the west was settled with the government giving away land...homesteading. Now, we are having a kind of reverse homesteading...the taking back of property by the "government". It isn't actually the government that is taking the property, but rather the politicians. Politicians that can further their careers by stealing land from some of their constituents and giving it to the community as a whole. These are politicians that don't have the moral courage to ask their community to pay for the taking from an individual, when it is for the common good. We have laws that prohibit this, but when a politician turns the resources of the community against a few individuals, the individuals suffer. I know. That's what is happening here with ELST. The legal system isn't effective to deal with it. It's been sixteen years since the rails-to-trails act was passed, and nobody has received compensation for the taking of their property under this act. Thousands of folks have suffered by these takings. You can now add to that list, the residents of about four hundred homes along East Lake Sammamish.

    On September 11th, 1998, Burlington Northern made a "donation" of around $40,000,000 to the people of King County. This was probably the largest "donation" to the people of King County up to that time. Yet there was no ceremony, no publicity, no public mention of this from the officials at County government. It's hard to believe that a "donation" of that magnitude was not recognized. It's hard to believe that officials from BNSF weren't invited to Seattle and given the keys to the County. The only reason that I can think the County officials would have the poor manners to not acknowledge such a large donation, is that there is something "fishy" about it. Perhaps my letter asks some questions that Norm Maleng and the County leadership need to answer. Not only answer, but provide documentation.

    I'm off my soapbox now. I'm out of town until after the 20th. I can converse via e-mail, and would enjoy that.

    Also, Kathy left a phone message, late today, that "Craig Grosshart" from your paper is working on a similar editorial. I have no idea if I spelled his name correctly, but if you can figure out who I mean, would you please forward this letter, with attachment, to him?

    Regards, John

    John Rasmussen
    johnras@attglobal.net

      -----------Attachment-------------

      Subject: ELST "The Trail of Shame"
      Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 11:57:37 -0800
      From: John Rasmussen
      Reply-To: issyras@attglobal.net
      To: "Sims, Ron" , "Fimia, Maggi" , "Sullivan, Cynthia" , "Miller, Louise" , "Phillips, Larry" , "Pelz, Dwight" , "McKenna, Rob" , "vonReichbauer, Pete" , "Nickels, Greg" , "Pullen, Kent" , "Gossett, Larry" , "Hague, Jane" , "Vance, Chris" , David Irons
      CC: "Locke, Gary" , Phil Dyer , Jack Barry , Troy Romero , Don Gerend , Kathy Huckabay , Ron Haworth , "Reichert, Dave"

      Dear Mr. Sims and Council:

      I sent the letter copied below to Mr. Maleng last Monday. He chose to not respond.

      The letter points to evidence of unethical or even criminal behavior by King County government. I believe I have a right to have some answers about the actions of the County because of the negative effect they have on my family.

      Would you please review the information below and respond by the end of this week?

      Sincerely,

      John Rasmussen

      Reply to: johnras@attglobal.net

        ------------------------------------------------------------

        Mr. Norm Maleng, Prosecuting Attorney
        King County, Washington
        Monday, 31 Jan 2000

        Dear Mr. Maleng,

        I believe you, and other lawyers in the King County Prosecutor's Office, may have behaved criminally in the purchase of the ELST railroad easement. Further, as a result, I believe that you and your department have violated my rights.

        Attached at the bottom, is a copy of a letter I received from your office this last week. It is interesting that when I finally got a response from you, it was to a letter addressed to David Irons, not you. I didn't send a copy of the Irons letter to you because I had given up after eight months of attempting to get explanations from you and your department.

        It appears to me that you responded to that letter because I expressed my concern that your department may be involved in tax fraud with respect to the ELST transaction. I'm not accusing you of that crime, I'm pointing to evidence that would justify a formal investigation. I will not stand by and let you defraud the American taxpayer and violate my family's rights. I intend to take this to the federal government, the press, or anywhere else that will resolve it. In fairness to you, I will lay out what I have, tell you how I believe this adds up to tax fraud, and let you respond.

        I believe there is evidence that BNSF, TLC and King County knew that all the land under the ELST railroad easement was not owned, fee simple, by BNSF. I believe there is evidence that, knowing this, TLC and King County provided proof of a donation of that land so BNSF could claim a phony write-off of about $40,000,000 with the IRS. A phony donation of $40 million would rip-off the American taxpayer for around $15,000,000. If it happened, some folks should spend some time in prison, and some lawyers should lose their right to practice law. Are you one of those people?

        Here is the sequence that brings up the question of federal tax fraud, as I see it:

        1. BNSF instructed their appraiser to value the easement land, fee simple. I have a copy of the appraisal by Arthur Andersen, dated 12/10/96. About nine pages in, is a sheet labeled "Special Assumptions and Limiting Conditions". It's one paragraph long, and the last sentence reads: "Because the condition of the title is unknown, we assumed fee simple title at the clients request."

        2. BNSF then got TLC to acknowledge a phony donation. I only have an early draft copy of the transfer between BNSF and TLC. However, I suspect that the basic issues of the final agreement are shown there. I would need all the final agreements between these parties to prove anything, but this is enough to question the transaction. My copy is of poor quality, and impossible to read in spots. I believe it states: "TLCSKC acknowledges that the fair market value of the Rail Line is $41.7 million pursuant to an independent appraisal of the Rail Line...". That ties the sale document to the Arthur Andersen appraisal which valued the line at $41.7 million, also. Further, in print that is very unclear, there is reference to "Internal Revenue Service Form ????". This would make me suspect that TLC agreed to certify the donation to the IRS.

