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Does the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Encourage Federal Tax Fraud in Railbanking Transactions?

by John Rasmussen

Please read a disclaimer for the statements I make on this website accusing judges, politicians and activists of criminal or treasonous actions.



Is there Criminal Activity at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy?

     On this website, I describe the federal tax fraud scheme used to railbank a right-of-way in King County, Washington. On this webpage, I suggest that federal tax fraud is "business as usual" in railbanking transactions across the Country. Here, we look at criminal actions by lawyers associated with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and ask the question: Does the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy encourage federal tax fraud in railbanking transactions? On another page, I describe the Rails-to-Trails Act and how it has been modified in our courts to deprive Americans of their property rights. My description of the Rails-to-Trails Act reveals immoral decisions by the judiciary which are technically legal. However, that immoral manipulation of the Rails-to-Trails Act by the judiciary is greatly responsible for the criminal acts discussed here.
    (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

     In the process of understanding my rights in the railbanking of the East Lake Sammamish (ELS) BNSF right-of-way, I ran into evidence of dishonesty in two lawyers associated with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Peter Goldman, a member of the Board of Directors of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, was a prominent activist in the railbanking of the ELS right-of-way. Charles Montange was the former lead attorney for The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and acted as lawyer for The Land Conservancy of Seattle and King County (TLC) in the sale of the right-of-way from BNSF to TLC to King County. I'll discuss the dishonesty I discovered in each these lawyers, then place that dishonesty in the context of their national organization, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
    (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

    Peter Goldman: Board of Directors of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

         Peter Goldman appears to be the common factor in the East Lake Sammamish (ELS) federal tax fraud scheme. He worked with TLC in the railbanking of the ELS right-of-way. As a former King County prosecutor, he has ties to the Prosecutor's office. Also, he is a member of the board of directors of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. There is no question that TLC and King County actively participated in the ELS federal tax fraud scheme. The question here: Considering Goldman's membership on the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Board and his connections to the ELS federal tax fraud scheme, does the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy encourage phony tax write-offs as an inducement for railroads to railbank? Another question: Does Goldman have any connection to the federal or state judges who have rendered the decisions which hide the ELS federal tax fraud scheme? Someone influenced these judges to participate in the tax fraud scheme with their decisions and Goldman is an influential member of the community.
        (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

         I first ran across Peter Goldman on a website dedicated to a discussion about the East Lake Sammamish Trail. I didn't know who he was, but I believed there was dishonesty with his posting. Goldman had posted a white paper about the proposed trail, titled "Facts About The Proposed East Lake Sammamish Trail". I challenged him to defend some of the dishonesty in the white paper, and he agreed. Then we exchanged several emails until Goldman retreated on June 15, 1999, unwilling to further defend his position.

      Read the emails exchanged between Peter Goldman and me 5/13/1999 to 6/15/1999.

         Goldman didn't have the time (or character) to defend his lies in our email exchange 5/13/1999 to 6/15/1999. But, on June 22, 1999 he "found the time" to post another dishonest assessment of the ELS railbanking situation on the same website. So, I challenged his lies again. He never responded. Goldman's arguments were directed to folks who would not challenge his statements. When I challenged his lies, he retreated.

      View this additional challenge to Goldman in his 6/22/199 posting and my 7/2/1999 reply.

         In our email exchange, Goldman explained that it was his philosophy that "...we must all make sacrifices of our "property rights" to further the public good..." which includes "...recognizing that the value of some of our individual property might be diminished...to advance a public purpose, such as construction of a road, a train line, or a trail." (Goldman letter 5/21/1999) In that statement, I believe that Goldman was saying that he does not believe in the taking clause of the Fifth Amendment. Or, perhaps he was saying that he does not believe in the Fifth Amendment when it protects someone that he is working to defraud, such as the residents along East Lake Sammamish. It is okay for Goldman to believe private property should be taken for bike trails without compensation, but it is not okay for Goldman to participate in the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme to enforce his belief. I believe he did exactly that.
        (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

