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Washam’s deputy files recall petition against Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, claiming Lindquist is obstructing justice

Post by Kris Sherman / The News Tribune on Oct. 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm with 28 Comments »
October 21, 2010 9:25 pm

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist won’t go after former Assessor-Treasurer Ken Madsen for allegedly falsifying county tax records, Deputy Assessor-Treasurer Alberto Ugas says.

So Ugas, in his status as a private citizen, is going after Lindquist.

Prosecutor Mark Lindquist

Ugas and Dan Fishburn, a local general contractor, launched a recall drive against Lindquist this week.

The six-page “Citizens Recall Petition” is accompanied by 624 pages of assertions, documents and exhibits that Ugas says proves the case that Lindquist should be recalled, Ugas told me last night.

Ugas and Fishburn claim Lindquist obstructed justice by actively discouraging police agencies from investigating claims of wrongdoing in the office of former Assessor-Treasurer Ken Madsen.

Lindquist, who was appointed prosecutor last year, is seeking election to a four year term. One of his former prosecutors, Bertha Fitzer, is opposing him in the Nov. 2 general election.

He discounts the petition as frivolous and says he’s done his job to the absolute letter of the law.

“Both the sheriff and I take seriously any allegations of criminal conduct,” Lindquist told me this afternoon. ” I’m confident that the sheriff’s office will look at this (the allegations of illegal activity  in Madsen’s office)  and after the sheriff’s office looks at it, they will discuss it with us.”

“We have not advised the sheriff’s office or anyone else not to investigate this,” Lindquist said. “That’s absurd.”

The recall petition appears to be the latest salvo in a barrage of complaints, letters and public pleas from the office of Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam to investigate alleged wrongdoing by former Assessor-Treasurer Ken Madsen.

Madsen and his staff “falsified” thousands of property value assessments from 2001-2008 and forged documents in the assessor’s office, Ugas alleges in the recall effort. An independent investigation found earlier this year that Madsen’s office failed to do in-person property assessments as required by law and instead used statistical analyses to assign value.

Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam

Washam and Ugas long have maintained the actions of Madsen and his staff tainted the county’s tax rolls and harmed property owners by unfairly shifting tax burdens. State officials have said though the required inspections were skipped, they don’t believe any damage was done.

Washam refused this year to certify the tax rolls to the state and said he won’t sign an oath that they’re correct until his office can catch up on all the inspections that weren’t done. State law requires that every property get an in-person evaluation at least once every six years.

Ugas said filing the recall petition as a private citizen was his idea, and Washam did not direct him to take the action. Ugas did, however, consult Washam on the issue, he said. Washam tried unsuccessfully to recall Madsen in 2005.

In this announcement, Recall Press Release Ugas said Lindquist failed to enforce the law by not prosecuting “those responsible for the falsification of hundreds of thousands of appraisals in the Pierce County Assessor’s Office.”

The recall petition also charges that Lindquist is guilty of obstruction of justice “by intentionally discouraging the Pierce County Sheriff and the Tacoma Police departments from pursuing investigations” into the alleged criminal violations.

Lindquist’s actions constitute the “misfeasance/and or malfeasance” in office that are grounds for recall, the petition says.

Lindquist told me he can make a decision to charge someone with criminal activity only after presented with the results of an investigation by a law enforcement agency. A number of state and local agencies, including the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, have assessed many of Washam’s allegations and declined to press for criminal prosecution of Madsen or his staff.

“Mr. Washam’s petition is so frivolous it would be funny if not for the fact that Mr. Washam keeps wasting time and taxpayers’ money,” Lindquist told me in a phone conversation Wednesday.

If a law enforcement agency presents him with a case, “we’ll review it and make a charging decision,” he said.

Ugas, told of Lindquists’s comments, retorted: “We basically feel that there have been some very serious violations of law …. And we believe we have a county prosecutor who does not take seriously a violation of law.”

To that, Lindquist responded: “The only thing I dont take seriously is Mr. Washam and Mr Ugas. It’s impossible to take them seriously when they file a frivolous recall petition. … Even while I don’t take Mr. Washam or Mr. Ugas seriously, I will take this situation and the allegations seriously when the sheriff brings them to us for review.”

