Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

Open letter to our Mayor and City Attorney…




Tony Bamonte

1308 E. 29th Avenue

Spokane, WA 99203

Spokane Mayor David Condon

Spokane City Attorney Nancy Isserlis

City of Spokane, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Spokane, WA 99201


Dear Mayor Condon and City Attorney Isserlis:


Recent developments have exposed criminal actions on the part of former city leaders. These actions, which have now been proven and admitted, establish an absence of integrity and honor on the part of public officials who engaged in this conduct and cover up. Abundant evidence proves that those criminal actions are part of a long-standing pattern of public corruption in Spokane that has caused and continues to cause serious injury to the community. This situation demands a legal remedy that you, by virtue of your offices, owe the public a duty to pursue. My purpose in writing you is to discharge my duties as a citizen and call upon you to take the immediate legal action required of you.

To qualify myself, I am a retired law enforcement officer with over 25-years of experience. Over 12 of those years were as the elected sheriff of a Washington State county. During my career, I made numerous high profile arrests and consistently put together cases that easily withstood the scrutiny of the courts. I know and clearly understand the criminal laws of the state of Washington. As the sheriff of a small county, I was the one who made the final decision before a case ever went to the prosecutor. Even during my time as a Spokane City police officer (over 8 years), my integrity was well known. I was among the top-producing officers in Spokane and had a reputation for making solid arrests and getting convictions.


Therefore, as I did with the former mayor and administration, I again request a grand jury investigation involving the commission of organized criminal activity and corruption by public officials in Spokane. This activity involves members of Spokane’s most powerful family (specifically Stacey Cowles, Betsy Cowles and Jim Cowles) and numerous public officials named below. It involves millions of public dollars channeled to members of that family that easily fall within the category of illegal donative intent: It also involves a death, which was deliberately and blatantly covered up by Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Spokane City Attorney Howard Delaney, Spokane Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppidi, Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, and Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, U.S. Assistant Attorney Robert Westinghouse; and Spokane based FBI agent Frank Harrill. This demonstrates the ability and control of the Cowles Publishing Company, which also owns KHQ-TV/Spokane and the KHQ Television Group, over our government from our city, up to and including our state and federal levels of government. It is even stated in Wikipedia that: it [the Spokesman-Review] is also burdened with local critics and activists who suspect the Cowles family of using their alleged vast local media influence to sway public opinion. In particular a (1997–2004) issue regarding a public private partnership wherein the Cowles family may have profited, some claim, up to $20 million. This is referred to as the ‘River Park Square Parking Garage’ issue. The newspaper underwent an independent review by the Washington News Council regarding its River Park Square coverage, and was found to be at fault for its news bias.


It also involves major property tax breaks for that family – above and beyond any ever given to the general public. Various members of the Cowles family are among the largest property owners in Spokane. Among their properties, 135 are listed under Inland Empire Paper Company. The assessor lowered the (already under assessed) value of 86 of these properties during the same period of time he was raising the majority of other taxpayers’ assessments every year for a five-year period. Forty-two of these properties had not been increased in the last two to five years, and only six had been increased. I presented this evidence to Chief Kirkpatrick both in email and hard copy. She did not respond to either and sent the hard copy back, unopened. Chief Kirkpatrick’s inaction was illegal and is further evidence that specific members of the Cowles family also control law enforcement at every level. (For information regarding Cowles owned properties see E-142b). It involves rendering criminal assistance and failure to perform the duties of their offices by numerous public officials, and involves fraud in the millions of dollars against the city. This fraud was investigated and proven by the IRS, yet there was not even a hint of any criminal action or further investigation. In itself, the IRS complaint should have triggered a grand jury investigation, based on the intent of both the Cowleses and specific public officials to blatantly cheat the public out of millions of dollars. The probable cause was certainly obvious as Cowles control of Spokane government was extensively documented in federal municipal securities fraud litigation, and admitted to by the City of Spokane. Yet it has been illegally ignored by every level of government.