         Goldman appears to be an expert at telling half-truths (which are nothing more than lies). Half-truths and lies are what I got from him in our email exchange. In one case Goldman cited a 1988 federal decision (Preseault v. ICC, 2d Cir. 1988) as the law. That decision had found that no compensation would be due reversionary landowners of railbanked rights-of-way because the land had not vested. But, that decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990 (Preseault v. ICC, 494 U.S. 1 1990). Goldman wrote to me that he was "...very familiar with environmental law and rail banking law...". If Goldman was familiar with railbanking law, as he claimed, then he intentionally lied to me about my rights to compensation by citing a decision which had been overturned.
        (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

         Another good example of Goldman's half-truths is when he wrote "...a number of courts have held that trail use is within the scope of a railroad easement..." The significance of that statement is that, even if a railbanked right-of-way is an easement, the reversionary property owners would not get compensation because their railroad easement would be legally interpreted to allow use as a trail. He cited South Dakota and Minnesota decisions as proof. But, in my opinion, he was well aware that the Washington State Supreme Court had found just the opposite in Lawson v. State of Washington (1986).

      "Applying common law principles, we hold that a change in use from "rails to trails" constitutes abandonment of an easement which was granted for railroad purposes only."
      [Lawson v. State of Washington (1986)]

         Further, the Lawson decision was held as the authority in Preseault (1996).

      "Most state courts that have been faced with the question of whether conversion to a nature trail falls within the scope of an original railroad easement have held that it does not. Lawson v. State, 730 P.2d 1308 (Wash. 1986) (in banc), is an example of a case practically on all fours with the case before us."
      [Preseault v. U.S.A. 1996)]

         So, Goldman implied that bike trails are an allowable use of railroad easements when he knew this argument failed in both Washington State and Federal courts. This is just one of the many half-truths and lies that he presented to misinform me and to convince me to not stand up for my property rights.
        (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

         Considering the dishonesty in Goldman's internet posting "Facts About The Proposed East Lake Sammamish Trail", and considering the dishonesty and half-truths in his emails to me, I assume he lied at the public meetings he attended, too. Peter Goldman is dishonest man, who appears to have actively participated in the ELS federal tax fraud scheme, and is protected from prosecution by some powerful folks in county, state and federal government. Goldman's motto: "When you have a judge, or two, in your pocket, you're golden." (Motto based on my understanding of his actions in the ELS federal tax fraud scheme.) (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

    Charles Montange: Former Lead Attorney for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

         Charles Montange, former lead attorney for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, was the attorney for The Land Conservancy of Seattle and King County (TLC) in the ELS railbanking transaction. Evidence that I've discovered suggests that Montange participated with BNSF in the ELS federal tax fraud scheme. This question should be answered: How large a part did Montange play in the tax fraud scheme?

         I obtained a copy of a draft document from BNSF to Montange that shows Montange was well aware that BNSF was going to claim a phony tax donation based on the inflated Arthur Andersen appraisal of the ELS right-of-way. Arthur Andersen had been instructed by BNSF to assume BNSF held fee simple title to all of the right-of-way. There were handwritten changes made to that draft document which would protect Montange, and hide the fact that he was aware of the fraud. The final document incorporated all those handwritten changes. My right to put Charles Montange under oath and question him about his participation and knowledge of the federal tax fraud scheme was denied by Federal District Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein. (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

