Here we go again spending more of our taxpayer dollars on West-coast Lawyers to investigate matters that in the old days could have easily been handled with simple and frank communication between individuals. DARN JIMMY MARKS…AND THE GYPSY CURSE!!
The “Seven Snowflakes”, isn’t the seven City of Spokane Council Members this time it is Seven highly paid and well benefited Spokane City Employees who have filed a Bullying Complaint with City Human Resources against members of the Spokane City Council and apparently the Director of City Human Resources Christine Cavanaugh doesn’t feel her outfit can handle the “investigation”, so we taxpayers will have to pay the bill for an outside lawyer Ms. Katherine Weber to do the “investigation”.
As many of you know I’ve been quite critical of the CC for not asking the right questions and not being demanding enough to get the facts on issues not only relating to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice but also budget expenditures that waste taxpayer dollars. Obviously, my hope is that this case involves Council Members actually asking the tough questions and demanding answers, something we taxpayers need a lot more of.
Is this a case of some Department Heads and their staff trying to intimidate CC Members into not doing their job or is it truly a case of Bullying…who knows…but I guess we have to pay the Big Bucks to find out.
A lot of other questions arise from the decision to farm this investigation out including why the HR Complaint by SPD Detective Lonnie Tofsrud against SPD Lt. Bart Stevens wasn’t farmed out, which from my perspective is a far more pressing issue than those involved in this case.
I guess one could draw the conclusion that the decision to farm the investigation out is the result of a conflict of interest between Ms. Cavanaugh or members of her staff being one of the “Snowflake Seven”…but who knows.
It never fails that when I return from one of my CEO’s lengthy excursions I find that I have been inundated with Public Records Response and all kinds of information from sources about what goes on in the City and County. I was going to hold off doing a story until after tonight’s City Council Meeting to see what transpires, however some folks have pointed out to me that this story needs attention from the taxpayers as well as the MSM prior to the meeting, and especially since this Agenda Item is coming up and should be voted down because of all the problems associated with the implementation of the CAD/RMS/911 we paid New World Systems a bunch of money for despite the fact they have a long history of not providing what they are required to while under contract.
You might wonder what the New World Systems fiasco has to do with this story and the HR Complaint against the CC…this should help!
It will be quite interesting to see if the City Council agrees to have us pay for the ComGroup or they do the right thing and “Just Say No!”
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!
One thing you can count on, when it comes to Public Records Requests that might end up being embarrassing to an elected official is that responses to those requests won’t be by any means fast. Slow walking Public Records Requests is a good strategy from the standpoint of the Public losing interest in or just forgetting about media stories that have a negative impact on or puts government in a bad light. It is a strategy that works quite well with the Main Stream Media, but I try and do my best to report what Ozzie describes as “Just Old Dirt” no matter how long it takes to get the facts and what usually ends up happening is the MSM will finally jump in once I have done all the work and the stuff ends up hitting the fan.
Ozzie’s re-firing of Deputy Travis Smith hasn’t hit the MSM yet even though when Ozzie originally fired Smith there was story after story, and one would think that Smith being fired yet again would be of interest to the MSM, especially since the case involves, among other things, the handling of a Domestic Violence Case.
The question I would think Smith’s lawyers in his most recent firing would be whether or not Ozzie targeted him because of Ozzie’s previous firing of Smith, as well as other issues including the adequacy of SCSO training.
As far as the Smith case is concerned, and as he has with others in the past, Ozzie made an unsuccessful attempt to have criminal charges brought against Smith which will likely be a key factor in Smith’s appeal of the firing.
You can read the case Ozzie presented to the Prosecutor by clicking on the link below.
In reading the report (Above) Ozzie sent to the Prosecutor for charges against Smith a number of things stand out to me. First and perhaps foremost is that obliviously the SCSO needs considerably more training regarding RCW 9.73 which is the Washington State Privacy Act. In the report a number of times the Deputies refer to Washington State being a “TWO PARTY” consent State, which it definitely IS NOT, as I have continually pointed out. Washington State is in fact an “ALL PARTY CONSENT” State, meaning that ALL PARTIES involved in a private communication must give their consent to the recording being made unless one or more of the exceptions in the law applies. The Washington State Privacy Act is complex and has resulted in considerable case law the SCSO needs to get up to speed on.
