Dick Adams wrote an email to the Spokane, WA, City Council and Mayor Mary Verner last week that, when you put two and two together, has the effect of indicting the mayor for anarchy. Actually, the evidence suggests to me that the mayor effectively confessed to anarchy three years ago with a surprisingly candid email she wrote to a former sheriff. Mr. Adams’s email shows what Mayor Verner’s anarchy is costing her citizens.
Mr. Adams objected to consideration that Spokane chief financial officer Gavin Cooley is giving to “charging our city credit card” by selling $45 million of councilmanic bonds. Mr. Adams told me that he considers this an illegal use of public debt because its purpose is to solve a financial crisis caused by an earlier illegal use of public debt. Mr. Cooley is an agent of both frauds, charges Mr. Adams, which stem from the River Park Square financial scandal.
Dick Adams is hardly alone in decrying such abuse of public finance as part of a much larger pattern of government behavior in America today. A retired executive of a U.S. Steel subsidiary, Mr. Adams is well known for his financial expertise. Over the years he has been one of the closest and most knowledgeable observers of municipal finance in Spokane. Not just Teapartiers agree with him that America’s fiscal lawlessness has become nothing less than a government Ponzi scheme now threatening the country with an historic economic catastrophe.
In this heist, never-ending layers of debt are added to sub-layers. (Mr. Adams is horrified that American citizens now owe nearly a trillion dollars to China.) Much of this debt, as in the case of Wall Street’s 2008 meltdown and its globally transmitted fiscal disease of derivatives, is directly traceable to criminal activity. The criminal enterprise involves government officials helping private interests steal money from the public. The criminals keep getting away with their crime because of the gangsterization of government. Government criminals, naturally, will not prosecute themselves for their crimes.
At the heart of the 2008 meltdown is a structural accounting fraud that U.S. government leaders embedded in the global economy with their refusal to regulate derivatives and impose generally accepted accounting principles on them. That refusal is why uber investor Warren Buffett called derivatives “weapons of financial mass destruction.” Responsible government regulation of derivatives would have mandated full disclosure of their true asset value, and that might have averted the historic economic emergency now threatening the nation. For a quick review of U.S. government culpability in this emergency, watch the PBS Frontline report called “The Warning,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/.
In that report, you’ll hear this exchange between a Congressional hearing panelist and former Chairwoman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Brooksley Born:
Q: What are you trying to protect?
Born: We’re trying to protect the money of the American public.
The Clinton Administration chose not to accept that mission. Neither did the Bush Administration. Nor has Barack Obama’s Administration. When President Obama, the eloquent purveyor of hope, and the U.S. Congress got around to passing last year’s “financial reform” legislation, they accepted assistance from 54 financial industry lobbying firms that spent $300 million. That trifling investment bought Wall Street the ability to keep gambling with the money of the American people—and the fate of the global economy. (See John Cassidy’s “Annals of Economics: The Volker Rule,” in the 7/26/10 issue of The New Yorker.)
From accounts like these, government officials and various private interests emerge as little more than glib public/private mobsters. Untouchable by virtue of the legal immunity they gain from their control of government, they’re able to enjoy their champagne while blowing raspberries at the rest of the world. In this scenario, the citizens of the world become to the public/private mobsters what the Jews of Europe were to the Nazis—compliant souls to be herded into ghettos for scheduled liquidation. The liquidation in this case, of course, is not of actual bodies based on criminal insanity of the political kind. Instead, it is liquidation of personal wealth—and civilization’s hope—resulting from criminal insanity of the economic kind. Thus have the nations of the world become ghettos for the use of organized financial crime.
Mr. Adams’s email connects to this bigger picture, because the settled evidence clearly shows that Spokane’s River Park Square scandal was the work of public/private mobsters. River Park Square is hometown civic theater to Wall Street’s Broadway extravaganza.
Supporters of RPS euphemistically called it a public/private partnership. Details of the project that surfaced in federal municipal securities fraud litigation, an IRS investigation, and extensive national prize-winning investigative reporting by my colleagues and me (see www.camasmagazine.com) show that RPS was just carefully packaged public/private crime.
Ugly facts clearly show that River Park Square developer Betsy Cowles set out to commit crime, and that her newspaper publisher brother, Stacey Cowles, did, too. Mr. Cowles’s crime was to provide the use of the family’s newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, to package his little sister’s real estate crime for public consumption.