        3. King County then acknowledged the same phony donation. I have a copy of the TLC-KC sale dated 9/11/98. This is very general about the "bargain sale", but refers to all of (TLC's) "right, title and interest (with certain exceptions described herein)...". This would tie King County to TLC-BNSF agreement, and the tax rip-off.

        4. King County knew the ownership by BNSF was in question before certifying the donation. I have been told that in the title insurance policy for the transaction, the title company refused to certify that King County owns the land under the easement. I haven't seen that document. Also, if I understand correctly, there is an appraisal that King County commissioned, that questioned the ownership of the land under the easement. Those two written warnings to the County, in addition to statements made in the Arthur Andersen appraisal, indicate to me that King County was well aware of the ownership question before they signed the papers of sale, and certified the donation.

        As we all well know, the County has been "in bed" with TLC from the beginning. I understand that TLC was set up as a middle man in the transaction because the County could not legally buy a railroad, and TLC was used to work around that requirement. TLC is headed by a former County bureaucrat. The County bought the easement from TLC less than a day after it was purchased from BNSF. Therefore, your department undoubtedly was aware of the conditions of the BNSF-TLC sale, if fraud was involved, and if TLC actually agreed to certify the donation to the IRS. As I said above, I haven't seen those final documents, only an early draft. Perhaps you would provide those final documents to me. My guess is that, even if BNSF didn't take the tax write-off, the actions of your office can be shown to be very unethical.

        I believe that is enough information to justify an investigation. I would be in a better position to decide what to do, if I had more information. Perhaps you would be willing to help in that respect. If you have nothing to hide, it will be easier for you to deal with this now.

        The ownership issue is the foundation of the "house of cards" that King County has built to violate the rights of the residents along East Lake Sammamish. The false claim to ownership allows the County to charge crossing fees for folks to cross their own land. The false claim of ownership justifies the ridiculously high price the County paid to TLC. The false claim of ownership allows the County to ignore the rights of the residents under RCW 64.04.180, and the right to eminent domain. The false claim to ownership partially explains the County's arrogant and inconsiderate treatment of the residents along the lake. When it is shown that the claim to ownership is a fraud, the foundation crumbles and the house of cards comes down. Hopefully it will also bring down the dishonest individuals that are responsible for its construction.

        Mr. Maleng, if you would like to meet with me to discuss this, please reply by e-mail, otherwise I'll begin a campaign to bring the tax fraud issue to a formal investigation. This letter is addressed only to you. I may discuss it with others, generally, but will not forward it to anyone until the end of this week. You have until then to respond, if you chose.

        Sincerely,

        John Rasmussen
        johnras@attglobal.net (Please reply to this address in addition to the address indicated above.)

        Attachment: Open Complaint of Judicial Misconduct to the Ninth Circuit, February 10, 2004, in a separate window.



Subject: Enron, WorldCom, ELST
From: John Rasmussen
To: letterstoeditor@eastsidejournal.com
Date: Monday, September 30, 2002 11:12 AM

The conventional wisdom about Enron and WorldCom style scandals is that they are caused exclusively by greedy corporate executives and accountants. It's not that simple. Responsibility for these scandals runs much deeper and lies, in part, with our politicians, our judges, and ultimately us.

The events associated with the establishment of the East Lake Sammamish Trail are an example. Evidence strongly suggests that Burlington Northern railbanked the East Lake Sammamish right of way on the condition that The Land Conservancy and the leadership of King County would agree to accept a phony tax donation and certify it to the IRS. BNSF hired Arthur Andersen to appraise the right of way for $41.7 million. This was a ridiculously overvalued appraisal, at least three times its actual worth. King County's own appraisal was for less that $14 million. Norm Maleng, the King County prosecutor, and Gary Locke, then the County executive, were faced with the moral decision of turning over this evidence of federal tax fraud for prosecution, or turning their backs and simply allowing the fraud to happen. Apparently, they chose to do the latter. Had Gary Locke, Norm Maleng, and a number of other politicians dealt honestly with this fraud several years ago there likely would never have been an Enron scandal because Arthur Andersen would have already been exposed and prosecuted for its unethical accounting practices.

This fraudulent tax write-off by Burlington Northern has cost the American taxpayers somewhere between $9 million to $15 million in lost taxes. More important, it is likely only the tip of the iceberg with respect to this railbanking tax fraud scheme, nationwide. Two of the individuals associated with the ELST transactions are present or former officers of the national organization, The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. It would appear that federal tax fraud is the financial engine that drives the establishment of these bicycle trails. We greatly need public parks and trails, but they should be established honestly, without passing on exorbitant, unnecessary, costs to the next generation through these federal tax fraud schemes.

The saddest aspect of this event is that the fraud was spelled out to a federal judge in a related lawsuit. She struck the evidence on a technical motion by Norm Maleng's office, refusing to consider it, and failing to forward it to the U.S. Attorney for investigation. Had this judge turned the material over for investigation and federal prosecution, there may have not have been an Enron scandal.

If we want our children to inherit a governmental system based on the law and honesty, we not only have to prosecute dishonest corporate executives and accountants, but also the politicians and judges that have actively participated in these crimes or turned their backs knowing these crimes are happening.

John Rasmussen

johnras@attglobal.net

1043 Lingon Berry Court, B3
Anchorage, AK 99515

907-229-9493



Subject: Phonecall on April 27th.
From: John Rasmussen
To: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com, J.J. Sandlin
Date: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 9:55 AM

Hi Tim and J.J.,

Tim, I just got back to Sammamish after two weeks away and found your message on my phone answering machine. You indicated that you had tried to contact J.J. Sandlin about the trail and wasn't able to get through. J.J. is my lawyer, but more than that, a very close friend for forty years. J.J. will answer your questions about the trail. I'm taking a low profile with the newspapers, now, because we are in federal court against the county and I'm not willing to anger the judge by attempting to try the case in public.

