OLYMPIA — A federal bankruptcy judge has approved a resolution that requires Tim Eyman to give up his share of his house to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars toward what he owes on his campaign finance judgment and other creditors. Parties who agreed to the resolution include Tim Eyman, Karen Williams (formerly Karen Eyman), the trustee, Tim Eyman’s attorneys, and the State of Washington.
Eyman filed for bankruptcy in November 2018 before the trial began in an attempt to avoid accountability for campaign finance violations stemming from an illegal kick-back scheme that the PDC called “one of the most egregious” violations the PDC had ever seen in its nearly 50 years of existence. In January 2019, the bankruptcy judge ruled that the Attorney General’s campaign finance case could proceed regardless of the bankruptcy filing. Eyman subsequently moved to withdraw his bankruptcy petition, but was denied.
In April 2021, following the trial, a Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled that Tim Eyman repeatedly and intentionally violated Washington campaign finance law, and ordered Eyman to pay a civil penalty of $2.6 million. In addition, the court ordered Eyman to pay $2.9 million to cover the state’s costs and fees associated with investigating and prosecuting the case.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington Judge Marc Barreca signed the order Thursday afternoon. With this court approval, Tim Eyman’s estate is required to sell his share of his Mukilteo house to Karen Williams. She will purchase the home for $906,484, and can continue to live in the house. The proceeds of the sale will pay Eyman’s creditors.
The bankruptcy will determine at a later date the exact portion of the proceeds that will go to the state to pay down Tim Eyman’s judgment. Other creditors, including Eyman’s attorneys and the bankruptcy trustee, also have claims on the bankruptcy estate. The Attorney General’s Office anticipates that the state will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of this resolution.
Eyman has paid a total of $538,840.98 toward his judgment and sanctions. He currently owes a total of $5,628,456.42, including accrued interest.
This resolution does not absolve Tim Eyman from his legal responsibility to pay the remainder of the judgment. Eyman’s legal and financial obligation to pay the entire judgment amount to the state will continue after the resolution of the bankruptcy. The judgment continues to accrue interest until it is paid.
“I’ve said everything there is to say about Tim Eyman’s outrageous and illegal conduct,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “That said, I always enjoy reading how he spins his latest setback to his supporters. Eyman will never take accountability for his actions, because any acknowledgment of wrongdoing would undermine his attempts to pry additional dollars out of his supporters. Consequently, he will continue to falsely portray himself as the victim while losing where it matters — in court.”
Campaign finance judgments, contempt
Eyman is obligated to pay a civil penalty of $2.6 million for campaign finance violations, as well as nearly $2.9 million in costs and fees. Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon ruled that Eyman’s “numerous and blatant violations” were intentional. Eyman is a repeat violator of Washington’s voter-approved campaign finance laws. On multiple occasions, the state caught him illegally and intentionally concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions that ended up in his personal bank account.
The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission investigated Tim Eyman, found evidence that he had engaged in an illegal kick-back scheme, and referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office for enforcement. At that time, the PDC Chair called the case “one of the most egregious” violations the PDC had ever seen in its nearly 50 years of existence.
A Supreme Court Commissioner found that Eyman’s willful disregard for court orders resulted in costly trial delays and wasted resources, writing: “Mr. Eyman willfully thwarted the State’s efforts to prepare for trial, causing significant delay and an obvious waste of resources.”
In his judgment, Judge Dixon wrote, “In the history of the Fair Campaign Practices Act enforcement, it would be difficult for the court to conceive of a case with misconduct that is more egregious or more extensive than the misconduct committed by defendant Eyman in this matter.”
Moreover, Judge Dixon ruled that Eyman’s illegal conduct was “part of a pattern of violations, which resulted from a knowing and intentional effort to conceal, deceive, mislead and engage in collusive behavior [as defined by the law].”
The judge also ruled that Eyman deposited checks into his personal account that were made out to his initiative committee. Eyman, he ruled, “benefitted personally” from his unlawful conduct.
Judge Dixon ruled that Eyman intentionally concealed a $308,185 kickback he received from Citizen Solutions, a for-profit signature gathering firm. Judge Dixon also ruled that Eyman intentionally thwarted the law by failing to disclose to the public $766,447 in contributions he received into his personal bank accounts. The Public Disclosure Commission specifically advised him in a 2002 letter that donations, such as those for personal living expenses, “designed to enable you to continue your efforts of supporting initiatives” were political contributions requiring public disclosure.
The judge also prohibited Eyman from directing the finances of any political committee. The last time Eyman admitted intentionally violating Washington’s voter-approved campaign finance law, he signed a legally enforceable agreement to never again act as a treasurer on any political committee. That extraordinary remedy proved unsuccessful at stopping Eyman’s illegal conduct. Consequently, the Attorney General’s Office pursued the next logical step — a prohibition on directing the finances of any political committee. The judge granted that remedy. This will not prevent Eyman from conceiving, drafting and promoting initiatives. He is, however, prohibited from deciding how political committees spend their money, negotiating with vendors, and directing financial kickbacks into his personal bank account.
The court previously ruled that Eyman’s associates committed multiple campaign violations. In 2019, Judge Dixon entered a judgment against Citizen Solutions and its principal, William Agazarm, for their role in Eyman’s scheme. The court ordered Citizen Solutions and Agazarm to collectively pay more than $1 million for illegally deceiving Washingtonians by funneling campaign donations to Tim Eyman.
Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.firstname.lastname@example.org
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