As to the involvement of his boss, Ugas said: “Obviously Mr. Washam has been through the recall process, so I have picked his brain as was needed.
Fishburn, a Lake Tapps property owner who has sparred with county officials over problems with a million-dollar home he says is uninhabitable, could not be reached for comment.

Asked whether Washam directed or asked him to file the petition, Ugas said: “No. It was my idea to do this and I had the good fortune to have the help of Mr. Fishburn. … I did most of the writing myself.”

Investigators have found that Washam, who was elected in 2008 and took office in 2009, has violated state and federal law by retaliating against an employee who disagreed with him.

Mark Williams, an employee demoted by Washam, filed a $750,000 damage claim against the county last week. In it, he alleges Washam violated his rights, defamed him and retaliated against him over a two-year period.

In his nearly two years in office, Washam has continued – and recently stepped up – his drumbeat that Madsen and his staff should be held criminally accountable for their actions.

Ugas and Fishburn filed their recall petition against Lindquist with Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson. She turned it over to the state Attorney General’s Office, as required by state law. (In a recall involving any other county official, the local prosecutor would take charge of the case.)

Under the state’s recall statutes, the attorney general’s office has 15 days to write a ballot synopsis of the recall effort and turn that over to Superior Court. The court then determines whether there are grounds for a recall to proceed.

All of that would occur after the Nov. 2 election.

Ugas said he’s confident the petition meets all the requirements of the law.

It’s not clear, however, how Lindquist might fight into the recall statutes, since he’s an appointed official at this point, and the state law refers  to “elective” public officers.

Lindquist believes  the case “will be thrown out on the merits.”

“We’re doing our job in the prosecutor’s office and I wish Mr. Washam would focus on doing his job,” Lindquist said.

Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. tortoise says:

    Poor Washam, trying to set things straight. He has both the “old T-Town boys” and this fish wrapper against him.

    All the snide, albeit juvenile and crudely written comments, won’t change wrong into right.

  2. NineInchNachosII says:

    SEE WASHAM ‘invasion of the inspection snatchers’ TACOMIC:

    this new ratchet will probably warrant a whole new cartoon. Poor Mark Lindquist.

  3. ntreader says:

    I certainly hope that since Mr. Ugas is doing this as a “private citizen” that he has public disclosure requests for all the documents and proof of payment ( not public funds) and that he didn’t use any office equipment or work time for his “private citizen” project.
    If it wasn’t for how much time and money the dynamic duo are wasting, their escapades would be entertaining.
    I feel sympathy for the office staff. If I had the financial resources I’d start a recall against Washam (and try to get Ugas removed too). Enough is enough.

  4. bonuswagna says:

    Wow Washam,…just…wow.

  5. AreYouHighOrWhat says:

    HOLD UP! While I might agree with Dale about the property tax (adjustments made through bad math aren’t cool), but going after our Prosecutor isn’t going to win him any friends. In fact, I’m downright livid! I’m sooooo not a shill for anybody, and can usually rag about everyone equally. I have nothing bad to say, I love that Mark Lindquist and his efforts to help our community, even if he overreaches once in a while like with the HTC prosecution. I see this as a poorly executed political attack and I will never forgive Dave if Mark doesn’t get reelected. Besides, isn’t it just totally groovy that while you’re out in Tacoma enjoying it’s nightlife you might actually run into him if you’re in the right place (he’s a music fan), and I really like knowing that one of our “gatekeepers to justice” doesn’t just know the city’s dayshift.

  6. Perspicacious1 says:

    Thank you Rank Choice Voting…..do you think maybe there was a reason that Washam was not elected for every other office he ever ran for?

    Even if eveything he says is true, this is NOT the way to handle correcting the problem…….

    Any private sector person who treated his employees the way this man does, would be fired instantly.

    I’m personally sick to death of this public display of total incompetancy and lack of management style on the part of Washam…… how many days until 2012?

  7. I know many that would sign this recall petition. Lindquist has turned a blind eye to other serious crimes involving other elected officials – even when briefed on them in person.

  8. bonuswagna says:

    “many”,…many? Good luck with that fantum.