I send this to both of you on the possibility each of you is waiting for the other to call.

J.J. Sandlin Office: 509-829-3111

Tim Larson: 425-453-4228

Regards, John

John Rasmussen



Subject: Re: The Trail
From: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
To: John Rasmussen
Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2000 5:11 PM

John----

Thanks for the followup note. I'm glad you think I got the basics right.

Give me a call or send me a note if you have any other stuff to pass on --- even if it's not earthshaking. I need to be reminded about this story from time to time.

Regards,

Tim.



    [Note from John Rasmussen: This email relates to an Eastside Journal article written by Tim Larson on 2-22-2000. "East Lake Sammamish Trail Corridor: Rail-trail title dispute chugs toward courts: Deed expert sides with homeowners, says county doesn't own right of way"]

Subject: Re: The Trail
From: John Rasmussen
To: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2000 3:41 PM

Hi Tim,

Needless to say, I was surprised to see your article in today's paper after writing the note to you last night. That is a great article. On first reading, factually correct as far as I can see.

My rant on reporters "getting it right" goes back to when I was a "reporter" for my 4H club in Eastern Washington...a "couple" of years back. I sent in a letter about a meeting we had, and all the facts were mixed up when the article was published in the Tri-City Herald. I've often wondered if some burned-out reporter changed the facts just out of boredom. Since then, I've seen so much inaccurate reporting on airplane crashes...especially the first reports.

I didn't think the County was putting pressure on you, personally, to not publish. But I did wonder if, somehow, pressure was being applied to the newspaper. I've never had to deal with lawyers, politicians, and bureaucrats until now. I've become very cynical about their motives, and believe they would influence the newspaper if they could. I've come to the conclusion that they have no intention of being forthright and honest about what is going on with ELST. Further, that they believe this sort of behavior is their rightful option in public office.

Thanks for your perspective on the ability of the County to influence this story.

Without sucking-up too much, I think you got it right in your article today. I laughed when I saw you got the run-around from BNSF. I tried to get some information about the phony donation out of them, and they wouldn't even answer. At least you got a reply from them. The person I tried to contact there was Ms. Sarah Bailiff. I was told, last May, that she was the lawyer there who could answer my questions about the ELST donation, but she refused to reply.

I hope you and your paper find this story worthy of further investigation. When the County finally has to admit that they were wrong about the ownership issue, there will still be the larger question of their taking responsibility for all their actions against the landowners along the Lake. I believe the County is legally liable for the harm caused to us for establishing a trail easement. I think that the federal law only withholds abandonment of the rail easement, and leaves the trail sponsor responsible for the other legal liabilities. But, what do I know? I just got that impression by reading the law.

Nice going!

-John-



    [Note from John Rasmussen: This email relates to an Eastside Journal article written by Tim Larson on 2-22-2000. "East Lake Sammamish Trail Corridor: Rail-trail title dispute chugs toward courts: Deed expert sides with homeowners, says county doesn't own right of way"]

Subject: Re: The Trail
From: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
To: John Rasmussen
Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2000 12:01 PM

John-----

Article is in today's paper. Let me know if I made any factual mistakes.

Regarding the county getting to the paper: I've been here a year...and not once has anyone put any pressure on me to stay away from any story --- unless they thought it was boring. I've been surprised how many people think Mike Lindblom has been scared off the trail story.

Can't imagine that's the case. It could be that the Times thinks he's done enough on what they perceive as a story with narrow interest in their readership area. It could also be that Lindblom thinks the county's right...and there isn't much of a story there. But I can't imagine he's been scared or pressured off the story.

Lindblom and most reporters don't make much money. Threatening to take away their paycheck isn't much of a threat. They didn't become reporters to serve the interests of the county, the corporation, or their editor's political perspective. They became reporters because it's FUN to chase a story, regardless of whose political perspective it helps or hurts.

At least, that's my perspective. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Regards,

Tim



Subject: Re: The Trail
From: John Rasmussen
To: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2000 12:06 AM

Hi Tim,

I'm back in town.

Why didn't the EJ publish your article about the land ownership issue along the trail?

My experience is that reporters hardly ever get it right when they write a story. Hopefully you're different, and decided to learn more facts before your write. I'm an optimist. If I were a pessimist, I would wonder if someone at the County got to the Paper and talked the publisher out of printing the story.

Let me know what's going on.

-John-



Subject: Re: The Trail
From: John Rasmussen
To: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com, Dick Welsh
Date: Thursday, February 10, 2000 8:55 PM

Hi Tim,

Just got your message as I was trying to tie up loose ends prior to flying to Tokyo tomorrow morning.

Dick Welsh filed the whistle blower claim with the IRS on the BNSF transaction. Why don't you call, or e-mail, him if you need information for this weekend's paper. He can answer the other questions for you, too.

I have lots of trouble resting on international trips, and am hesitant to commit to a time to talk, when it might be the only time I can sleep.

I'll answer your letter more fully during the trip, but won't be able to help you, right now, for your Sunday deadline.

I'll forward our correspondence to Dick Welsh, on the chance you would like to talk to him.

Regards, John



Subject: The Trail
From: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
To: John Rasmussen
Date: Thursday, February 10, 2000 5:43 PM

John-----

Thanks for the e-mail. I wish I had two weeks to sort this story out.

Any chance I could connect with you on the phone, so I could get some quotes from you? Maybe we could set up a phone appointment?

