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ELST Correspondence with The Seattle Times

A compilation of the significant correspondence between John Rasmussen and
The Seattle Times relating to the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme.

(in reverse chronological order)



There are four webpages on this website which 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. (This Page)
    4. Correspondence with the King County Journal (Eastside Journal).



From: John Rasmussen - john@trailofshame.com
To:  David Boardman - dboardman@seattletimes.com
       Kathy Best - kbest@seattletimes.com
       Suki Dardarian - sdardarian@seattletimes.com
       Heidi de Laubenfels - hdelaubenfels@seattletimes.com
       Carole Carmichael - ccarmichael@seattletimes.com
       Jim Simon - jsimon@seattletimes.com
       Leon Espinoza - lespinoza@seattletimes.com
       Stanley Farrar - sfarrar@seattletimes.com
       Denise Clifton - dclifton@seattletimes.com
Sent: Sun, 30 Aug 2009 10:28:48 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: The East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme

Dear Executives of The Seattle Times,

I question The Seattle Times' commitment to report the truth to its readers.

For the past ten years, I've been fighting to expose the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme, a crime which involved a number of powerful people in King County. Today, I publish a public letter to The Seattle Times' owners, editors, and staff, accusing your newspaper of actively participating in the ELS tax fraud scheme with its refusal to report the crime to its readers.

Please use the following link to read this public letter.

http://www.trailofshame.com/m-pub-news.html#letter02

Mr. Boardman, would you please forward this email to the owners of The Seattle Times?

Notification of this public letter is being sent to more than sixty members of The Seattle Times, in the executive, editorial, investigations, and local news departments.

Regards,

John Rasmussen

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

    Note from John Rasmussen:

      A version of the above email was sent to the following members of The Seattle Times.

      Executives:

      David Boardman - dboardman@seattletimes.com
      Kathy Best - kbest@seattletimes.com
      Suki Dardarian - sdardarian@seattletimes.com
      Heidi de Laubenfels - hdelaubenfels@seattletimes.com
      Carole Carmichael - ccarmichael@seattletimes.com
      Jim Simon - jsimon@seattletimes.com
      Leon Espinoza - lespinoza@seattletimes.com
      Stanley Farrar - sfarrar@seattletimes.com
      Denise Clifton - dclifton@seattletimes.com

      Editorials & Opinion:

      Ryan Blethen - rblethen@seattletimes.com
      Kate Riley - kriley@seattletimes.com
      Joni Balter - jbalter@seattletimes.com
      Lance Dickie - ldickie@seattletimes.com
      Bruce Ramsey - bramsey@seattletimes.com
      Lynne Varner - lvarner@seattletimes.com

      Investigations:

      James Neff - jneff@seattletimes.com
      Cheryl Phillips - cphillips@seattletimes.com
      Katherine Long - klong@seattletimes.com
      Ken Armstrong - karmstrong@seattletimes.com
      Michael J. Berens - mberens@seattletimes.com
      David Heath - dheath@seattletimes.com
      Justin Mayo - jmayo@seattletimes.com

      Local News:

      Jim Simon - jsimon@seattletimes.com
      Mark Higgins - mhiggins@seattletimes.com
      Matt Kreamer - mkreamer@seattletimes.com
      Cathy McLain - cmclain@seattletimes.com
      John de Leon - jdeleon@seattletimes.com
      Janet Horne - jhorne@seattletimes.com
      Beth Kaiman - bkaiman@seattletimes.com
      Nick Provenza - nprovenza@seattletimes.com
      Richard Wagoner - rwagoner@seattletimes.com
      Nicole Brodeur - nbrodeur@seattletimes.com
      Nancy Bartley - nbartley@seattletimes.com
      Hal Bernton - hbernton@seattletimes.com
      Sanjay Bhatt - sbhatt@seattletimes.com
      Charles Brown - cbrown@seattletimes.com
      Ian Ith - iith@seattletimes.com
      Susan Kelleher - skelleher@seattletimes.com
      Sonia Krishnan - skrishnan@seattletimes.com
      Jim Brunner - jbrunner@seattletimes.com
      Michael Carter - mcarter@seattletimes.com
      Sharon Pian Chan - schan@seattletimes.com
      Christine Clarridge - cclarridge@seattletimes.com
      Sandi Doughton - sdoughton@seattletimes.com
      Keith Ervin - kervin@seattletimes.com
      Andrew Garber - agarber@seattletimes.com
      Susan Gilmore - sgilmore@seattletimes.com
      Sara Jean Green - sgreen@seattletimes.com
      Erik Lacitis - elacitis@seattletimes.com
      Mike Lindblom - mlindblom@seattletimes.com
      Lynda V. Mapes - lmapes@seattletimes.com
      Jonathan Martin - jonathanmartin@seattletimes.com
      Steve Miletich - smiletich@seattletimes.com
      Maureen O'Hagan - mohagan@seattletimes.com
      Nick Perry - nperry@seattletimes.com
      Marc Ramirez - mramirez@seattletimes.com
      Mark Rahner - mrahner@seattletimes.com
      Linda Shaw - lshaw@seattletimes.com
      Kyung M. Song - ksong@seattletimes.com
      Jennifer Sullivan - jensullivan@seattletimes.com
      Lynn Thompson - lthompson@seattletimes.com
      Nicole Tsong - ntsong@seattletimes.com
      Janet Tu - jtu@seattletimes.com
      Lornet Turnbull - lturnbull@seattletimes.com
      Craig Welch - cwelch@seattletimes.com
      Danny Westneat - dwestneat@seattletimes.com
      Christine Willmsen - cwillmsen@seattletimes.com
      Bob Young - byoung@seattletimes.com




