Category Archives: Eye on Money: Developments

Opponents confront Tim Eyman in Olympia during submission of signatures for I-892

Eye on Money: DevelopmentsFrom the Campaign TrailThreat Analysis

On Sunday, June 27th, 2004, Tim Eyman announced that he had 235,000 signatures on hand to turn in to the Secretary of State’s office this morning for Initiative 892, his scheme to expand gambling in every corner of the state. The minimum requirement for the 2004 ballot is about 198,000 signatures.

To counter Tim’s lies and deceitful statistics, Permanent Defense’s Andrew Villeneuve journeyed to Olympia with fellow activists David Goldstein and Steve Zemke to talk to reporters and confront Eyman at his press conference for I-892 at the Secretary of State’s Elections Annex.

We were were successful in throwing Eyman off script as he attempted to go through his rehearsed sales pitch. Although Eyman refused, and still refuses to admit it, the initiative is primarily about an expansion of gambling. It places 19,000 slot machines into neighborhood bars, bowling alleys, and restaurants.

Eyman ignored questions about I-864, the other initiative he claims to be attempting to be qualifying for the ballot. He completely disregarded questions from reporters, brushing them off and attempting to shut them down. The press refused to be daunted, however, and continued to ask questions.

Eyman was interrupted during his press conference by Zemke, who heads Taxpayers For Washington’s Future, an ally of Permanent Defense. Eyman had propped up a graph showing a general rise in property taxes since 1980 and was complaining about the increase in taxes to the press.

But Tim’s graph didn’t take into account inflation, or population growth, or new development (which causes an increase the number of properties assessed by the state). Steve correctly pointed out that Eyman’s graph was worthless because it did not make apples-to-apples comparisons.

More people means more public services, which requires money. More properties means more revenue for the state. And any economist knows that inflation is a continual increase in the cost of products and services, which is a factor that influences the entire economy- including property values.

Tim’s claim that his initiative has wide popular support is also a myth. Tim hasn’t run a campaign powered by volunteer supporters in years. All of his initiatives since 1999 have relied on paid signature gatherers to get on the ballot. I-892 is no exception.

There is no broad-based movement in the state of Washington agitating for these anti-tax initiatives. But there is an alliance between Tim Eyman and the gambling industry, with the goal of swindling voters into believing that I-892 is a good initiative because they’ll save a few bucks on their property taxes. I-892 is the most massive expansion of gambling in state history.

Alone on Monday with no sidekicks in tow, Tim Eyman himself reminded us all he’s just become a mouthpiece for the gambling industry. For the past fifteen weeks, Eyman has paid himself to the tune of $3,100 a week. That’s more than many Wal-Mart employees make in a month.

The backers of I-892 are giant gaming and gambling conglomerates, like Great Canadian Gaming of British Columbia, which is accused of allowing loan sharking in its Canadian casinos and not keeping true to an investment made jointly with Allegiance Capital of Texas. The investment was a floating casino, a “cruise ship” of sorts, which now sits off of Taiwan and is a den of prostitutes.

Other backers include Michaels Associates of Nevada, which was recently fined $50,000 by the WSGC for lax oversight that resulted in a $250,000 embezzlement, and Washington Gaming, the third largest donor, which is currently more than $900,000 delinquent in state taxes.

Washington Gaming co-owner Tim Iszley is a leading member of the Entertainment Industry Coalition, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on paid signature gatherers to get 892 on the ballot.

The initiative was financed by out of state, foreign gambling interests, and its signatures were collected by out of state workers from California and other areas.

I-892 was sold to Washingtonians by petitioners as an initiative to cut their property taxes. Petitioners conveniently failed to mention that the initiative would bring about the biggest expansion of gambling in state history.

Washington voters will vote no on I-892 in November because they will know the initiative is bad for their communities. Permanent Defense remains dedicated to its mission of opposing Eyman and will continue to fight against I-892 until its defeat in November.

I-892 being funded by foreign corporations

Eye on Money: Developments

Permanent Defense has learned that Initiative 892, Tim Eyman’s more gambling for lower taxes initiative, is being funded largely in part by a foreign corporation.

Information from C-3 reports filed with the PDC list show Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, a company which owns six casinos in British Columbia, as a top donor, with $25,000.00 paid directly from the company to Eyman’s Just Treat Us the Same political committee.

Great Canadian has recently been investing in Washington casinos and gaming businesses. In 2002, the company bought Big Al’s Casino in Everett for $5.8 million dollars.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, “the actual purchaser was Pair O’ Dice Investments LLC, which is 90% owned by Great Canadian’s subsidiary, Great American Gaming Corp.”

Great Canadian already owns a 50% stake in Tukwila’s Grand Central Casino.