Meanwhile, could you e-mail me some very brief responses to the following questions:

Do we know for sure BN got that huge tax write-off?

What do landowners do to ask for compensation for their land. A court of appeals remedy? I know nobody has been compensated, but what's the procedure?

In very simple, brief terms: What did BN get out of this deal? What did the county get? What did the Land Conservancy get?

Thanks,

Tim Larson
w)425-453-4228
h)425-746-7866



Subject: [Fwd: ELST "The Trail of Shame"]
From: John Rasmussen
To: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
Date: Wednesday, February 09, 2000 11:53 PM

Hi Tim,

I got your phone message. Kathy Schroeder wrote me earlier in the day that you were working on a front page story about the ELST ownership issue for this weekend. She suggested I forward the attached letters addressed to Maleng, Sims and Council.

As you know, I have been questioning the County's claim to ownership of my property under the ELST easement. Perhaps the attached letter will cause you to ask the same questions of the County that I have. Nobody has replied to my letter, or even acknowledged it. Perhaps the questions need to be asked publicly.

In the 1800's much of the west was settled with the government giving away land...homesteading. Now, we are having a kind of reverse homesteading...the taking back of property by the "government". It isn't actually the government that is taking the property, but rather the politicians. Politicians that can further their careers by stealing land from some of their constituents and giving it to the community as a whole. These are politicians that don't have the moral courage to ask their community to pay for the taking from an individual, when it is for the common good. We have laws that prohibit this, but when a politician turns the resources of the community against a few individuals, the individuals suffer. I know. That's what is happening here with ELST. The legal system isn't effective to deal with it. It's been sixteen years since the rails-to-trails act was passed, and nobody has received compensation for the taking of their property under this act. Thousands of folks have suffered by these takings. You can now add to that list, the residents of about four hundred homes along East Lake Sammamish.

On September 11th, 1998, Burlington Northern made a "donation" of around $40,000,000 to the people of King County. This was probably the largest "donation" to the people of King County up to that time. Yet there was no ceremony, no publicity, no public mention of this from the officials at County government. It's hard to believe that a "donation" of that magnitude was not recognized. It's hard to believe that officials from BNSF weren't invited to Seattle and given the keys to the County. The only reason that I can think the County officials would have the poor manners to not acknowledge such a large donation, is that there is something "fishy" about it. Perhaps my letter asks some questions that Norm Maleng and the County leadership need to answer. Not only answer, but provide documentation.

I'm off my soapbox now. I'm out of town until after the 20th. I can converse via e-mail, and would enjoy that.

Also, Kathy left a phone message, late today, that "Craig Grosshart" from your paper is working on a similar editorial. I have no idea if I spelled his name correctly, but if you can figure out who I mean, would you please forward this letter, with attachment, to him?

Regards, John

John Rasmussen
johnras@attglobal.net

    Attached Letter: Open Letter to King County Leadership, February 7, 2000, in a separate window.



Subject: Re: Your phone call.
From: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
To: John Rasmussen
Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2000 1:14 PM

Dear John-----

Thanks for the e-mail. I look forward to talking with you after you meet with Mr. Irons.

I know zip about land titles, etc....but this is starting to feel like a big story. It'll be fun to follow.

Regards,

Tim 453-4228



Subject: Your phone call.
From: John Rasmussen
To: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
Date: Monday, January 24, 2000 10:24 PM

Hi Tim,

I got the message you left on my answer machine this afternoon.

I received an e-mail from David Irons earlier today, and my wife talked to him for a couple of minutes on the phone. Tentatively, David and I are going to talk about the letter I wrote him on the 18th, tomorrow afternoon.

I'll call you after I talk to him. You are always welcome to call me.

Regards, John

John Rasmussen



Subject: "The Trail of Shame" (ELST)
From: John Rasmussen
To: Larson, tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
Date: Saturday, January 22, 2000 10:20 AM

Dear Tim,

I've just read your report in today's Eastside Journal.

Attached is a letter that I wrote to David Irons earlier this week. It outlines a number of reasons that King County is falsely claiming ownership of all the land under the BNSF right-of-way.

It's sixteen years after the Rails-to-Trails Act was passed, and no reversionary landowner, nationwide, has received compensation for his taking under this act, to my knowledge. The reason for this is that the railroads, trail groups and local governments conspire to deny these folks their rights. It's happening here in King County.

I've written to every official in the County and State that could look into the County's violations, and have not found one that can give a meaningful explanation, or will stand up for our rights. The actions of the County against the reversionary owners along East Lake Sammamish are illegal, immoral, arrogant, and mean spirited. Let's call ELST what it truly is, "The Trail of Shame".

John Rasmussen
1605 E. Lake Sammamish Place S.E. Sammamish

    Attachment: Open Letter to David Irons, January 18, 2000, in a separate window.



