A state judicial panel Monday accused a Tacoma judge of misconduct, contending he reduced the value of an asset being sold by an estate he was handling in exchange for a Cadillac.
In the statement of charges issued by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, Superior Court Judge Grant L. Anderson is accused of “engaging in certain financial transactions that create an appearance of impropriety, providing false deposition testimony, failing to make complete public disclosure filings, and serving as a corporate officer after becoming a Superior Court judge.”
Anderson’s office referred all questions to his lawyer, Kurt Bulmer.
“We’re going to fight these charges all the way,” Bulmer said Monday.
“What he is accused of is improperly accepting money in exchange for allegedly organizing a reduction in price on a business. But that didn’t happen.”
Anderson will defend himself in a hearing before the commission. No date has been set. The panel can clear the judge or impose punishments ranging from reprimand to a recommendation to the state Supreme Court for his removal from the bench.
Anderson has been a Superior Court judge since January 1993 and was a part-time municipal judge the previous 15 years.
Anderson was named personal representative of former client Charles Hoffman’s estate after Hoffman’s death in 1989, commission investigators said. The judge subsequently became president of each of the three businesses contained in the estate, they said.
In December 1992, Anderson arranged to sell the estate’s bowling alley business to William Hamilton and his corporation, Pacific Recreation Enterprises, Inc., (PRE) for $300,000, the investigators said.
That same month, they said, Anderson bought a new Cadillac for about $37,000, paying $9,000 down and agreeing to pay off the balance at $800 a month over three years.
Shortly after being sworn in as a Superior Court judge, investigators allege, Hamilton’s company took over payments on Anderson’s Cadillac.
“At approximately the same time as Judge Anderson accepted the offer to have his loan payments made, he agreed to reduce the price PRE was paying for the bowling alley operation by approximately $100,000.
“This reduction was accomplished by, after the fact, agreeing to treat the sale as having closed in September 1992, instead of the actual closing that occurred in December 1992,” the commission investigators wrote.
“Based on this agreement, PRE was then given credit against the purchase price for cash generated by the bowling alley operation during the period from September through December, 1992.”
That meant PRE was paying “approximately $100,000 less than it was obligated to pay,” the staff said.
In the meantime, PRE paid off $23,000 of the debt on the Cadillac, ceasing payments in May 1995. Staff investigators allege PRE paid off the balance with $8,000 in cash that was delivered to Anderson.
Anderson contends he repaid the $8,000.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.