From: John Rasmussen - john@trailofshame.com
To: jvesely@seattletimes.com, opinion@seattletimes.com
Cc: rblethen@seattletimes.com, kriley@seattletimes.com, jbalter@seattletimes.com, ldickie@seattletimes.com,
      bramsey@seattletimes.com, lvarner@seattletimes.com
Sent: Thu, 14 May 2009 06:36:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Un-Pulitzer

Hello James Vesely,

I've just learned of your retirement. I'm saddened that you are leaving before I've had the chance to tie you and The Seattle Times to the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme. As you well know, I've informed you a number of times about the ELS tax fraud since November 29, 1999. Here is a link to that first email.

http://www.trailofshame.com/DOC-Email-News-ST.html#Letter6A

With your willingness to hide the ELS fraud from the public, you also hid the involvement of Arthur Andersen LLP in the tax fraud scheme. Andersen's ELS crime occurred well before the Enron and WorldCom accounting fraud schemes. Since you and The Seattle Times refused to report the ELS crime to your readers, you must take some credit for the subsequent national scandals. Here is a link to an explanation of the Arthur Andersen fraudulent appraisal right in good old King County, which you refused to investigate and report.

http://www.trailofshame.com/I-F-E.html#jump03

Here's a link to the fraudulent Arthur Andersen ELS appraisal.

http://www.trailofshame.com/DOC-2001-JOR-Exhibit-4-1996-BNSF-App.pdf

James, you'll notice on page 8 of the appraisal BNSF instructed Arthur Andersen to value all the East Lake Sammamish right-of-way land as if it was owned by BNSF. It would have been newsworthy to report to your readers that twenty-one (21) Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway (SLS&E) deeds had previously been before the Washington State courts and all had been determined to be easements, yet BNSF instructed Arthur Andersen to value the ELS deeds as if none were easements. That would have been an interesting issue for a real newspaper reporter to investigate. But, Norm Maleng fixed that problem with a "special" briefing. Norm was able to do that because nobody, except me, challenged his honesty. I've named his "special" briefing "Norm Maleng's 'Legal Theory'". It was very helpful that you and The Seattle times refused to report his ridiculous "theory". Without any whisper of dissent, the Washington State Supreme Court has now adopted "Norm Maleng's 'Legal Theory'" with its refusal to accept appeal of a fraudulent lower court opinion. Judges just get a little crazy when nobody holds them responsible. Of course, you know that. Here is a letter that I wrote to the WSSC judges after their crime from the bench. The judges of the Washington State Supreme Court couldn't have committed their crime without your persistent indifference.

http://www.trailofshame.com/m-pub-judges.html#letter01

I'll keep doing what I can to let the public know about this corruption. Perhaps you'd like to review all the email letters I sent to The Seattle Times over the last ten years. Here they are in reverse chronological order. Many are addressed to you or your opinion page. In short order, this email will top the list.

http://www.trailofshame.com/DOC-Email-News-ST.html

I've dedicated a page on my website to the refusal of The Seattle Times to report the facts of the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme to its readers. Your failure as a newsman is explained on that page. Take a look.

http://www.trailofshame.com/I-Press.html

James Vesely, as you approach your last couple of days at the Times, I assume you are thinking about your legacy. At this time, you have control of how you praise yourself. Hopefully, time will show your dishonesty and the betrayal of your journalistic responsibility to report the truth to your readers.