Subject: East Lake Sammamish Trail, Draft EIS
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 15:36:45 -0800
From: Rasmussen issyras@attglobal.net
To: dcfm.sepacomments@metrokc.gov
CC: Fimia, Maggi maggi.fimia@metrokc.gov; Sullivan, Cynthia cynthia.sullivan@metrokc.gov; Miller, Louise louise.miller@metrokc.gov; Phillips, Larry larry.phillips@metrokc.gov; Pelz, Dwight dwight.pelz@metrokc.gov; McKenna, Rob rob.mckenna@metrokc.gov; vonReichbauer, Pete pete.vonreichbauer@metrokc.gov; Nickels, greg greg.nickels@metrokc.gov; pullen, kent kent.pullen@metrokc.gov; Gossett, Larry larry.gossett@metrokc.gov; hague, jane jane.hague@metrokc.gov; derdowski, brian brian.derdowski@metrokc.gov; Vance, Chris chris.vance@metrokc.gov; Locke, Gary Governor.Locke@Governor.wa.gov; Sims, Ron ron.sims@metrokc.gov; Maleng, Norm Norm.Maleng@metrokc.gov; Vesely jves-new@seatimes.com; Eastside Journal letterstoeditor@eastsidejournal.com; Issaquah Press isspress@accessone.com; Seattle Times opinion@seatimes.com; Dyer HonPDyer5@aol.com

To: Cheryl Fambles Director, Department of Construction Facilities and Management
From: John Rasmussen 1605 E. Lk. Sammamish Place S.E., Sammamish, WA
Subject: Written Comments on the Draft EIS, East Lake Sammamish Trail

Dear Ms. Fambles,

My wife and I own the land under the railroad easement across our property on East Lake Sammamish. The easement allows only railroad use. If you want to put a trail on that easement, you must deal with the ownership issue first. This is required of you by Washington State law and the Washington State Constitution. There will be no further compromise or good will involved in the resolution of this issue. King County leadership has been reminded of this situation many times without any resulting discussion or resolution, and you now inherit the results of their illegal and immoral behavior. Do not step foot on the railroad easement for purposes of the trail without our permission.

Perhaps a short history will help you understand this situation. Burlington Northern owned only three or four properties along Lake Sammamish, fee simple, but falsely claimed they owned all the property under the twelve mile easement. When the railroad was sold to TLC, and then King County, Burlington Northern transferred what it actually owned for a more than fair price, and then they got TLC and King County to acknowledge a phony donation of the remainder of the easement property. This "donation" allowed BN a tax write-off of about $40,000,000 for land they did not own, with the written acknowledgment of King County. I don't have the political power, time, or money necessary to prove this in court, but there is no other explanation for these actions. This is common in Rails-to-Trials transactions because the U.S. Congress gave great leverage to the railroads, and local officials compromise their principles and the law to get their trails. I don't know if the officials of King County are incompetent or if they are crooks, with respect to this crime. If they are knowingly part of this fraud, those King County officials need to take responsibility for their illegal actions. This would include Gary Locke, Ron Sims, Norm Maleng and the Council.

Ms. Fambles, perhaps you could help me here. Do you think your bosses at King County are incompetent, or do you think they are crooks and should be in prison? There really isn't another choice.

Continuing on with the this sad saga, after our "leaders" at King County enabled Burlington Northern to rip-off the American taxpayer for about $15,000,000, the County essentially excluded the reversionary landowners from the trail planning process. We were banned from the Citizens Advisory Group. At a meeting I attended, public comments were timed with a stopwatch, and the speaker cutoff after two minutes. King County is stealing over $500,000 in property from my wife and me, and we're allowed two minutes to address this very complex issue. Every letter I've written has essentially been ignored. The idea that we have been allowed to be part of the process is absurd.

It's easy to understand why King County officials have taken this course. If King County can claim ownership of the land under the right-of-way, it doesn't have to worry about RCW 64.04.180/190. Those laws require payment to the reversionary owners before a trail can be established. Further, King County, TLC, and Burlington Northern are going to be in a lot of trouble if it gets proved they conspired to defraud the American taxpayer for millions. I believe they are counting on their teams of lawyers, their political power, and the complexity of this legal issue to keep them out of prison. Of course the best part of this scam is that it is left to the individual landowners, such as my wife and me, to deal with the situation. They count on the public at large to not care what dishonesty has transpired as long as they get their bicycle trail. "The end justifies the means." Sadly, this has become King County's motto.

So, Ms. Fambles, you now inherit this mess. I warn you again. Do not step foot on my reversionary property until you pay compensation for the taking, as required by law. If your employees decide to enter my property, I will assume they are there for illegal purposes and use whatever force is necessary to protect myself, and eject them. I've tried very hard to not be put in this situation. I have been very straightforward and tried to deal with this for months, while King County has tried to hide their crooked dealings from the public and stonewalled every effort by me to resolve the issue. There is no longer any compromise or goodwill left.

Sincerely,

John Rasmussen



Subject: ELST-Crime in Progress
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999 08:12:50 -0700
From: Rasmussen issyras@ibm.net
To: "Reichert, Dave" dave.reichert@metrokc.gov
CC: Sims, Ron ron.sims@metrokc.gov; Fimia, Maggi maggi.fimia@metrokc.gov; Sullivan, Cynthia cynthia.sullivan@metrokc.gov; Miller, Louise louise.miller@metrokc.gov; Phillips, Larry larry.phillips@metrokc.gov; Pelz, Dwight dwight.pelz@metrokc.gov; McKenna, Rob rob.mckenna@metrokc.gov; vonReichbauer, Pete pete.vonreichbauer@metrokc.gov; Nickels, Greg greg.nickels@metrokc.gov; Pullen, Kent kent.pullen@metrokc.gov; Gossett, Larry larry.gossett@metrokc.gov; Hague, Jane jane.hague@metrokc.gov; Derdowski, Brian brian.derdowski@metrokc.gov; Vance, Chris chris.vance@metrokc.gov; Locke, Gary Governor.Locke@Governor.wa.gov; elst@metrokc.gov elst@metrokc.gov; al.dams@metrokc.gov al.dams@metrokc.gov; David Eldred david.eldred@metrokc.gov; Dyer HonPDyer5@aol.com; Vesely jves-new@seatimes.com; Eastside Journal letterstoeditor@eastsidejournal.com; Issaquah Press isspress@accessone.com; Seattle Times opinion@seatimes.com

Dear Sheriff Reichert,

I'd like to report a crime in progress on East Lake Sammamish, and express my concern that you may be one of the criminals.