         TLC had obtained its own appraisal for the right-of-way, and as TLC's attorney, Montange knew the TLC appraised value was significantly less than the BNSF appraised value by Arthur Andersen. As former lead attorney for the Tails-to-Trails Conservancy, he certainly was familiar with how railroad right-of-way deeds are construed under common law. As attorney for TLC he would have been remiss in his duties if he were not aware that the pre-prepared "form deed" used to obtain the ELS right-of-way deeds had twice been found to be an easement in the courts. He would also be aware that King County had admitted the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway (SLS&E) right-of-way deeds in the Lawson case were also easements. My understanding is that there were about twelve deeds associated with Lawson. This means that fourteen SLS&E deeds had been contested in Washington courts, and all were determined to be easements, either by the decision of judges or by the admission of King County. In no instance had a SLS&E deed been found to grant fee simple title. With these facts before him, Montange agreed to accept a phony donation from BNSF that assumed all the East Lake Sammamish right-of-way deeds granted fee simple title to the Railway. Based on this information, Montange knew the BNSF donation of the land under its ELS right-of-way was fraudulent. Further he agreed to certify that phony donation to the IRS. That's federal tax fraud. There is no doubt in my mind that this lawyer played a very large role in the ELS federal tax fraud scheme.
        (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

         In my lawsuit with King County, I described the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme and presented the evidence of Montange's wrongdoing to Federal Judge Rothstein as Exhibit 5. Rothstein struck my description and Exhibit 5 on a motion from the King County prosecutor. This was very helpful for the King County prosecutor, as the Prosecutor's office was an active participant in the federal tax fraud scheme. It's a windfall when a criminal can get a judge to strike evidence of his crime. We can thank Federal District Judge Rothstein for that treasonous move. Not only did Rothstein strike this evidence of the East Lake Sammamish federal tax fraud scheme, she struck the other evidence of the fraud, too. Further, she refused to turn the evidence over to federal prosecutors. There is no question that Rothstein was protecting the participants in the federal tax fraud scheme. Does she have a connection to Montange or Goldman?
        (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

      View the Draft Sale Agreement BNSF-TLC, with an Explanation.

      View the Final Sale Agreement BNSF-TLC, with an Explanation.

      View selected pages of the Arthur Andersen ELS Right-of-Way Appraisal for BNSF. ($41.7 Million)

      View the full Arthur Andersen ELS Right-of-Way Appraisal for BNSF. (Warning: Large File - 4mb)

      View Vol. II, Right-of-Way Appraisal for TLC. ($14.6 - $31.5 Million)

So, do we know if the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Encourages Federal Tax Fraud in its Railbanking Transactions?

     Above, I describe two officers (one former) of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy acting dishonestly in the railbanking transaction for the East Lake Sammamish right-of-way. There is little doubt in my mind that they actively participated in the federal tax fraud scheme used to railbank the right-of-way. So, does this happen with most, or all, of the other railbanking transactions? Is it business-as-usual at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to use federal tax fraud as an incentive to get railroads to railbank their unneeded tracks? (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

     How do we find out if there is fraud in the railbanking transactions? If the public ever demands railbanking transactions be investigated, the place to start is with the sale document from the railroad to the trail entity. If it's a bargain sale, which contains a tax donation requiring acknowledgment to the IRS, it may be a tax fraud scheme. It will be necessary to look at the appraisal to check further. If the appraisal assumes that the land under the right-or-way is owned, fee simple, by the railroad, it may be a tax fraud scheme. It will be necessary to look at the original right-of-way deeds to check further. State and federal law will decide whether the deeds passed an easement or fee simple title to the railroad. If the deeds to the railroad for the right-of-way are easements, and the railroad took a tax donation for donating land it didn't own, we have federal tax fraud. That's exactly what happened with the railbanking of the ELS right-of-way.
    (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)

     I see evidence that Peter Goldman and Charles Montange have worked hard to misinform the public as to the effect of the railbanking law and to misinterpret the rights of the reversionary owners. It's obvious to me that these two slimy lawyers have actively participated in the ELS federal tax fraud scheme. Because of their affiliation with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, it seems very likely to me that this organization routinely works to defraud the American taxpayer by encouraging federal tax fraud in other railbanking transactions. When the public demands an investigation, we'll begin the process of finding the truth.
    (My statements describing wrongdoing or criminal actions on this webpage are a First Amendment expression of my opinion.)