The IRS report ruling against the issuance of municipal bonds to finance the River Park Square parking garage is rife with evidence of corruption by both public officials and members of the Cowles family. (Please see attachment E-119.) Also, note the IRS conclusion in the sixth paragraph on page 17 of that report:

It is clear from the facts of this case, the developer [the Cowles family] had, and continues to have, a particular relationship with the City of Spokane and the Issuer/Foundation [the bogus agency established by the Cowleses to illegally launder public funds into their private real estate holdings] such that it was in a position to control or influence its activities.

This single conclusion by the nation’s tax collector warrants the grand jury investigation that I requested of your predecessor and that I hereby request of you. You will also find in this IRS report that Mike Ormsby, our current U.S. attorney for Eastern Washington, played a role so central to this RPS corruption as to warrant the bringing of a criminal indictment against him. It is important to be aware that he was also backed by the Cowles newspapers for that position, giving him the capacity and motive to cover up the racketeering and organized criminal activity of the mentioned Cowles family members who control and profit from the Cowles Publishing Company.

For evidence of the City of Spokane’s admitted violations of federal securities law, please see the evidence referred to in this letter that can be found on the Internet under Camas Magazine or Larry Shook: “Fraudville, USA” as well as the attached “Omnibus Statement of Facts” in the RPS securities-fraud litigation.

Please note that when the City of Spokane, at a cost of $45 million to the citizens of Spokane, purchased the bondholders’ case against itself, the Cowles family and others, it actually admitted not just to the alleged securities fraud, but also to the evidence of racketeering and organized crime found by the IRS. See “A New RPS Fraud?” at All of this has been documented in my complaints. This evidence, and the city’s admissions, impose a permanent legal duty on government, beginning with the City of Spokane, to prosecute the evidence.

What you are now witnessing in the Otto Zehm case is only the tip of the iceberg in relation to the entirety of corruption in Spokane. If federal investigation of the Zehm tragedy stops at that level, it is only picking the low lying fruit. As evidence I refer you to the following:

1. For reference to public corruption associated with the Spokane Municipal Incinerator, see “Burned,” by Larry Shook, available on the internet. N.B. the report of the San Diego, CA, District Attorney included in this reporting.

2. For reference to public corruption associated with the Spokane Coliseum and Convention Center see “All The Usual Experts” at

3. For reference to Public Corruption associated with AMR, see “Fire and Fraud in Spokane” at

4. For reference to Public Corruption associated with Spokane parking meter collection, see “How All Downtown Parking Got So Expensive.” This fourth installment of Tim Connor’s national award-winning investigative report, “Secret Deal,” explains how Spokane’s parking-meter collections were laundered into RPS as a critical part of the project’s securities and tax frauds in which numerous Spokane public officials conspired. (Available at


The question is now being publicly asked who initiated this criminal deceit and why? Fortunately, the Otto Zehm case came to light due to the high integrity and persistence of Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Durkin. Unfortunately, as I note above, that is only one of many organized criminal actions that have occurred within the city that have never been investigated by any official with the duty to protect the public. Why have public officials failed to act? The answer to that question is further contained in 144 documents of evidence I am enclosing with this letter. Also remember, the new U.S. Attorney, who was part of this corruption is Mike Ormsby, who is the person Tim Durkin takes orders from.

As early as August of 2007, I became involved in trying to expose the corruption that was occurring in Spokane. As a result, I have generated over 144 pieces of documented evidence in the form of certified request, providing evidence to public officials, asking for investigations, and on a number of occasions, requesting of those officials that they initiate an action for a grand jury to look at this corruption. I have provided evidence of organized crime going on in Spokane, which totally falls in the category of the “grand jury” definition. To summarize my efforts: I conducted the same type of investigation as though I were still a sheriff of a Washington State county. However, I was encumbered by having no media outlet to let the public know what was going on and no authority to take action. I found the worst corruption going on in Spokane that I have ever seen in my entire career of law enforcement. For more than a two-year period, I continuously asked every public official who could have acted on this information to do the job required of them by their oaths of office. All of my efforts and evidence have been completely ignored.