Your boss, Mr. Ron Sims, and the King County Council are intending to steal over $500,000 in property from my wife and me, in direct violation of Washington State Law. This involves the taking of my land for a recreation trail, the ELST. My wife and I own reversionary land along Lake Sammamish that has an easement for railroad use. The County has expressed their willingness to steal that land rather than obey the law and compensate us for the new easement that is required for the trail. I've written a number of letters to Mr. Sims, the Council, the Governor and to Mr. Eldred, the lawyer for ELST, demanding that they obey the law or explain to me why they are not. The only significant reply was from Mr. Eldred, stating in vague terms that this was not an issue. I've asked that he explicitly show where in the law he finds justification for his actions. He has refused to reply.

I do not intend to allow the County to take my land in violation of Washington State law. I've repeatedly notified the County to stay off my land for purposes of the trail, or to justify their actions to me. I should point out that the County presently holds the railroad easement that crosses my property and has the right to enter the land for that purpose. As you probably know, the County is presently removing the tracks and ties, an action allowed by that easement.

Sheriff Reichert, when the County enters my land in violation of Washington State law and I call 911 for assistance, are you going to be a law enforcement officer or a politician? Are you going to remove the County employees for illegal trespass, or are you going to illegally arrest me on phony charges? I ask you, now, to familiarize yourself with this situation and commit yourself to enforce the law. I don't want to get into a fight, but I'll defend my property against illegal confiscation by whatever force I can muster. It goes without saying that you have no moral or legal right to enforce an illegal action by the County. I have been very up front about this situation for months, and have yet to have any explanation or meaningful exchange from the County. It appears their plan is to simply ignore my legitimate protest, and steal my property. I will not allow that to happen. This needs to be dealt with now.

Do you place enforcement of the law above your loyalty to the King County leadership? Will you enforce the law and remove the County employees that illegally enter my reversionary property to establish the trail?

For reference, I list below the Washington State law that King County is ignoring, a quote from the Washington State Supreme Court, and quotes from the Washington State Constitution. I would be willing to quote for you the law King County is using to justify their actions, but they are unwilling to provide it to me.

Sincerely,

John Rasmussen

    Reference:

    RCW 64.04.180 Railroad properties as public utility and transportation corridors--Declaration of availability for public use--Acquisition of reversionary interest. Railroad properties, including but not limited to rights-of-way, land held in fee and used for railroad operations, bridges, tunnels, and other facilities, are declared to be suitable for public use upon cessation of railroad operations on the properties. It is in the public interest of the state of Washington that such properties retain their character as public utility and transportation corridors, and that they may be made available for public uses including highways, other forms of mass transportation, conservation, energy production or transmission, or recreation. Nothing in this section or in RCW 64.04.190 authorizes a public agency or utility to acquire reversionary interests in public utility and transportation corridors without payment of just compensation. [1988 c 16 1; 1984 c 143 22.]

    RCW 64.04.190 Public utility and transportation corridors-- Defined. Public utility and transportation corridors are railroad properties (1) on which railroad operations have ceased; (2) that have been found suitable for public use by an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States; and (3) that have been acquired by purchase, lease, donation, exchange, or other agreement by the state, one of its political subdivisions, or a public utility. [1988 c 16 2; 1984 c 143 23.]

    "King County cannot acquire the [ ] right of way from Burlington Northern without payment of just compensation to the reversionary interest holders. If the County takes this right of way and commences to build a recreation trail, it does so in violation of the constitution." (Quote from Lawson v. State, Washington State Supreme Court 1986)

    Washington State Constitution
    ARTICLE I, DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

    SECTION 3 PERSONAL RIGHTS.
    No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

    SECTION 16 EMINENT DOMAIN.
    Private property shall not be taken for private use, except for private ways of necessity, and for drains, flumes, or ditches on or across the lands of others for agricultural, domestic, or sanitary purposes. No private property shall be taken or damaged or public or private use without just compensation having been first made, or paid into court for the owner, and no right-of-way shall be appropriated to the use of any corporation other than municipal until full compensation therefor be first made in money, or ascertained and paid into court for the owner, irrespective of any benefit from any improvement proposed by such corporation, which compensation shall be ascertained by a jury, unless a jury be waived, as in other civil cases in courts of record, in the manner prescribed by law. Whenever an attempt is made to take private property for a use alleged to be public, the question whether the contemplated use be really public shall be a judicial question, and determined as such, without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public: Provided, That the taking of private property by the state for land reclamation and settlement purposes is hereby declared to be for public use.[AMENDMENT 9, 1919 p 385 Section 1. Approved November, 1920.]



Subject: East Lake Sammamish Trail
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 1999 09:55:25 -0700
From: Rasmussen issyras@ibm.net
To: "Eldred, David" david.eldred@metrokc.gov
CC: "Sims, Ron" ron.sims@metrokc.gov, "Locke, Gary" Governor.Locke@Governor.wa.gov, "Fimia, Maggi" maggi.fimia@metrokc.gov, "Sullivan, Cynthia" cynthia.sullivan@metrokc.gov, "Miller, Louise" louise.miller@metrokc.gov, "Phillips, Larry" larry.phillips@metrokc.gov, "Pelz, Dwight" dwight.pelz@metrokc.gov, "McKenna, Rob" rob.mckenna@metrokc.gov, "vonReichbauer, Pete" pete.vonreichbauer@metrokc.gov, "Nickels, Greg" greg.nickels@metrokc.gov, "Pullen, Kent" kent.pullen@metrokc.gov, "Gossett, Larry" larry.gossett@metrokc.gov, "Hague, Jane" jane.hague@metrokc.gov, "Derdowski, Brian" brian.derdowski@metrokc.gov, "Vance, Chris" chris.vance@metrokc.gov, Vesely jves-new@seatimes.com; Eastside Journal letterstoeditor@eastsidejournal.com; Issaquah Press isspress@accessone.com; Seattle Times opinion@seatimes.com;

Dear Mr. Eldred,

I've read the interim East Lake Sammamish Trail report and find no section on compensation to the reversionary landowners.