Beyond the need for considerably more training, I don’t see where Smith made any effort to try and hide the surreptitious recording from his brass, and as a matter of fact indicates he didn’t delete the recording which one would think a person trying to hide something would have done immediately, but that will likely be something for an Arbitrator to decide.
I’m unclear based on this paragraph in the report whether or not there is some other issue involving Smith. If there is another issue my hope is for the taxpayers sake it is a better case then this one appears to be against Smith. Especially when you consider exactly what City Prosecutor Bingham stated about charges against Smith.
OTHER STORY UPDATES!!!
I’m still working on corroborating some of the facts for “WHO WILL WIN THE BATTLE…PART THREE”
Included in that work is trying to figure out Ozzie’s conflicting public statements regarding his friend Phil Tyler, based on the Fossum Report Public Records. One of those issues is what I refer to in my own mind as the “Mossoni Massacre”, Michelle Mossoni being one of the female Detention staff who made complaints against Phil Tyler including assault which resulted in nothing happening as far as Tyler was concerned but Mossoni ended up being targeted for discipline.
I know Ozzie had to be very aware of the Mossoni complaint because not only did I bring it up in the Ozzie/Buff Episodes, but he also was present and asked questions during Mossoni’s Grievance Hearing.
As you can see from Ozzie’s public statements to the MSM on March 8th, 2018 when the “Stuff” finally hits the fan regarding his friend Phil Tyler Ozzie states he has never known Tyler to lose his temper.
While Knezovich says Tyler could be controlling sometimes, he’s never known him to lose his temper. “If this is true — this is not the guy I know,” Knezovich says.
A few days later Ozzie tells his other friend and Frequent Conservative Critic Shawn Vestal he ordered Tyler to undergo anger management.
Knezovich said he ordered Tyler to undergo anger management. Tyler left the jail in 2014; he later filed a complaint alleging racial discrimination. Spokane County settled with Tyler for $100,000 in Dec. 2016.
Which of course begs the question if Ozzie never knew Tyler to lose his temper, why the hell would he order him to undergo anger management, and did it have anything to do with the “Mossoni Massacre”. I can’t find anything in the Fossum Report where Ozzie ordered Tyler to undergo anger management, I would think if in fact he did order Tyler to undergo anger management Gail Bass’s lawyers would get it in the Discovery process of her $1.2 million dollar claim against Ozzie and the County.
As an update to this story;
I received my final installment of records from the City of Spokane Valley regarding the fun Valley Council member Brandi Peetz and her husband had while they attended the “Fly-In”. I should add that the folks at the City of Spokane Valley were very diligent in the response to my PRR, and I did get everything I need for a story. I even got a Nissen Affidavit from Brandi Peetz, something I’ve never gotten from Ozzie Knezovich.
So far it looks like Brandi and her husband had “pretty much” fun according to an email between Peetz and Council member Ben Wick, even though she missed some of the events she was supposed to attend.
More on this later, but it doesn’t look like, to me at least, that taxpayers got much bang for their buck.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!
For those inquiring, because of the way the Fossum Investigation was conducted it has required me to confirm several areas that have come to light from the available documents, so it will take longer than I anticipated…but I will get there.
Back in the day when local MSM were diligent about their responsibility to inform the Public about local government misconduct there would have been a series of investigative articles delving into the problems associate with Spokane County Jail not only the issues surrounding all of the recent jail deaths but also the background of the who, when, where, and why the problems exist. You don’t see that diligence anymore, although there are few exceptions. It is difficult to tell whether the lack of diligence is due to the deep budget cuts some of the local media like the SR has suffered over the years;
or it could be the theory that the Public’s interest these days isn’t with hard investigative news reporting, rather with fluff and puff “hyperlocal, digital journalism”.
One of the theories being bantered around is that the young energetic local reporters would like nothing more than to do real investigative reporting but pressure from the local political structure keeps it from happening.