In "honor" of your retirement, I'd like to award the "Un-Pulitzer" to you and the Times. (An award for the greatest public disservice in journalism)

John Rasmussen



To: David Boardman Executive Editor - The Seattle Times (dboardman@seattletimes.com)
From: John Rasmussen (john@trailofshame.com)
Subject: November Election
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2008 16:54

Dear Boardman,

I've just established a website which describes the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme. The tax fraud was committed in King County in the late 1990's and has been covered up for the last ten years by the parties who participated. The participants include some powerful folks in King County, and federal and state judges.

Five candidates in the November election were participants in the crime. I've posted a public letter to the newspapers of Washington State, asking them to advise their readers about the tax fraud scheme and to suggest that their readers don't vote for these candidates.

Please use this link to view the public letter:

http://www.trailofshame.com/m-pub-news.html#letter01

Mr. Boardman, if you read through my website, you will find that I am very critical of the Times. I name your newspaper as a participant in the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme, and suggest that folks cancel their subscriptions and withdraw advertising. Here is a link to one of the pages that is critical of the Times.

http://www.trailofshame.com/I-Press.html

Regards, John Rasmussen

White Salmon, WA



From: John Rasmussen
To: davidbroder@washpost.com
Subject: 2005-06-19 Seattle Times Editorial
Date: Sunday, June 19, 2005 8:35 AM

Mr. Broder,

I've read your editorial in this Sunday's Seattle Times.

    David Broder editorial in The Seattle Times - June 19, 2005

I have a question.  Exactly what is the cost to the U.S. Taxpayer by the issuing of these tax-exempt bonds?  The devil is in the details here.  I think the real story with Duvernoy is his involvement in tax fraud schemes in the past, and if this new tax-exempt bond idea is just another way for him to defraud the American people.

A few years back Duvernoy was the middle man in a federal tax fraud scheme involving Rails-to-Trails.  Burlington Northern Santa Fe paid Arthur Andersen (Enron's friend) to value a right of way at several times it's value, and then donated the right of way to King County through Duvernoy's organization.  Evidence shows that Duvernoy's lawyer, for that transaction, was well aware of the fraud.

Federal District Judge Barbara Rothstein struck the evidence of the crime and refused to turn the evidence over federal prosecutors, when it was presented to her in a law suit.

The American tax payers got ripped-of for about $15 million in that little Duvernoy scheme.

Someone needs to look at this guy a little closer than you did.

Regards,  John

John Rasmussen



From: John Rasmussen
To: opinion@seatimes.com
Date: Thursday, March 03, 2005 6:41 AM
Subject: Reaction to Lefkow deaths.

The death of Chicago Federal Judge Lefkow's family is a sad tragedy.  But, the knee jerk reaction of adding additional security for federal judges without protecting the public from the adverse effects of that security is a mistake, and does not serve the court or the public.  If we are to further isolate federal judges from the public by allowing them to play the "personal safety card" every time they are rightfully accused of criminal behavior, our courts will accelerate their plunge into the judicial toilet.

I discovered a federal judge in Western Washington committing a criminal act from the bench.  She struck evidence of a federal tax fraud scheme involving BNSF, King County, Arthur Andersen, and a local non-profit, and refused to turn the evidence over for federal prosecution.  If the Ninth Circuit had any commitment to the law, this federal judge would be sitting in prison and, perhaps, Arthur Andersen would have not have provided the creative accounting that has harmed so many innocent people in the Enron Scandal.  Instead, the Ninth Circuit hid the crime with the confidence it would never be challenged or be required to explain its actions.  The Ninth Circuit irrationally protects its own from prosecution, at the expense of the truth and the rights of the public.

If we are to increase the physical security of federal judges, we must also build in safeguards to protect the public from the judges using that system to further insulate themselves from being held responsible for judicial misconduct.  Let's increase the physical security around our federal judges, but at the same time move the review of judicial misconduct cases to a civilian panel.

The tragic death of these two innocent people must not be rationalized into a power grab by an already too powerful federal court.

John Rasmussen
907-229-9493



    [Note from John Rasmussen: This email was written to a number of members of The Seattle Times in response to a June 6, 2004 article titled "Outrageous Enron"]

From: John Rasmussen
To: Farrar, sfarrar@seattletimes.com; Stanton, mstanton@seattletimes.com ; Varner, lvarner@seattletimes.com; Rosenthal, krosenthal@seattletimes.com; Riley, kriley@seattletimes.com; Ramsey, bramsey@seattletimes.com; Dickie, ldickie@seattletimes.com; Balter, jbalter@seattletimes.com; Bisbee, bbisbee@seattletimes.com; Amoranto, damoranto@seattletimes.com; MacLeod, damacleod@seattletimes.com; Fancher, mfancher@seattletimes.com; Pohlig, cpohlig@seattletimes.com; Moriwaki, lmoriwaki@seattletimes.com; Vesely, jvesely@seattletimes.com
Date: Monday, June 07, 2004 3:58 PM
Subject: Ugly Reflections

Hello Seattle Times,

  If you want to take a peek at a person responsible for the Enron Scandal, look at yourself in a mirror.