As the principal lawyer for ELST, I've written to you, repeatedly, that any act to establish the trail without payment to the reversionary landowners first, is a violation of Washington State law and the Washington State Constitution.

You, in turn, have written to me in the past that you have a "clear view" of the legal situation with respect to ELST. Now is the time for you to spell out your "clear view" to me, in detail. It's time to show me "chapter and verse" of exactly where in the law you derive the right to take my reversionary land without compensation. You need to quote the law exactly and explain your interpretation. You need to explain why you believe you can throw out Washington State property law and the Constitution in this case. As you should know, property rights traditionally lie with the states, so you need to show, specifically, where the federal law denies the Washington State defined right to compensation for this taking. A vague, general statement like you gave in the past won't cut it. I don't think you know the law, but instead, are relying on outdated advice from lawyers like Peter Goldman of the TLC. Now is the time to prove me wrong. With all the lawyers and legal resources of King County to help, you should have no trouble giving a "clear" explanation of your legal position . Let's see you do it.

I've told you in the past, and I repeat it now, do not step foot on my reversionary property for the purpose of a trail without paying compensation or providing an acceptable explanation for your actions. That's the law. This applies to you and any other County employee. This is going to get very ugly if you try to take my land in violation of the law. I've worked long and hard for what I've saved in this life. Much of that is invested in my property. You want to illegally take a large portion of that investment without compensation. That won't happen without a fight.

Mr. Eldred, explain in specific detail where you derive the legal right to take my reversionary property for a trail without compensation.

Sincerely,

John Rasmussen



Subject: SOS on ELST
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 11:32:39 -0700
From: Rasmussen issyras@ibm.net
To: "Sims, Ron" ron.sims@metrokc.gov, "Fimia, Maggi" maggi.fimia@metrokc.gov, "Sullivan, Cynthia" cynthia.sullivan@metrokc.gov, "Miller, Louise" louise.miller@metrokc.gov, "Phillips, Larry" larry.phillips@metrokc.gov, "Pelz, Dwight" dwight.pelz@metrokc.gov, "McKenna, Rob" rob.mckenna@metrokc.gov, "vonReichbauer, Pete" pete.vonreichbauer@metrokc.gov, "Nickels, Greg" greg.nickels@metrokc.gov, "Pullen, Kent" kent.pullen@metrokc.gov, "Gossett, Larry" larry.gossett@metrokc.gov, "Hague, Jane" jane.hague@metrokc.gov, "Derdowski, Brian" brian.derdowski@metrokc.gov, "Vance, Chris" chris.vance@metrokc.gov CC: Vesely jves-new@seatimes.com, Eastside Journal letterstoeditor@eastsidejournal.com, Issaquah Press isspress@accessone.com, Seattle Times opinion@seatimes.com, elst@metrokc.gov, al.dams@metrokc.gov, David Eldred david.eldred@metrokc.gov, "Locke, Gary" Governor.Locke@Governor.wa.gov, "Reichert, Dave" dave.reichert@metrokc.gov

Dear Mr. Sims and King County Council,

With the track removal being completed on East Lake Sammamish, it is close to the time that you will begin to establish the trail.

I am reminding you again that Washington State Law and the Washington State Constitution do not allow you to establish a trail on reversionary property without first compensating the owner. When you purchased the railroad right-of-way from BNSF/TLC, you acknowledged their phony $40 million donation of the reversionary land. This is land that BNSF/TLC did not own. They only had a right-of-way for railroad purposes. Now you are faced with paying that $40 million to the actual owners, the reversionary owners along the right-of-way.

This fact has been pointed out to you a number of times, but you provide no explanation for your apparent decision to simply ignore the law and steal my property.

Do not set foot on my reversionary land for purposes of a trail until you satisfy the conditions of the law, or convince me otherwise.

Sincerely,

John Rasmussen



Subject: Independence Day on the ELST
Date: Sun, 04 Jul 1999 11:27:48 -0700
From: Rasmussen issyras@ibm.net
To: "Sims, Ron" ron.sims@metrokc.gov, "Fimia, Maggi" maggi.fimia@metrokc.gov, "Sullivan, Cynthia" cynthia.sullivan@metrokc.gov, "Miller, Louise" louise.miller@metrokc.gov, "Phillips, Larry" larry.phillips@metrokc.gov, "Pelz, Dwight" dwight.pelz@metrokc.gov, "McKenna, Rob" rob.mckenna@metrokc.gov, "vonReichbauer, Pete" pete.vonreichbauer@metrokc.gov, "Nickels, Greg" greg.nickels@metrokc.gov, "Pullen, Kent" kent.pullen@metrokc.gov, "Gossett, Larry" larry.gossett@metrokc.gov, "Hague, Jane" jane.hague@metrokc.gov, "Derdowski, Brian" brian.derdowski@metrokc.gov, "Vance, Chris" chris.vance@metrokc.gov CC: "Locke, Gary" Governor.Locke@Governor.wa.gov, "Eldred, David" david.eldred@metrokc.gov, ELST elst@metrokc.gov, "Journal, Eastside" letterstoeditor@eastsidejournal.com, "Press, Issaquah" isspress@accessone.com, "Vesely, Jim" jves-new@seatimes.com, dave.reichert@metrokc.gov

Dear Mr. Sims and King County Council,

Today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day. It's a time we celebrate our independence as a nation, and reflect on the principles by which this Nation was founded. Certainly, the most honest way to celebrate this holiday is to recommit ourselves to those principles. The right to own property, and to not have it confiscated without compensation, is one of the most basic rights of all for Americans.