This whole sordid history is tediously documented elsewhere on this blog and various links cited by it. Consider the following:
For evidence that Betsy Cowles knowingly set out to break the law, see the story “Missing Man,” http://www.camasmagazine.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?aid=177. Open Ms. Cowles’s infamous 3/9/95 “divide and conquer” memo. That memo proves that Ms. Cowles, a lawyer, intended to violate federal securities law by hiding from investors her plan to launder a $23 million federal loan into the Nordstrom Co. by giving Nordstrom a free new store in Spokane. To accomplish this crime, she intended to “divide and conquer” Spokane’s city government, a time-honored tactic of despots. See “Inside Job,” http://www.camasmagazine.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?aid=101, for proof that the Cowleses set out to secretly access public funds in a way that violated federal guidelines, and that Spokane public officials helped them do it. As companion reading, see the story “Fraudville, USA,” http://www.camasmagazine.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?aid=179. Read the RPS bondholders’ 91-point Omnibus Statement of Facts. It documents the securities fraud engineered by Ms. Cowles with active complicity of a host of Spokane officials. The city admitted to its role in this crime by purchasing the bondholders’ complaint and promising to recover the $26 million it paid Ms. Cowles for the RPS garage. But then the city pulled yet another bait and switch on its citizens. It let Ms. Cowles keep her stolen money, and, with the help of the IRS, saddled Spokane’s citizens with the cost of the Cowles robbery. See “A New RPS Fraud?”, http://www.camasmagazine.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?aid=199.
For evidence that Spokesman-Review publisher Stacey Cowles used the family’s paper to cover up the RPS crime, begin with “All in the Family,” http://www.camasmagazine.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?aid=65. See also, “Breaking the News,” http://www.camasmagazine.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?aid=172. There you’ll find evidence that Mr. Cowles turned his paper into a propaganda machine for his family’s highly organized criminal enterprise of illegally leveraging a minimum of $100 million in public funds to refurbish the Cowles family’s downtown shopping mall—River Park Square. You’ll also see evidence that when Mr. Cowles allowed his editor, Chris Peck, to twice attack former Mayor John Talbott as a “civic terrorist” for trying to expose the $23 million federal loan fraud, both Mr. Cowles and Mr. Peck were in possession of evidence showing that they knew they were falsely accusing him. That is, they were falsely accusing a mayor who was trying to expose the truth and serve those who elected him. This is the blackest of journalism sins. It’s known as “actual malice libel.” That refers to the intentional publication of a lie. Mr. Cowles’s purpose in publishing these lies was obviously to help the Cowles family with its massive public robbery. Mr. Peck’s purpose was apparently to keep his job as a handsomely paid Cowles bagman. To do that, he was willing to also become a hit man, assassinating in front of the community the character of mayor who deserved praise for his exemplary courage. Because the evidence shows that RPS represents continuing organized crime, and because there is no statute of limitations for such crime, I happen to believe that Mayor Talbott could at any time bring a civil RICO actual malice libel case against both Mr. Cowles and Mr. Peck. RICO provides for the recovery of treble damages, because its purpose is to destroy organized crime. The former mayor was the leader duly elected by the people of Spokane to protect them from the Cowles family’s $100 million RPS fraud. The evidence of fraud is settled. The evidence of actual malice libel is irrefutable. The evidence that Betsy and Stacey Cowles mounted a secret political campaign to defeat Talbott is also irrefutable. (See, “How a publishing heiress went after an uncooperative mayor: http://www.camasmagazine.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?aid=181 .) The actual losses to the municipality of Spokane resulting from the Cowles family’s criminal character assassination of Mayor Talbott and clandestine political attack on him would require forensic accounting. But that would be pretty easy.
For further evidence of my allegations that RPS was public/private crime, you might wish to review: “Open Letter to an Ethicist” and “American Serbia,” below. See also http://www.camasmagazine.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?aid=185, which is an article about a national first-place journalism award for a 10-part reporting package titled “How The Spokesman-Review Subverted Democracy in Spokane, Washington.” See also“The Casino Was Rigged,” which describes the evidence of (un-prosecuted) crime found by the IRS: http://www.camasmagazine.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?aid=189.
Where’s the Anarchy?
So far, government watchdogs, bought and paid for by the private interests that control their bosses, carefully trained by their bosses not to bark when such crimes are committed, have obediently not barked. The watchdogs’ complicity just adds to a history that, as Mr. Adams’s email shows, can only get uglier so long as the perpetrators are not brought to justice.