  9. This is just a pre-election low blow by the two village idiots, Washam and Ugas.

  10. imissmymother1 says:

    I know for a fact that the sheriff office does not investigate anyone who is remotely close to them. I asked Pierce County prosecutors office as well as the Sheriff dept (Paul Pastor) to investigate prosecutorial and police misconduct. after I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars detective Deborah Heishamn is still on the force and to this day still has never been investigated. They all work hand in hand and cover up for each other. you talk about criminals. Pierce county is the worst for covering for their own. I do believe good things come to those who wait and I have nothing but time to watch the house of Pierce County crumble.

  11. colsprague says:

    I definitely think a recall petition is called for. But not against Mark Lindquist.

  12. nwcolorist says:

    Before deciding on this issue, wouldn’t it be helpful to read the evidence in the 624 page document?

    Just a thought.

  13. S_Emerson says:


    “Fishburn, a Lake Tapps property owner who has sparred with county officials over problems with a million-dollar home he says is uninhabitable”

    No, the TPCHD deemed the house uninhabitable, and the State is who devalued the house which, actually, has negative value due to the contaminated soil removal requirements.

    Do your homework, please, before continuing to assume anything about Mr. Fishburn or the case of the destruction of his home at the hands of Pierce County. Everything you need to know is available at http://LakeTappsNightmare.com.

  14. I agree there should be a recall petition should be called for but not for Mark Lindquist.
    But for Washam.

    He has done so many things wrong on treating the employees wrong and here we go tax payers get prepared to pay for the lawsuits that have just started

  15. Tales_of_the_Bizarro_World says:

    Can someone downtown verify if Mr. Ugas smells like lemons? Is he a tall man? Interesting medical condition anyway.

    Does anyone know if there are any other recall campaigns in the works?


  16. m9078jk3 says:

    One can usually tell who is insane by looking into their eyes.
    Look at the pictures of both of these political figures (most politicians are lunatics and delusional).Which one of these is insane or both or neither?

  17. OK, I just gotta say, filing for a recall election BEFORE an election is the ultimate sign of crazy.

    This literally, and I do mean literally, makes no sense. Are Washam and his camp stupid? Isn’t this a little like filing for divorce before the marriage, demanding a retrial before a trial, putting a cart before a horse?

    I truly don’t understand this latest tactic by these nut jobs that illiterates voted into office.

  18. jiminycricket says:

    What a nut case!

  19. Absolutely hilarious. What terrible advice they’re getting in the Washam camp. Yeah, sorry about RCV (I’m against it now). Made sense when it was Bush, Gore & Nader as the spoiler. Who would have thought it could mess up Pierce county so effectively?
    Folks, Neo thinks this is a great opportunity to watch the drama that is real obsessive compulsive behavior played out in the local political arena. Sadly, I am almost beginning to feel sympathetic toward Mr Washam because he is clearly severely disturbed. And, what a little sycophant Mr. Ugas must be. To OCD we must now add co-dependent enabling behavior. Counselor Troi to the bridge…

  20. elmocatt says:

    What a waste of taxpayer money – the recall petition.

    If one does not like Lindquist – vote agains him on Nov 2.

    And then when Washam comes up for re-election . . . .

  21. Concernedfather says:

    Lindquist responded: “…I will take this situation and the allegations seriously when the sheriff brings them to us for review.”

    Right on, Mark! Now let’s all watch and see what our Elected Sheriff does. I sure hope that SOMEONE will do a real investigation here. This is not about missed inspections, or alternate means of calculating taxes. This is about hundreds of thousands of fraudulent entries.

    Come on ,Sheriff Pastor, show us that we stand for TRUTH & JUSTICE in Pierce County.

  22. MakePeace says:

    Could an investigation of Mr. Washam’s investigation reveal that the hundreds of thousands of so called falsified entries are grossly inflated?

  23. mchawkeye says:

    These two nuts have really come out of their shell! The previous actions of the County ASSessor and his minion are going to cost the County (the tax payers) large sums of money. There are already lawsuits filed by County employees, former employees, and at least one labor union because of Mr. Washam’s obsession with Ken Madsen and the vendetta he has towards any of his employees that don’t jump on his band wagon.

    Mr. Washam, if you can do a better job that previous assessors, just do it! And quit crying about the past, we’re all tired of hearing you spout.

    Perhaps Mr. Madsen should launch a recall petition to remove Mr. Washam from office, turnabout is fare play.