  Your recent editorial "Outrageous Enron" fails to point out that Arthur Andersen worked a federal tax fraud scheme in King County that goes un-prosecuted, in part, because you refuse to report the facts to the public.

  Think about that the next time you look in a mirror.

  John Rasmussen

  I submit the following to your editorial staff:

  It was entertaining to read the recent Times editorial "Outrageous Enron".  The implication was that government is now going to fix things so we won't have similar problems in the future.  The root problem is not Enron.  The root problem is government, itself, and government is not going to fix government.  The Enron scandal is not a unique, one time, event.  There were mini-Enrons leading up to the Enron scandal.  Arthur Andersen had been acting fraudulently before Enron, it's just that those indiscretions were "swept under the carpet", so to speak.

  Take, for instance, the federal tax fraud scheme that is being used to establish the East Lake Sammamish Trail.  Arthur Andersen, King County, The Land Conservancy, and Burlington Northern worked a neat little scheme that is defrauding the American taxpayers out of about $15 million.  Ron Sims and the King County Council have known about this fraud for the past four years and done nothing to correct the criminal acts committed by Norm Maleng and his staff.  Why should they?  They can get away with it.  A federal judge struck the evidence of the fraud on a motion from Norm Maleng and then issued a decision that protects Maleng and the other parties from prosecution.  The Seattle Times has had the facts of this fraud carefully spelled out to it, but refuses to publish them.  The ELS right of way decisions by federal and state judges are completely ridiculous.  They protect the participants to this fraud by irrationally deciding that an illiterate Duwamish Indian wrote the deeds for the ELS railroad right of way in the late 1800s.  That fiction steals its plot from Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes", with the politicians, lawyers, and judges dressing up a long dead Native American with expertise and powers that the Duwamish Indians never had in the 1800s.  The lawyers for the railway wrote the right of way deeds, and everyone associated with this judicial aberration understands that fact.  But acknowledging this truth would reverse the ELS decisions and put some very powerful people from King County in federal prison.

  Greedy Enron executives are not solely responsible for the Enron scandal.  That scandal grew out of the neglect and greed of our politicians, public officials, and judges.  The Enron scandal evolved from mini-scandals that go un-prosecuted, such as the one associated with the East Lake Sammamish Trail.  Enron didn't happen because of a small handful of crooked Enron executives.  It happened because we, the people, choose public officials that feel empowered to ignore the laws.  Since we elect these officials and fail to hold them responsible for their actions, we must accept responsibility for their participation in the mini-frauds and, ultimately, the Enron scandal itself.

John Rasmussen
1900 Congress Circle, Unit #1
Anchorage, AK 99507

907-229-9493
907-868-2713



From: John Rasmussen
To: Farrar, sfarrar@seattletimes.com; Stanton, mstanto@seattletimes.com ; Varner, lvarner@seattletimes.com; Rosenthal, krosenthal@seattletimes.com; Riley, kriley@seattletimes.com; Ramsey, bramsey@seattletimes.com; Dickie, ldickie@seattletimes.com; Balter, jbalter@seattletimes.com; Bisbee, bbisbee@seattletimes.com; Amoranto, damoranto@seattletimes.com; MacLeod, damacleod@seattletimes.com; Fancher, mfancher@seattletimes.com; Pohlig, cpohlig@seattletimes.com; Moriwaki, lmoriwaki@seattletimes.com; Vesely, jvesely@seattletimes.com
Date: Saturday, May 24, 2003 1:09 AM
Subject: Nothing very important, really

Dear Seattle Times people,

  Attached is a letter that I recently wrote to the Chief Justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  I modified the letter slightly and addressed it, individually, to each of the 46 judges of the Ninth Circuit.

  I'm curious, would the Times be interested in investigating the facts and speculation that I describe in this letter?  It would require that the Times actually verify the facts, and ask a couple of questions.

