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Jail Mailer Public Disclosure Commission Complaint

Re: Whatcom County Jail Mail Flyer PDC Complaint and Evidence Of Noble Cause Corruption In Whatcom County

First off, what is noble cause corruption? It’s a fairly obscure legal term, but it’s really quite simple. Wikipedia defines it like this:

Noble cause corruption is corruption caused by the adherence to a teleological ethical system, suggesting that persons “will utilize unethical, and sometimes illegal, means to obtain a desired result,”[1] a result which appears to benefit the greater good. Where traditional corruption is defined by personal gain,[2] noble cause corruptions forms when someone is convinced of their righteousness, and will do anything within their powers to obtain or concertize the execution of righteous actions. Ultimately, noble cause corruption is police misconduct “committed in the name of good ends”[3] or neglect of due process through “a moral commitment to make the world a safer place to live.”[4]

Conditions for such corruption usually begin where individuals perceive no administrative accountability, lack of morale and leadership, and the general absence of faith within the criminal justice system.[5] These conditions can be compounded by arrogance and weak supervision.[6]

That may not sound so bad on first reading, but it really is and it’s every bit as ‘corrupt’ as other forms of corruption.

When a person in a position of power and authority decides to use and/or abuse that power for the greater good, just about anything can be twisted or manipulated into a greater good scenario. Once that line is crossed, what’s to stop them from using and/or abusing that power in other ways?

It’s especially dangerous when people who are skilled and experienced at articulating greater good arguments, or scenarios, because they are no longer basing decisions or actions on fundamental principles of constitutionality, law or morality, but instead become narrowly focused on how to say, write or push a thing to justify (rationalize) it.

That’s what myself and others contend Whatcom County has done in the most recent Jail Tax measure, the jail mailer, as well as many other aspects relating to the siting and acquisition of the land where the proposed regional jail might go in Ferndale.

The Complaint

This has been in the works for some time now, but I’ve not been able to say anything publicly about it until it was finalized and formally submitted to the PDC, AKA the Public Disclosure Commission. 

The PDC is actively investigating the complaint and although I’m aware of parts of the process, I don’t yet have a full picture or scope of what is happening and where it’s going, so it would be inappropriate for me to say more beyond that just yet. I am being told privately, however, that the PDC has taken issue with aspects of the county’s actions in respect to the jail mailer.

I’m not entirely sure how many people were involved in providing source information for the complaint, but I do know it was more than a few, with some info and minor input also provided by me.

The large majority of the work, the research, the compiling of information, the graphic illustrations, however, were done by Joy Gilfilen and Irene Morgan and they did a spectacular job. It’s very professional, very accurate, sourced and corroborated, and it’s on point with the areas of contention.

There is a lot of information contained in the links provided below so you’ll want to take some time to process and digest it. As you begin to digest the information contained in the complaint and evidence addendums, a picture should begin to form in your mind. If you’re like many of us, you won’t like what the mental picture shows.

Minimally, it should become fairly clear that what you’ve been told, or led to believe, by county officials, isn’t what is really going on. That alone should raise red flags in any county taxpayer’s mind.

The Documents

PDC Complaint – Gilifilen vs Whatcom County Officials 11-30-2015

Evidence Addendums to the PDC – Part 1 of 3

Evidence Addendums to the PDC – Part 2 of 3

Evidence Addendums to the PDC – Part 3 of 3

Excerpted from the complaint:

Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws
Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo
Whatcom County Prosecutor David S. McEachran

-RCW 42.17A – Election Law Violations and WAC 390-05-273 – Normal and Regular Conduct Violations

-Whatcom County Charter and Whatcom County Code Violations
-Revised Code of Washington Violations
-Washington Administrative Code Violations
-American Bar Association Standards Violations regarding Housing of Inmates
-Washington State Constitution Violations
-United State Constitution and the Bill of Rights Violations

The complainant has reason to believe that serious violations of law may have occurred in Whatcom County during the 2015 Election Campaign season that deserve outside scrutiny.

Injustice under color of law
The system of governance in Whatcom County appears to have been corrupted to encourage voters to pass two more taxes to resolve a conflict created by and benefiting the administration. This created a self-destructive condition in which the drive to pass the tax compromised public safety to justify an expansion that would profit earmarked regulatory government departments and state and national jail and prison vendors; leaving the taxpayers compromised with excessive debt and expanding overhead.”

The EHM Case Finale

The EHM Case Finale
(Since there wasn’t so much as a whisper of this in local ‘media.’) 

HR 1943 Bill Signing: The Official Photograph
The Governor’s Office, Olympia, Washington, May 18th, 2015

“I could (and have) said a lot about the state EHM problems leading to this moment, but I’ll put that aside now as a completed objective.

My heartfelt gratitude and personal thanks goes out to Scott Roberts and Glen Morgan of the Freedom Foundation, for investigating what I reported to them and for bringing the necessary scrutiny to this issue that ultimately led to the needed changes.

This is Governor Inslee signing into law the bill, HR1943, that passed unanimously through the Washington State Legislature. It was great to see legislators from both parties put aside partisanship to fix a serious public safety problem.

The new law defines, closes the existing loopholes and tightens regulations on existing electronic home monitoring (EHM) law, without creating new law. The perfect way to handle a problem such as this.

Fortunately, Scott and Glen, as well as the entire state legislature and Gov. Inslee, saw through the veil of deceit that Whatcom County officials threw up and around this issue.