Mr. Sims and Council, you have made the decision to violate this most basic constitutional right with your handling of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. This would be a good day for you to reevaluate your decision. Washington State Law and the Washington State Constitution require you to compensate the reversionary land owners along ELST for the taking of their land. You have taken the advice of radical trail proponents to ignore this law and basic right. You have bought the ridiculous myth that the Rails-to-Trails Act has the power to throw out the most basic property rights spelled out in the Washington State Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution. The Washington State Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have thrown out this myth, but you still cling to it. This is not about a difference of political opinion. This is about a decision by the King County government to intentionally disobey the law for the benefit of the politicians and bureaucrats, and to harm the people they "serve".

A few years back I flew antisubmarine patrol planes for the U.S. Navy. My crew and I put our lives on the line to resist the threat of nuclear weapons aboard the Soviet submarines we tracked. In all those years of service I never dreamed that the most direct threat to my basic rights as an American would come from you and the King County government, not the Soviets.

I hope you reflect on your deeds, and find the true spirit of Independence Day.

Sincerely,

John Rasmussen

-----------------------------------------------------------

    Washington State Constitution

    ARTICLE I, DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

    SECTION 16 EMINENT DOMAIN.

    Private property shall not be taken for private use, except for private ways of necessity, and for drains, flumes, or ditches on or across the lands of others for agricultural, domestic, or sanitary purposes. No private property shall be taken or damaged for public or private use without just compensation having been first made, or paid into court for the owner, and no right-of-way shall be appropriated to the use of any corporation other than municipal until full compensation therefor be first made in money, or ascertained and paid into court for the owner, irrespective of any benefit from any improvement proposed by such corporation, which compensation shall be ascertained by a jury, unless a jury be waived, as in other civil cases in courts of record, in the manner prescribed by law.

    Whenever an attempt is made to take private property for a use alleged to be public, the question whether the contemplated use be really public shall be a judicial question, and determined as such, without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public: Provided, That the taking of private property by the state for land reclamation and settlement purposes is hereby declared to be for public use.[AMENDMENT 9, 1919 p 385 Section 1. Approved November, 1920.]



Subject: East Lake Sammamish Trail
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 08:47:30 -0700
From: Rasmussen issyras@ibm.net
To: "Sims, Ron" ron.sims@metrokc.gov CC: "Fimia, Maggi" maggi.fimia@metrokc.gov, "Sullivan, Cynthia" cynthia.sullivan@metrokc.gov, "Miller, Louise" louise.miller@metrokc.gov, "Phillips, Larry" larry.phillips@metrokc.gov, "Pelz, Dwight" dwight.pelz@metrokc.gov, "McKenna, Rob" rob.mckenna@metrokc.gov, "vonReichbauer, Pete" pete.vonreichbauer@metrokc.gov, "Nickels, Greg" greg.nickels@metrokc.gov, "Pullen, Kent" kent.pullen@metrokc.gov, "Gossett, Larry" larry.gossett@metrokc.gov, "Hague, Jane" jane.hague@metrokc.gov, "Derdowski, Brian" brian.derdowski@metrokc.gov, "Vance, Chris" chris.vance@metrokc.gov, "Locke, Gary" Governor.Locke@Governor.wa.gov, "Eldred, David" david.eldred@metrokc.gov, ELST ; letterstoeditor@eastsidejournal.com; isspress@accessone.com; Vesely, jves-new@seatimes.com; dave.reichert@metrokc.gov

Dear Mr. Sims,

Until recently, I believed that you were intentionally violating my rights by the taking of my land under the East Lake Sammamish Trail. Now, I wonder if you have simply listened to some very bad advice from your lawyer, Mr. David Eldred, and the lawyers for The Land Conservancy, who have undue influence with the County. Whichever the case, it's inexcusable.

Copied below is a letter I have just sent to Mr. David Eldred, the County lawyer responsible for the trail. I believe Mr. Eldred has failed to properly advise the County of its legal obligations. I believe that he has taken the advice of the lawyers for The Land Conservancy, rather than do the necessary research himself. You need to understand that the lawyers for TLC have a rigid, political agenda, and very biased view of railbanking. If the County adopts their view, it violates the law and harms its constituents.

I'd like to offer some legal advice to balance the situation. That advice is contained in the attached letter to Mr. Eldred. It is not actually advice from me, it is advice from U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Washington State Supreme Court, and the lawmakers of the State of Washington. I think that you should read and heed their advice and direction, rather than the advice of the lawyers for TLC filtered through Mr. Eldred.

I've advised Mr. Eldred that no person from the County may set foot on my reversionary land for purposes of a trail until the County satisfies the conditions of the law, or convinces me otherwise. This means I plan to physically block the taking of my property by the County if it chooses to continue its present illegal course. I realize that King County has the might to overcome my protest, but the County does not have the right.

Mr. Sims, obey the law.

Sincerely,

John Rasmussen

    Attached Letter to David Eldred: Open June 21, 1999 Letter to David Eldred in a separate window.