  It strikes me that is would be newsworthy that Norm Maleng has participated in federal tax fraud...if the facts would suggest that that has happened.  Every member of the King County council was advised of the fraud and not one showed even the slightest interest in looking at the facts.  It seems newsworthy that Gary Locke may also be involved.  Further, it seems newsworthy that a couple of Seattle based federal judges have apparently covered up the fraud with their bizarre decisions.  Maybe it's just me, but it seems that this would be worth a small effort to investigate by a legitimate newspaper.

  If the Seattle Times is a major regional newspaper it will look at the facts that I describe in the attached letter, and investigate.  If the Seattle Times is a pathetic joke, it won't. 

  John Rasmussen

    Attached Document: Open attached document Letter to Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Schroeder, May 16, 2003 in a separate window.



From: John Rasmussen
To: Rivera, Ray rayrivera@seattletimes.com
Subject: Judicial Arrogance, tax fraud, Maleng
Date: Wednesday, January 08, 2003 10:59 AM

Hi Ray,

As you can see by today's Seattle Times editorials, my issues with Norm Maleng and the federal judges are the same as the folks who are incensed by the tree cutting.  The issue is not the trees, but rather, the arrogance and disregard of the law by the people that we entrust with its administration.  This includes both the Prosecutor of King County and the judges.

You asked, yesterday, about when I contacted Jeff Sullivan.  I made a presentation to Jeff Sullivan on April 18, 2002.  It included copies of documents that would indicate King County, TLC, BNSF and Arthur Andersen participated in federal tax fraud.  The 9th circuit judges struck all of the evidence of federal tax fraud, refusing to consider it, and failing to turn it over to federal prosecutors.  Further, on motions from Norm Maleng's office they disallowed my most basic right to a trial, but rather decided the case by summary judgment.  This cut off my right to discovery which would have allowed me to put Norm Maleng and members of his staff (and the others) under oath.  Further, the decision from the 9th Circuit on the East Lake Sammamish right of way, on my property, is completely bizarre.  I can explain that for you if you are interested. Finding, against all evidence, that King County owns the right of way land supplies an aura of legitimacy to the tax fraud scheme, but only reduces Norm Maleng's exposure to prosecution.  The problem is that nobody is willing or interested in prosecuting the Prosecutor.  Because of the irrational nature of the legal decision, it is difficult not to conclude that the 9th Circuit judges were bailing out Norm Maleng, his staff, and his cronies with their decision.  One of those judges is the Honorable Judge Farris.

Jeff Sullivan has never got back to me about my presentation.  I sent him a follow up letter several days after the presentation, and he did not respond to it.

Much, if not all, of the the information that I presented to Jeff Sullivan was also presented to the IRS in a whistle-blower type filing in April, 2002.  I made that filing with little or no chance of a reward because another person had already filed, and I was aware of that fact. I filed to attempt to hold powerful people in King County responsible for criminal actions.

The declaration that was attached to the IRS filing is attached to this document.  It details the evidence for federal tax fraud that I was able to obtain before the federal judge cut off my right to discovery.

-John-

    Attached Document: Open attached document IRS Form 211 Declaration, April 12, 2002 in a separate window.



From: John Rasmussen
To: Rivera, Ray rayrivera@seattletimes.com
Subject: Maleng and tax fraud
Date: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 1:37 PM

Hi Ray,

Here is a little information that might help you if you want to pursue what we talked about today on the phone.  I like the fact that you want to go to the court to see what was filed rather than ask me to provide the documents.  I attach my April 2001 declaration to the federal district court for you to reveiw...but not to substitute for you looking at the official documents.  The truth is my friend.

The attached email was sent to Norm Maleng in early 2000.  Since the time of that email, I was able to find more evidence and verify some of the unanswered questions I stated then.  Maleng never directly responded.  But, when he decided that he could twist my words into a meaning that served his purpose, he accused me of criminal actions later in that year.  No charges were filed because his accusations were without merit, but he was successful in defaming me.  9th Circuit appeals Judge Betty B. Fletcher stated Norm Maleng's accusations as a fact in her decision favoring King County, filed August 9, 2002.

I will be curious if you talk to Maleng or his staff about all of this. Will they still depict me as some gun slinging radical intent on killing King County employees?  I'm not.

Regards,  John

    Attached Email: Open attached Email "The Trail of Shame" - January 31, 2000 in a separate window.

    Attached Document: Open attached document Declaration to the Federal District Court, April 9, 2001 in a separate window.



    [Note from John Rasmussen: This email was written to the opinion editor at The Seattle Times in response to a 1-06-2003 article titled "Judge will not be charged for trees cut in Seattle park"]

From: John Rasmussen
To: opinion@seatimes.com
Date:Tuesday, January 07, 2003 12:22 AM
Subject: Maleng refuses to prosecute a federal judge.