Curley also caught flack for bowing to pressure from a politician to revise a story written, coincidentally, by former Spokesman-Review reporter Meghann Cuniff. Journalism ethicists condemned the interference to the Voice of OC: “This is clearly an unethical overreach by the editors.”
As far as the Fossum Report and the battle between Knezovich and McGrath is concerned maybe it was the original $806.60 price tag to get the Public Records that scared other media off.
One of the more telling aspects of the Fossum notes is this one which involves an interaction between Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Kinn and Fossum which took place on 2/12/18.
As you can quite clearly see Mr. Kinn recognized the Knezovich’s intent in requesting the BoCC to investigate was to bring forward Knezovich’s allegation that John McGrath influenced women employees to make allegations against his friend Phil Tyler. The significance of the “2/12/18” date on Fossum’s notes becomes evident when you read the engagement letter dated the following day.
Unfortunately, the documents do not show exactly what the agreed upon “Scope of Work” was between the County and Ms. Fossum, but what they do show is a primary focus on Ozzie’s friend Phil Tyler and his interactions with Detention Staff throughout his career in Detention Services after he was transferred from “Juvenile Court Services” to “Sheriff/Jail” on 2/1/1999. That transfer could explain a lot of things regarding how Tyler made his way to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
“And for the life of me, I can’t explain how this history got missed,” Knezovich said. “It’s all in records.”
Tyler’s personnel records regarding the transfer have been redacted (properly) so there is no way of telling whether or not the SCSO relied solely on the Juvenile Court Services background check or did their own. Whatever was the case as far as Tyler’s hiring is concerned when allegations arose regarding Tyler’s treatment of women on Ozzie’s Detention Staff one would think since the history was “all in records” Ozzie and his Investigators would have looked at the records.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND:
It looks like Director McGrath, ain’t no dummy as Fossum’s notes reflect that my old Lawyer friend Mary Schultz was present during his interview with Fossum.
This revelation was something I had to confirm and was able to. Hiring Schultz, a good lawyer was a very good move on McGrath’s part because you would really have to be a dummy not to recognize that Knezovich is after him, and even a fool would be able to see that Knezovich’s request for a BoCC investigation was directed at McGrath.
Since McGrath has hired Schultz it presents a big dilemma not only for Ozzie, but also for the BoCC as I’m sure both can see where this will go if the BoCC decides to get rid of McGrath, and the Fossum Investigation provides one heck of a lot of evidence which could be used in a unlawful termination lawsuit. There has to be at a minimum one hundred deposition questions which could be formulated from the Fossum report, and to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t mind seeing Schultz depose Ozzie or for that matter see Gail Bass’s lawyer depose Ozzie. Should the BoCC decide to fire McGrath, I can’t help but think that Mary Schultz would look into whether or not Knezovich has contacted any of the members of the BoCC in an effort to get McGrath fired and also depose those BoCC members he had contact with has as well as their records.
In June of 2014 McGrath placed Phil Tyler on paid administrative leave while he was being investigated by the WSP. Some might remember from my previous stories, that it was this administrative leave that Phil Tyler complained about the County taking his cell phone away from him, so he couldn’t contact his son. Apparently Tyler didn’t have his own cell phone. Tyler never returned to work and instead filed a lawsuit against Spokane County which was settled out of Court for $100K. In my opinion Ozzie helped his friend out in that lawsuit by basically alleging that the Jail Staff complaining about Tyler were motivated by a race bias.
One of the key statements for me in Ozzie’s deposition was “Phil may be able to get the exact verbatim.”
Anyone who might have read Tyler’s statement to the WSP probably could have predicted that Tyler would sue the County.
Phil Tyler Placed on Administrative Leave:
What is really interesting about this investigation of Tyler is that McGrath brought in the WSP to do the internal investigation because of Tyler’s relationships with Detention Services IA Investigators, and the SCSO IA Investigators.
Unlike the Fossum Investigation, WSP, as is standard practice, established a “Scope of Work”, or “Scope of Investigation”.