    And Mr. Lindquist may want to entertain the idea of a competancy hearing for Mr. Washam, and maybe a couple years at Western State.

    There is only one thing that Dale Washam gives you for certain.
    He gives Ugas.

  24. olympicmtn says:

    Pierce County does not prosecute white collar crimes. Unless you murder someone, they do not prosecute for any of these RICO crimes. In fact it was the Pierce County Prosecutor’s office as I recall that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending Pearsall and Gamble from the infamous race, age discrimination lawsuits. Where was the outrage in spending money to defend these crack pot politicians? So again, it is apparent if you are a Democrat politician in Pierce County you will not be prosecuted. I am glad someone is trying to enforce the laws of this state.

  25. enotrams says:

    Washam has not broken the law. What good is a state law if it’s broken by an elected official and then other elected officials who are entrusted by the public to uphold to law just ignore it?

    Ken Madsen certainly broke the law and could likely be convicted of several felonies if he didn’t have the protection of the Pierc County political establishment.

    Mark Lindquist and the rest of the Pierce County government is complicit becasue they refuse to fail to act. Just who exactly is Lindquist working for here? Certainly not the citizens that he is now asking to vote for him?

    There are many idiots who like to post here about how great Mark Lindquist is. No prosecutor can be called great when he ignores fragrant violations of state law by and ELECTED official. Pierce County government is dirty, it has been for years and Mark Lindquist is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    The public should be pissed that Lindquist would rather seek a ten year jail sentence for a grieving mother who lost her two children in an auto accident while he ignores a lawbreaking county auditor who fragrantly violated state law and conspired to defraud taxpayers of millions of dollars.

    Yet this publication continues to state that “no harm has been done” to the public while supporting Lindquist and villifying the current county AT………BullSh!t

  26. klthompson says:

    In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.” Why does it always seem to happen in Pierce County?

  27. PumainTacoma says:

    How does the prosecutor’s office and the City of Tacoma defend itself against the released info from King County news this morning re: Zina Linnik? I do not see anything from the Tribune (of course-hiding under a rock again). This will make everyone upset. Time to vote these people out of office.

    KIRO Radio

    On July 4, 2007, 12-year-old Zina Linnik was snatched from behind her family’s Tacoma home and murdered by a known sex offender.

    Now, Linnik’s family is suing the state, Pierce County, and the city of Tacoma for failing to keep tabs on Terapon Adhahn before he committed the heinous crime.

    In preparing his case, Linnik family lawyer Tyler Firkins asked the defendants to answer a series of questions, and a few of Tacoma’s answers are troubling, he said.

    Since 2000, cities have been required, by state law, to verify sex offenders’ addresses by sending them, via certified mail, verification forms. According to the statute, “the chief law enforcement officer [...] shall make reasonable attempts to locate any sex offender who fails to return the verification form or who cannot be located at the registered address.”

    In the lawsuit’s discovery phase, Firkins asked Tacoma’s lawyers the following question: “By year, how many unregistered sex offenders who failed to return verification forms were located by Tacoma after failing to return the verification form from 1998 to 2007?”

    The city’s response, in a document provided by Firkins to KIRO-FM: “There are no records to indicate that such mailings ever occurred. The Tacoma Police Department has never done any mailings.”

    “The response is, we’re not sending out these forms, and therefore we don’t have any to produce to you, since we don’t send them out,” said Firkins. “Even though that’s a direct violation of the statute.”

    But when we asked Anderson’s office how specifically Tacoma tracks its offenders to comply with state law, we got no response.

    “FOR A DECADE now, the city of Tacoma, as far as we know based on their answers, hasn’t complied with the statute,” said Firkins. !!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW


  28. elderjustice2010 says:

    Our group is steadfast in ensuring that Pierce County law enforcement finally prosecutes for elder abuse in Pierce County. No elder parent should have to be subjected to mental abuse, isolation, removal of assets, cashing in of savings bonds, life insurance policies, annuities and changing of beneficiaries by siblings and the power of attorney, stealing over $400,000 in life saving’s to preserve an out of business real estate company in Pierce County. When DSHS turns a blind eye to prosecuting those with political ties, that abuse the most vulnerable among us, others must push for justice. That is why we are pushing for a full time elder abuse prosecutor in Pierce County. Vote Bertha Fitzer.

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