The Puget Sound Business Journal also reported in September of 2002 that Great Canadian has “big casino plans in the Puget Sound area” and that it planned to have “four Puget Sound-area casinos operating” by September of 2003.

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s long arm reaches not just throughout British Columbia and Washington, but abroad.

The company previously invested in a cruise ship over in the Far East which later was taken over by a Taiwanese man who turned the boat into a haven for prostitutes.

Great Canadian’s partner in the venture, Allegiance Capital of Texas, last year filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging Great Canadian had violated the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The lawsuit charges Great Canadian and its executive officers committed fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion and conspiracy.

Not only did Great Canadian Gaming, a company with a questionable reputation, contribute $25,000 directly to Eyman’s Just Treat Us the Same, it also contributed another $25,000 in two payments through one of its subsidiaries, Evergreen Entertainment Corporation, bringing the total to $50,000.

Eyman’s campaign committee currently has about $150,000 or more in funds, meaning a third of the initiative is being financed from out of the country.

Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve called the revelation “a disgrace. Once again, here’s Tim Eyman, promoting his “grass roots” support, and he’s taking a $50,000 donation from an out of state, foreign corporation which has set its eyes on building casinos up and down the I-5 corridor, and pocketing the profits.”

“It’s an outrage. It’s one double standard after another.”

“Eyman has a consistent history of skirting around the law and skating on thin ice when it comes down to his rhetoric of “grass roots”, let alone reporting campaign finance.”

“Eyman is so desperate to get on the ballot that he’ll take anybody’s donation, including money from a foreign gambling corporation which has a questionable reputation.”

Not only is Great Canadian Gaming funding a majority of the initiative’s budget, but it is also planning to add more casinos in the area.

The end result is that profits from Great Canadian’s casinos will be going towards paying off a state property tax cut, through a tax on electronic slot machines.

But since when are profits guaranteed in a business? If gambling revenue falls, so will the tax revenue.

Chair Andrew Villeneuve likened it to betting in a casino, saying, “We don’t know where this initiative is going. It’s just like placing a bet: we don’t know that gambling revenues will sustain a property tax cut.”

He also called attention to the fact that money from Great Canadian’s casinos would be funding the money displaced from the state property tax, which now funds public education.

“It’s simply ridiculous that gambling revenues are going to be paying for the education of Washington’s one million students. It’s shameful that profits from electronic slot machines will be paying for teachers’ salaries.”

The out of state, foreign funding should come as no surprise, though. Eyman has never been about what he preaches.

Taking money from a corporation which invested in a cruise ship full of prostitutes is typical behavior from a man who lied and stonewalled his fellow citizens about pocketing $50,000 himself and planning to take another $150,000.

For Eyman, just like Great Canadian Gaming, the fun is in the profit.

Eyman helps himself early this year

Eye on Money: Developments

Initiative profiteer Tim Eyman has decided that this year, rather than tell his supporters he’s going to ask for donations if he’s successful, and then, despite failure, ask anyway, that he’ll start a little early.

Eyman is helping himself to a $3,100-a-week salary from campaign contributions to his new initiative, which would open up the state to gambling and pretend to cut state property taxes by $400 million.

For the next 15 weeks, until the July 2nd petition deadline, Eyman will collect about $46,500 total in funds. This new revelation is not shocking or monumental. Rather, it is just another confirmation that Eyman’s initiative factory has always been about business and not about policy.

It all started back when Eyman pocketed $200,000 of his supporters’ donations and lied about taking the money. He was forced to admit what he had been doing after persistent work by critic Christian Sinderman to alert the media.

Eyman then said he wanted to begin taking a salary for his work. So in December of 2002, touting his new “wildly popular” Initiative 807 (as Tim himself described it in an email to supporters) he promised to take a salary only if they were successful in getting I-807 on the ballot.

Initiative 807 didn’t get on the ballot, mainly because of a lack of contributions, lack of interest, and a number of mistakes committed by Eyman.

But that didn’t matter to Tim. Even though the watchmaker from Mukilteo had not registered as a paid lobbyist, he decided to collect money for his “effective work for taxpayers” and pocket it.

From July 2003 until December 2004, Eyman accepted donations for himself and the Fagans to pay “Voters Want More Choices” for NOT getting on the ballot.

Tim never did any effective lobbying. He took credit for the efforts of Senator Dino Rossi, Senator Pam Roach, and Governor Gary Locke, who each directly or indirectly worked towards the same thing Tim wanted: a no-new taxes budget.

Except Tim couldn’t prevent the nickel gas tax from being enacted, and so he promised “revenge”. Initiative 864 is supposedly his revenge, although that initiative effort looks extremely shaky… hence the conveniently timed gambling initiative.

And now, 2004. Tim is working together with the gambling industry and helping himself to their funding- with or without their blessing. Tim plans to collect almost half of $100,000 in just fifteen weeks- more than some people make in a year.