The RPS crime is the reason that the specific number Mr. Adams is questioning—$45 million—raises the specter of the mayor’s anarchy.
The new layer of debt Mr. Cooley wants to lay on the public matches almost precisely the $44.8 million layer of debt that he and other public officials charged their citizens to pay off the RPS fraud that they had perpetrated on them.
“To me, what Cooley is trying to do has the appearance of refinancing the RPS fraud,” says Mr. Adams. “This should be discussed at least until 2030, which is when the RPS bond fraud will finally be paid off.”
Mary Verner, as she is well aware, plays a central role in this “scheme.” Scheme is what the IRS called it. In this scheme, then-Councilwoman Verner helped hold open the bag into which she and her fellow public servants illegally shoveled the swag of tens of millions of public dollars. And then they submissively handed the bag over to Betsy Cowles.
“A New RPS Fraud?” shows how upset Councilwoman Verner, who is also a lawyer, claimed to be about her role in this theft. But she did nothing about it. She joined the great pack of barkless watchdogs.
It’s the email Councilwoman Verner wrote to former Sheriff Tony Bamonte, when she was running for mayor, in which she convicts herself of anarchy. Anarchy, of course, is the dog-eat-dog chaos that results from an absence of government.
Sheriff Bamonte has been a prominent enough Democrat for decades that every electoral season candidates, Democrat and Republican alike, make a pilgrimage to his home, seeking his endorsement. Mary Verner did that when she ran for mayor in 2007.
Sheriff Bamonte said he would support her conditioned on her promise to prosecute the RPS crime, particularly the death of Jo Ellen Savage in the RPS garage. Bamonte had filed criminal complaints charging that Savage’s death was first-degree manslaughter resulting from Cowles neglect. (See “Deathtrap,” http://www.girlfromhotsprings.com/ and “America’s Most Dangerous Cop,” and “American Serbia,” below.) Verner made that promise, according to Bamonte and others present at a meeting in the former sheriff’s home.
Afterward, Bamonte got worried, because Verner said nothing about RPS during her campaign. He called her on it and she responded with an email that deserves a prominent place in the RPS Document Hall of Shame. “I recognize the huge issues of morality, courage, and strength of character involved in taking on the RPS issue,” she wrote in her Nov. 2, 2007 email. “I also know that if I make RPS a cornerstone of my campaign platform, the ‘powers that be’ will ensure that I do not get elected … period.” [See "Powers that Be" link in "American Serbia," below.]
I’ve never been able to understand what possessed Verner to make such an admission to the former sheriff credited with solving the oldest open murder case in U.S. history. Did she really think that Tony Bamonte didn’t know the loneliness of taking on “powers that be?” But there you have it in the mayor’s own words—frank acknowledgment of the existence of public corruption in Spokane more powerful than the city’s government. Frank acknowledgment, too, that she lacked the “morality, courage, and strength of character” to confront it, even as she campaigned for a job that required her to do so. It’s hard to think of a better example of the most dangerous kind of anarchy there is—criminal government. Violent terrorists and Molotov cocktail-hurling street protesters are feeble by comparison.
Mayor Verner has declined to talk with me about her “powers that be” email. She also declines to discuss an order she purportedly received from Betsy Cowles shortly after her election.
Sheriff Bamonte says that Shannon Sullivan, a close friend of Mayor Verner’s, contacted him last year with a disturbing account. Ms. Sullivan, the woman who led the successful drive to recall former Mayor Jim West over a sex abuse scandal, told Bamonte that she was in Verner’s office when Cowles called her and ordered her to take a trip with her. Bamonte told me at the time that Sullivan said the trip involved a flight on Cowles’s private jet.
I found Sullivan’s allegation interesting, because of the IRS findings that the Cowles family controls Spokane’s government. (See “The Casino Was Rigged,” linked above.)
When I asked Ms. Sullivan about the purported Verner/Cowles plane ride, she wrote back denying she had told Bamonte about it. Suzanne Bamonte, the former sheriff’s wife, says she was present when Ms. Sullivan related this account. I provided Ms. Sullivan a memo written by Mrs. Bamonte summarizing her recollection of Sullivan’s story. I requested Ms. Sullivan’s comment on Mrs. Bamonte’s memo. Ms. Sullivan did not respond. So far, Mayor Verner and Ms. Cowles have also not responded to my requests for comment on the alleged plane ride. If they do, I will post their comments here. Meanwhile, I invite Mayor Verner, Ms. Sullivan, and Ms. Cowles to post their comments about this matter here.