Why would Norm Maleng refuse to prosecute Judge Jerome Farris, of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, for cutting down 108 trees on city property?  Perhaps it's because the federal 9th Circuit struck evidence that might have put Norm Maleng in federal prison, and he is simply returning a favor.

Arthur Andersen provided a grossly inflated appraisal of the East Lake Sammamish railroad right of way, as part of the railbanking transaction.  Burlington Northern, TLC and Norm Maleng's office then worked a phony IRS tax donation scheme that has certainly defrauded the American taxpayer out of millions of dollars.  When evidence of altered documents and the Prosecutor's participation in this fraud was presented to a federal judge, she struck the evidence on a motion from Norm Maleng's staff and refused to consider it.  Later, when it was appealed to the 9th Circuit, several other 9th Circuit judges looked at this evidence and refused to reinstate it or turn it over to federal prosecutors.

There may never have been an Enron scandal if Arthur Andersen's wrongdoing in King County had been exposed and prosecuted, instead of being buried by a 9th Circuit judge.

Norm owes a big favor to the 9th Circuit.  Was his refusal to prosecute Judge Farris part of the payback?

John Rasmussen
1900 Congress Circle, #1
Anchorage, AK 99507

907-229-9493



From: John Rasmussen
To: nsinger@seattletimes.com
CC: Sandlin, Jay Sandlinlaw@aol.com; Lewis, Mike mikelewis@seattlepi.com; Larson, Tim tim.larson@eastsidejournal.com
Subject: [Fwd: "The Trail of Shame"]
Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2002 3:17 PM

Natalie Singer
The Seattle Times

Re: East Lake Sammamish Trail article in The Seattle Times

Hi Natalie,

Your letter to J.J. Sandlin, and copied to me, was incorrect in one very important point.  You were wrong when you stated that I assumed you "...have a standpoint and don't care to investigate further."  By "standpoint", I assume you mean a liberal or biased point of view.  I'm sorry if you got that impression from my e-mail.  I wouldn't have bothered to write to you if I felt that way about you.  I wrote because you are missing what is really going on with the East Lake Sammamish trail.  Your article was simply naive.

One other reason that I wrote is that you didn't describe the folks that live along Lake Sammamish as "wealthy landowners".  Most of the local writers have used that term in their reports.  I'd like to think that you didn't use that term because you saw it as biased wording.  The use of that phrase distinguishes the folks that are impacted by this trail from the public at large, and to takes away the common ground they share with the rest of the community.  It isolates them.  It implies that since they are wealthy that they don't deserve full protection under the law...or perhaps they are so filthy rich that they file lawsuits to just entertain themselves.  They are mostly common people, standing up for their rights against a corrupt County, and a misinformation campaign. The term "wealthy landowners" is fed to the press by the County lawyers and the rails-to-trails crowd, I believe.  It's a great "sound bite"...if you are in the business of turning the community against some of its members.

Take a look at the P.I. Mike Lewis article on August 26th.  In it he writes: "In King County, for example, a similar issue flared over the county's attempt to open a portion of the East Lake Sammamish Trail through the city of Sammamish. There, a group of wealthy property owners has vowed to fight anyone who tries to use the public easement as a trail. The issue became so heated one owner of a million-dollar home threatened to shoot anyone who used the trail cutting through his back yard."  Mike Lewis makes the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy honor roll. His P.I. articles are available on the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.  Who is the "owner of a million-dollar home" who "threatened to shoot anyone who used the trail cutting through his back yard"? Shouldn't the community know who the killer is?  Why don't you give Mike Lewis a call and ask who that killer is...and why the County didn't prosecute him?  I shudder to think that monster might have lived near me when I owned a home along Lake Sammamish.

I have documents that indicate that BNSF, Arthur Andersen, TLC and King County conspired to commit federal tax fraud in the ELST project.  That is the seminal event that affects every aspect of this controversy.  It appears that after taking part in that crime, the prosecutor of King County had no choice but to claim outright ownership of the right of way land.  It would then follow, that to protect Norm Maleng, his staff, and possibly Gary Locke, from going to prison, the County has taken an adversarial stand against its own citizens along the Lake.  The County "wins" in court are a disgrace, an insult to the Constitution and the law, and cast an ugly shadow over the Federal and Superior courts. Attached to this e-mail, is an e-mail to Norm Maleng that I sent almost three years ago outlining the fraud.