Clearly, Tim Eyman does not mind helping himself. And that’s what Tim’s initiative factory has always been about.

Eyman flouting public disclosure law… again

Eye on Money: Developments

Tim Eyman is once again disregarding public disclosure law.

For whatever reason – laziness, or reluctance to report according to the law, Eyman has withehld the names of contributors for the second month in a row from the public’s eye.

Eyman alleges his treasurer is sick, and so he wasn’t able to get the names in. That’s all well and good…except this is Tim Eyman, and Tim offered the exact same excuse in February! Eyman has plenty of money. The profligate initiative filer could find and hire another data-entry person. It’s not like Tim is short of money.

According to an article in the Seattle P-I by Neil Modie:

Voters Want More Choices had $27,967 in the bank as of Feb. 29. Help Us Help Taxpayers had $7,213 in the bank Feb. 28 after Eyman and the Fagans paid themselves a total of $100,635 between Dec. 29 and Jan. 2 from supporters’ non-campaign donations. Eyman pocketed about half that amount, $50,305, according to disclosure commission filings.

Eyman’s violations include:

  • Failure by Voters Want More Choices and Tim Eyman on Feb 10, 2004 to file names and addresses of contributors on C-3’s
  • Failure by Voters Want More Choices and Tim Eyman on March 10, 2004 to file names and addresses of contributors on C-3’s
  • Failure by Help Us Help Taxpayers and Tim Eyman on Feb 10, 2004 to file names and addresses of contributors on C-3’s
  • Failure by Help Us Help Taxpayers and Tim Eyman on March 10, 2004 to file names and addresses of contributors on C-3’s
  • Failure by Tim Eyman to file a campaign committee for I-885 14 days after he expected to receive or spend money on campaign. Tim Eyman filed I-885 with the Secretary of State on March 1, 2004 and a campaign committee had not been registered as of March 16, 2004.

Permanent Defense has joined with Taxpayers For Washington’s Future,, and the Washington State Council of Firefighters in filing a complaint to the Public Disclosure Commission.

Eyman’s arrogance towards the public disclosure law is unacceptable. Tim believes he is above the law and the rest of the state in that he can get away with whatever he wants.

Permanent Defense urges you to visit our Action Center and Take Action against Tim and his initiatives.

Seattle Times fails to update Associated Press story on Eyman complaint

Eye on Money: DevelopmentsRethinking and Reframing

On Friday, August 15th, 2003, the Seattle Times published an Associated Press story about the PDC’s dismissal of Steve Zemke’s complaint. Permanent Defense News checked the length and content of the Times’ version against a similar story published on the Seattle P-I’s website the day before.

Oddly enough, the P-I’s story seemed to be double the length of the Times’ story, and had comments from both Eyman and Zemke. The Times version had only comments from the PDC and Eyman- and then the story was cut off.

Permanent Defense wrote a letter to the editor asking why the story was so different from the one on the P-I’s website. After some internal investigation, a Seattle Times editor replied and said that the paper’s metro editors had failed to update the story as they should have- leaving out Mr. Zemke’s comments by mistake.

“The reason our story didn’t include Zemke is that we used an earlier version of the AP piece and did not update it once a new version moved on the wires.”

-Seattle Times Management, Response to PD Inquiry

We chose not to link to the Times version the day it was published because the P-I version was longer and more accurate than its shorter counterpart.

Eyman hit with charges, case going to Attorney General

Eye on Money: Developments

Today, the Public Disclosure Commission, widely known as the campaign watchdog agency, referred the investigation and charges against Tim Eyman’s deception to Attorney General Christine Gregoire’s office. The investigation has found Eyman guilty of civil charges on five counts.

(To read these, go the Press Box or choose PDC from the Links page).

The case has been referred to the Attorney General, who can seek much higher fines than the $2,500 the PDC is allowed. Eyman remained defiant and said he had not broke the law. He and his lawyer vowed to challenge the issue in court, but left open the possibility of a settlement with the state.

Eyman’s two years of deception have been highlighted in recent days, as the media prints his emails and reports on the PDC findings.

To read more, head to the Press Box for media coverage.

The charges:

  1. Eyman used campaign funds to pay personal expenses and to benefit his fraternity watch business, Insignia Corp.
  2. Eyman and the campaign fund failed to keep adequate records to substantial expense reimbursements to Eyman.
  3. The campaign, Karr and Eyman failed to properly report in-kind contributions to the campaign from the for-profit business and failed to properly account for debts and obligations incurred by the campaign.
  4. Eyman and the campaign used campaign donations to contribute to the Republican Party and another initiative campaign organization.
  5. The PAC failed to report that Eyman was serving as the de facto campaign treasurer from January 2001, to February of this year.
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