Long time open government supporter and activist Arthur West has filed suit against the City of Gold Bar, after Snohomish County Superior Court held in Block v Gold Bar that the City violated Our Court’s holding in Hobbs v State Auditor, 183 Wn.App. 925 (2014).
The City’s public records officer is Joe Beavers, Gold Bar’s former Mayor who has misappropriated over $1,000,000.00 hiding computer crimes, amounting to Racketeering, involving Gold Bar’s former Mayor Crystal Hill ( nee Berg, convicted of bank fraud in 2005) and disgraced former Director John E. Pennington ( man responsible for causing 43 people in the Oso Washington mudslides to suffocate to death and the rape of a 5 year old girl from Cowlitz County).
In Hobbs, Our Court held that an agency must give a reasonable estimate of time. The agency’s estimate must clearly must state when the records requested are expected to be released, but once it fails to do so, it’s deemed to be an automatic violation of RCW 42.56. See Hobbs v State Auditor.
Since 2010, the City of Gold Bar, mainly Joe Beavers, has been refusing to provide a timely estimate, but instead simply places hundreds of records requests on the City’s priority log without a specific date in violation of Hobbs, refusing to answer requests for over five years in many cases.
As just one example of just how blatant the City’s disregard for the Public Records Act ( PRA) has become, in 2014 I requested a copy of the City’s Budget from former Mayor Linda Loen, a simple records request that still remains outstanding as of today.
In several instances, the Gold Bar Reporters caught Beavers and the former clerk, Laura Kelly (who was fired for theft of public funds), answering public records requests for friends, including former Mayor Crystal Hill and Sky Valley Chronicle owner Ron Fejfar, without ever being placed on the City’s priority log.
Joe Beavers ( former financial officer who bankrupted an engineering firm in Clinton Connecticut, 2001, forcing his early retirement), Crystal Hill ( Nee Berg, convicted of bank fraud 2005), Linda Eide at the Washington State Bar Association ( caught destroying and altering evidence in attorney Robert Grundstien’s case), attorneys Margaret King and Michael Kenyon, and Sky Valley Chronicle owner Ron Fejfar are being sued under RICO with depositions expected to start early in 2017.
In March 2014, Arthur West was given Washington Coalition for Open Government Key Award for his continuous and outstanding contributions in advancing open government issues here in Washington State.
On March 11, 2014, Snohomish County Court held in Block v Gold Bar, that the City of Gold Bar had violated RCW 42.56, when it refused to provide records to me for over five years.
The City’s trouble have just begun as the City has ten additional requests in the same boat – over five years old- and continues to thumb its nose at the Public Records Act (PRA) by refusing to provide a estimate as to when the City intends to answer records requests. This violates our Court’s holding in Hobbs.
As of today in Block v Gold Bar, the City has withheld over 330 emails for over 2000 days, and recently turned over records with metadata dating back to May 2010 ( in the same year the records were actually requested). Metadata is to electronic records as DNA is to unlocking human existence; it tells us when the records were created and who created them.
One can only speculate as to why the City refused to provide records it had readily had available in its possession for over five years. Stupid is a stupid does, but one resident said “ I saw Joe Beavers at the doctor’s office, a doctor that treats dementia related diseases.”
Lately, pictures of Joe Beavers illustrates just how mentally unfit he is. One open government supporter said “ he smells and looks like a homeless man.”
Snohomish County Superior Court held in March that the City violated the PRA, thus I am entitled to costs, and other fees associated with suit, including attorney fees at $220 per hours plus a per day penalty of up to $105 per day for each of the 330 plus emails withheld.
The Gold Bar Reporters commend Arthur West for shinning much needed sunlight on the cockroaches from Gold Bar who are spitting on open government concepts I view more valuable than life itself.
I also thank Joe Beavers for posting defamatory articles on the Sky Valley Chronicle as I believe this gave rise to Mr. West’s interest in the cockroaches who have ruining Gold Bar.
In 2016, Our Court also held that each page of unlawfully withheld records calls for a per day penalty for each record withheld. In my case, Beavers unlawfully withheld public records relating to WSBA complaints he ordered former Gold Bar clerk Penny Brenton to write, misusing City staff and resources, thus making each complaint subject to the PRA.
Penalty for improperly withholding public record can be calculated on a per page basis.
See Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop v. Department of Labor and Industries, ___ Wn.2d ___ (3/24/2016) – When the Department of Labor and Industries failed to provide certain records of an investigation (which the court determined were not exempt) a penalty was imposed calculated according to the number of pages found in each document. On appeal, the supreme court upheld the trial court’s decision, noting that the trial court has discretion to determine what is a relevant record, and it did not abuse that discretion by imposing penalties on a per page basis. The court also held that the records were not categorically exempt as investigative records since the Department of Labor and Industries did not prove that withholding them was essential to effective law enforcement.