The case that has progressed the furthest in the legal system is mine, King County v. Rasmussen.  I found out yesterday that we were denied en banc consideration in the 9th Circuit.  That leaves in place the ridiculous decision that all the deeds for the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway were written by Bill Hilchkanum.  By his own admission, Bill Hilchkanum was an illiterate Duwamish Indian who gave up his tribal affiliation to homestead along Lake Sammamish in the late 1800s.  In spite of that fact, among others, Federal Judge Barbara Rothstein found that Hilchkanum wrote his own deed to the railroad.  Since all the SLS&E deeds I've seen are written in the same language as the Hilchkanum deed, one must conclude that Hilchkanum wrote all the deeds for the railroad. This dishonest decision rewrites the history of the northwest.  It is ethically insensitive and harmful to the Duwamish who are trying to attain tribal status.  It is an outright lie.

Further, the evidence of  the federal tax fraud, described below, was struck by Judge Rothstein on a technical motion by the King County prosecutor.  I believe that Judge Rothstein might have prevented the Enron scandal if she had turned that evidence over for federal prosecution.  However, prosecuting Arthur Andersen for its fraudulent appraisal along East Lake Sammamish likely would have required prosecution of some very powerful people in King County.  Did Judge Rothstein fail to turn over this evidence for prosecution to protect those powerful people?

The obvious truth is that the deeds for the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway were written by the railroad's lead attorney Judge Thomas Burke and his co-council.  If this fact had been recognized by Judge Rothstein in her decision, she would have had to admit that BNSF and its successor in interest, King County, did not own the right-of-way land, and have only had an easement.  This would have stripped away much of the protection that the King County Prosecutor needs to avoid prosecution for federal tax fraud.  Every deed to the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway previously construed by the courts has been found to be an easement.  The Rothstein decision overturns 100 years of railroad right-of-way legal precedent in Washington State.  Further, the absurdity of the decision casts an ugly shadow on the integrity of the 9th Circuit in its denial of reconsideration.

Natalie, if you want to understand what is going on here, you are going to have to do some serious homework.  You will need to study some legal decisions, verify facts and ask to see proof.  Since I wrote the attached e-mail to Norm Maleng, not one person has asked to look at the evidence of tax fraud.  Not one.  This includes officials from the Sammamish city council to one of the most powerful members of the U.S. Senate.  If you want to understand what is going on here, you are going to have to learn how summary judgment can be used by judges to completely control a case and deny the constitutional right of due process.  If you want to understand what is going on here, you are going to have to learn how manipulation of extrinsic evidence can allow a judge to decide the outcome of a suit regardless of the facts, and more compelling intrinsic evidence.  If you want to understand what is going on here, you are going to have to learn that the Washington State Supreme Court does not signal a "sea change" in the law by tucking it in a footnote in the dissenting opinion.  If you want to understand what is going on here, you are going to have learn how much is a scintilla.  I doubt you or your editor are willing to put out the effort to understand what is happening here, and write that story.

Do you ever think about why we have freedom of the press in this County?  It's not so the press can report on the latest movie star gossip, it's to deal with judicial and governmental abuse like what is happening with ELST.  Freedom of the press is the last layer of protection for our rights and the Constitution.

Natalie, the truth is my friend...and the mortal enemy of a number of powerful people in King County.  It is very likely that truth will never see the light of day.

-John-

    Forwarded Email: Open attached Email "The Trail of Shame" - January 31, 2000 in a separate window.



From: nsinger@seattletimes.com
To: Sandlinlaw@aol.com
CC: John Rasmussen
Subject: RE: Boy, did you get it wrong
Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 5:30 PM

Mr. Sandlin,  

Thank you for your e-mail. I received several others today, including one from Mr. Rasmussen, mentioning some of the same issues you raise and also wrongly assuming that I have a standpoint and don't care to investigate further. Not at all correct.  

I hope you will be true to your word and share some of the information you have with me should I pursue this story.... 

Natalie Singer
The Seattle Times
206-464-2704

 

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Sandlinlaw@aol.com [mailto:Sandlinlaw@aol.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 10:45 AM
    To: Natalie Singer
    Cc: johnras@attglobal.net; Sandlinlaw@aol.com; sandlinlaw@nwinfo.net
    Subject: Boy, did you get it wrong

    Hello, Ms. Natalie Singer...

    I just read your article about the trail issue. You totally missed the real issues, and you fell victim to Goldman's twist on who the real "land grabbers" are.

    I have never seen such an egregious violation of civil rights, and such a taking without compensation--all in violation of our federal and state constitutions--as this rail-to-trails matter involving the East Lake Sammamish area.