Fortunately for me WSP recorded their interviews making it a lot easier for me to go through and get the facts.
Some of the things I found of great interest in the WSP Investigation is that the investigation was into Tyler’s conduct between October 25, 2011 to June 19, 2014 which is during the time Knezovich was in charge of the jail and had exonerated his friend Phil Tyler in a number of IA complaints which were investigated by Ozzie’s SCSO IA Investigator Richard Gere.
The “investigation” or lack there of by Gere of the Gail Bass complaint and Union No Confidence letter has become an issue in the $1.2 Million Dollar Claim Gail Bass has filed against the County.
What is interesting about that aspect of the Bass claim is that it appears that the individual “OK” wanted to receive the Defensive Tactics Instructor position wasn’t a Detention Officer rather the Detective with the SCSO who investigated complaints against Tyler, something I’m sure Gail Bass’s lawyers won’t overlook.
Going through all these documents reminds me of this story I recently did! 😊
More in Part Three coming soon!
I REPORT HSS YOU DECIDE!!!
There is more than a bit of dysfunction going on at the Spokane Police Department and the battle between SPD’s Detectives and PACT is but one.
This is another one of those cases which was hidden from the Public and on the SPD IA Website, yet I learned of it through reliable sources, just as I did the Officer Chris McMurtrey debacle.
It looks like this time SPD isn’t going to conduct a full-scale expensive investigation into who my sources are, despite the fact that OPO Bart Logue made a request that SPD do so.
The response Logue received from SPD Director of Strategic Initiatives Jacqui MacConnell who oversees SPD IA is the same response Officer Chris McMurtrey should have received when he requested a leak investigation after I exposed his conduct and SPD’s efforts to hide it. Interestingly during the McMurtrey leak investigation now Lieutenant David Staben falsely accused OPO Logue of being one of my sources, and Staben happens to be one of the Officers involved in the Tofsrud case and is a target of a Human Resources Complaint made by Tofsrud which is not yet complete. Whether or not the fact that McMurtrey was an Officer and Logue is the OPO played into the decision not to investigate this one is anybody’s guess.
Perhaps it is my inquisitive personality, or maybe my long history of having to weed out BS from facts that scares Law Enforcement Administrators, but for some reason I do and when they refuse to be transparent for some reason it makes me even more suspicious. I don’t understand the lack of transparency in this case especially since I recently helped Chief Meidl with an unfortunate mistake one of his PIOs made, and it is always better to fess up and face up. But that is neither here nor there, I’m used to it.
The job of the OPO is to be transparent and to try and get SPD to be more transparent, or at least that is my understanding, so what is a guy going to do other than to go to the OPO to try and get answers?
Having said all that this is a developing story and I have reached an agreement with City Clerk Terri Pfister over some records I have requested regarding this case which I expect in the next 10-15 days.
NOW TO THE CASE:
The dysfunction as well as the battle is clearly outlined in this IA Case which resulted in Sustained allegations of misconduct against Detective Lonnie Tofsrud and Sgt. Terry Preuninger.
I likely look at this IA Case a bit differently than most folks would since I was tasked with having to clean up messes involving informant handling when I was on SPD and was tasked with writing policy and procedure to prevent mishandling, but the link below will take you to the IA Case and you can draw your own conclusions.
What I see is a number of questions especially since the folks that made the actual IA Complaint was the Spokane County Prosecutors Office.
There seems to be some question as to whether Tofsrud actually accused Cpl. McCollough of lying in his report.
The Dixs Office obviously doesn’t know who the PACT CIs are and vice versa.
The appears to be some confusion about what constitutes a pretextual stop.
It ain’t the first time.
The Prosecutor chose not to get involved.
Frank Straub’s decentralized supervisory span of control has reared its ugly head again.
And much more.
To quote Yogi once again!
As this story develops for those waiting for Part Two of “WHO WILL WIN THE BATTLE” although I have been able to corroborate most of what I am trying to, including from several sources a behind the scenes move by Sheriff Knezovich to try and get rid of McGrath I still have a couple of more things to corroborate.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!