Also, as a historian, I am aware of Spokane’s history and can factually state that during the last 15 years,numerous public officials, in harmony with each other, have corruptly cost the city and tax payers millions of dollars. The direct beneficiaries of this corruption are members of the Cowles family, who can easily be traced to the profits of this corruption through the donative actions and efforts by numerous public officials. Historically, they have been preying on the city financial resources since 1905 (see historical attachments). The long-established motive for the corrupt practices of our public officials, as noted by the IRS, is to gain favor with the Cowles family, who control the media in Spokane. The evidence is overwhelming that public officials who conspire in the Cowles’s criminal activities enjoy favorable press as their pay off. See, among other evidence, “McDevitt’s Fingerprints” and “Protesting Ormsby.” Also see “The Ominous Mr. Ormsby.” (See E-120.) For evidence of the Cowles family’s historic control of Spokane government via its media intimidation, see the “Fancher Report.” (included with this letter). The report’s author saysthat when he was a U.S. Dept. of Justice attorney investigating the corrupt influence of Cowles media in Spokane, the Cowles’s influence resulted in his being pulled off the investigation. He said IRS officials informed him of this. See “Parable of the Three Giants” at For evidence of how the Cowleses persecuted public officials who opposed the criminal enterprise they engineered surrounding River Park Square, see, among other examples, “Missing Man” and the national prize-winning three-part investigative report “All In The Family,” also on the Camas site. You will note in that report that the evidence shows the Cowleses committed actual malice libel against Mayor Talbott for trying to expose the crimes of RPS. That report also shows the family controlled the city’s legal department, implicating city attorneys in the criminal character assassination of the mayor, an especially blatant example of Spokane’s public corruption. Also on the Camas site, please note the national prize-winning 10-part investigation, “Camas Investigation Wins National Prize,” also documents the evidence of public corruption that I allege.

I respectfully request that you study all of the documentation enclosed with this letter (144 exhibits).

I especially request that your start with Exhibits E-11a, E-18, E-24, E-25 (special read), E-26, E-27, E-29,E-30 (special read), E-37 (special read), E-42, E-43 (special read), E-50, E-57, E-58, E-60, E-61, E-62a, E-64 (special read), E-64a, E-64a (special read), E-68 (very special read), E-72, E-72a, E-73, E-74, E-76, E-82 (special read), E-83 (special read), E-86 (special read), E-87 (special read), E-95 (special read), E-96 (very special read), E-97 (special read) E-98 (very special read), E-101, (special read), E-104 (special read), E-105 (special read), E-107, E-108, E-109, E-110, E-111, E-118a, E-119 (crucial document), E-120, E-128, E-135, E-140a, E-140c, E-140d (special read), E-141 (special read), E-141b, E-141c (very special read), E-142b Special read, E-150 (Special read), E-153, E-154 (Special read), 154a, E-155, and E156 (must read).

I also realize you both have relationships with various members of the Cowles family. I am aware of Mr. Condon’s backing by the Cowles during his campaign. I am also aware the Otto Zehm case was a good case to take on. It was a slam-dunk case that puts you in the position of doing the right thing in the public eye, with absolutely no risk of Cowles disapproval. The mayor really had no other intelligent choice to make. I am also aware that I have written Mayor Condon on several occasions and have never been extended the courtesy of a response.

Nonetheless, giving you both, as new city officials, the chance to do the right thing and protect our taxpayers, I again respectfully ask that you initiate a grand jury investigation into this corruption. This should include the evidence I have provided and the investigative reporting of Larry Shook, Tim Connor, and the Fancher Report that I refer to in this letter. It will answer the question “who initiated this criminal deceit and why.” These can all be obtained on the Internet.

Most important, what would be a better way for both of you to get to the bottom of Spokane’s obvious corruption and budget deficit than with a grand jury, looking specifically at the crimes I mention herein? If I do not hear from either of you by June 18, 2012, I will assume both of your intentions are to take no action on my request. If you have any questions or I can be of assistance please contact me.



Tony Bamonte

1308 E. 29th Avenue

Spokane, WA 99203


page 4 of 5


This five-page letter, “Omnibus Statement of Facts,” copy of the Fancher Report and 144 documents of

evidence were personally delivered by Tony Bamonte on 5/24/2012

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.