    You are welcome to review my files, concerning the egregious demonizing of a very faithful, loyal American--John Rasmussen--to see for yourself what is really going on here. I doubt if you'll respond to this email--it wouldn't be in good form to choose a politically incorrect viewpoint after seeing our true facts, so I anticipate you'll cling to the idea that the landowners have never tried to be heard by King County. What a joke...it would be laughable, but it is so very serious.

    So, Natalie, what are you going to do--ignore the facts we have in the lineal feet of litigation files we have, or are you going to be true to your ideals as a journalist? I'll give you a taste, by attaching the Rasmussens' petition for rehearing before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Very truly yours,

    SANDLIN LAW FIRM

    J.J. SANDLIN, Lawyer



From: John Rasmussen
To: nsinger@seattletimes.com
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Enron, WorldCom, ELST]
Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 4:53 PM

Hi Natalie,

Certainly one way to "look into some of this" is to ask Norm Maleng if he participated in federal tax fraud and intentionally violated the rights of some of the residents along Lake Sammamish.  I'm sure you can simply take his answer as the truth...he is such a pillar of the community.

Also, why not ask Peter Goldman if he was aware that the Land Conservancy agreed to accept a phony donation from BNSF and to certify that donation to the IRS.  Peter is providing such a great service for the community by working to provide a trail...how could he be capable of dishonesty?

Here's a hint...there is not "many" truths about what has happened here...only one truth.  To learn that truth you will have to do some hard work and have average intelligence.  I don't know if you are willing or capable of doing that.

-John-



From: nsinger@seattletimes.com
To: John Rasmussen
Subject: RE: [Fwd: Enron, WorldCom, ELST]
Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 4:06 PM

Simply because you asked me if my editor showed it to me. I was wondering who you were referring to, and whether or not my editor ever saw it. (She did not)

Anyhow, I'll be looking into some of this and possibly contacting you about it in the future... Thanks,

Natalie Singer



From: John Rasmussen
To: nsinger@seattletimes.com
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Enron, WorldCom, ELST]
Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 3:52 PM

Hi Natalie,

I submitted the editorial to "opinion@seattletimes.com".  Why do you ask?

-John-



From: nsinger@seattletimes.com
To: John Rasmussen
Subject: RE: [Fwd: Enron, WorldCom, ELST]
Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 9:52 AM

John,

I'm wondering, who did you send this to?



    [Note from John Rasmussen: This email was written to Natalie Singer at The Seattle Times in response to her 10-15-2002 article titled "Turf war keeps the final link of long trail in limbo"]

From: John Rasmussen
To: nsinger@seattletimes.com
Subject: [Fwd: Enron, WorldCom, ELST]
Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 4:04 AM

Hi Natalie,

I'm curious, did your editor show you the attached editorial submission before you wrote your article in today's Seattle Times newspaper?

You are missing the most important aspect of the story...and not being honest with the public.

John Rasmussen

    Attachment: Open attachment "Enron, WorldCom, ELST" September 30 2002 in a separate window.



From: "John Rasmussen" johnras@attglobal.net
To: opinion@seattletimes.com
Subject: Enron, WorldCom, ELST
Date: Monday, September 30, 2002 11:15 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

1043 Lingon Berry Court, B3
Anchorage, AK 99515

907-229-9493



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

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    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: Letter to David Eldred, June 21, 1999



From: Rasmussen issyras@ibm.net
To: opinion@seatimes.com
Date: Friday, May 07, 1999 2:10 PM
Subject: East Lake Sammamish Trail

Dear Editor,

The following is an editorial that I would like to submit.  Background information is included below that.

John Rasmussen,  Sammamish, Washington

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    Over the door of Chilkoot Charlie's in Anchorage a large sign reads " We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you!"  I used to think that was funny until I found that King County is doing exactly that to my neighbors and me with their handling of the trail along East Lake Sammamish.  The County is stealing our land to build a trail and "pass the savings on" to the community.  There is lots of political capital in this for the politicians, but it's dishonest and illegal.

    The Rails-to-Trails act gives the County the right to take property for a bike trail, but not without compensation to the rightful owners.   The State laws that mandates this are very straightforward and simple to understand, but the County chooses to ignore them.   It appears their plan is to force us into court where they can stall for years.  Most of us cannot justify the emotional and financial cost of waging this battle for our rights.  King County knows exactly how to steam roll us in the court system.

    This dishonest way of dealing with constituents explains why the citizens to the east want to break off and form a new county, and why the City of Sammamish was formed.  Like the proverbial customer at Chilkoot Charlie's, we all wonder when we'll be "the other guy" in our dealings with King County.

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      Background info:

      "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

        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.]