I’m so very grateful for that and I now stand a vindicated man now for it.

Best regards,

     Paul Murphy

PS: Please excuse my ‘RV wear.’ We were literally enroute back home from a 2 week RV vacation through the Midwest when I got the call about the bill signing.”

Please forgive me for what may appear as a shameless self-promotion, but the local ‘media’ being what it is, unless I do so and tell you the story, you likely won’t hear one word of it otherwise.

Side Note:  Numerous attempts have been made in the past to get both the Bellingham Herald and KGMI radio to hear my side of the story. To this day, there has not been a single inquiry or response from either one, including the instances when KGMI radio wouldn’t even field or answer my phone calls in response to Dillon Honcoop and Bill Elfo’s on air bashings of me. Isn’t that special?

The EHM case, as it’s come to be known, has a long history that extends as far back as my troubles with Sheriff Bill Elfo do, to mid to late 2007. It’s one of two incidents that led to my running afoul of the incumbent sheriff, as one of his deputies, assigned at that time as a detective….the only time I can think of in my life when I was maligned and reprimanded for doing my job ‘too well.’

EHM is the acronym that stands for electronic home monitoring, meaning ankle bracelets and home detention. I don’t intend to re-litigate the entire sordid mess again here. That’s done and over as far as I’m concerned. That’s not the point of this, but a little backstory is necessary to get the picture of what led to the bill signing pictured above. I may link back to some past reports on the subject if there’s interest, but for now back to the bill signing.

The moment pictured above is my total vindication. Regardless of what Bill Elfo has conned people into believing, and has publicly stated on more than a few instances, the facts of the matter without my opinions, speak for themselves. The entire Washington State legislature and the current Governor of Washington State, by unanimously passing this bill, nodded in agreement.

Bottom line: I was right and I told the truth about all of it. Bill Elfo, David McEachran and Jack Louws were wrong and together orchestrated a number of internal circumstances to manufacture an end to my employment and my career in law enforcement.

So the day pictured above was an especially sweet vindication for me, personally.

The entire process seemed lengthy to me, but I’m told by those involved in the inner workings of Olympia that this bill made it through the process and to the Governor’s desk with lightening speed. Just shy of two years is what I understand. That it occurred with full bipartisan support speaks volumes to me about the necessity and the ability of those involved to see beyond parties and do what was right for public safety.

House Bill 1943 was the culmination of the efforts of many people without whose efforts, time, research, travel to Whatcom and other counties, etc., conducting their own investigation of what I reported, none of this would have happened at all. (This was necessary because of the veil of deceit and the manner in which the primary investigator, me, was marginalized by Whatcom County officials and maligned in the process. Please understand, this county went into full cover-up and denial mode over this.)

So my heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to Scott Roberts and Glen Morgan, both of the Freedom Foundation at the time although I understand that Glen Morgan is now a free agent pursuing other interests.

They heard what I told them and took the time to look into what I reported. As unusual or unbelievable as it probably sounded to them at the time, they soon found on their own, through their own due diligence, that it was just as I said, perhaps that I had even understated it somewhat.

Anyway, without Scott and Glenn, it wouldn’t have happened at all and for that I’m eternally grateful. Rep. Matt Shea, the sponsor of the bill, has my gratitude as well because without a bill there can’t be a bill signing right? As well as Rep. Roger Goodman, who co-sponsored the bill.

Chris Ingalls of King 5 News also helped immensely.  Home monitoring reforms signed into law-King 5 The King 5 Investigates ‘Home Free’ series on the EHM problems throughout the state brought awareness to the problem that had previously been non-existent. Although I have not seen footage of it, Chris interviewed me in my home about this problem back when it was first being scrutinized by the Freedom Foundation. (I’ve seen no attribution to that effect, but I don’t think King 5 was aware of the problem beforehand.)

As to the backstory, for those who are curious and want to know more, here are a few links that should explain what happened, why and how I ran afoul of Bill Elfo, David McEachran and other Whatcom County officials:

Electronic Home Monitoring Fraud Investigation – The Genesis (A slideshare I put together to help people understand what happened and why.)

King Co. judges still letting violent suspects out on home detention – King 5 Home Free series

Electronic Home Monitoring-Are Criminals Left Unwatched?– Freedom Foundation

Whatcom County settles suit with ex-deputy, whistle-blower – Olympia Report

Whatcom County Settles Suit with Ex-Deputy, Whistle-Blower – Freedom Foundation

Whatcom County Jail

WCSO Jail - Front

Okay, here we go. Where to begin? There are many issues of importance and significance facing citizens of Whatcom County, Washington.

Some are more or less than others and some are insignificant in my estimation. I imagine we’ll get around to most of them in time, so let’s just dive in and get down to it. Of the issues of greater significance to all that I’m aware of, chief amongst those at the present time, in my estimation, are the current plans for a replacement county jail.

First, before going any further, I feel obligated to say upfront that I’m kind of diving into the middle of this without the benefit of being fully informed of the current status. I am aware of many aspects though and have been following the posts of others who have been very active in the process, so where I’m not fully up to speed now, I intend to be very soon.

Second, I do have considerable knowledge of the backstory of the jail evolution from an insider perspective as a former Deputy Sheriff of Whatcom County. I’ve been inside many times as a function of my former duties and have the benefit of many previous contacts, personal conversations, first hand observations and the like. Point is, I’m pretty familiar with how this current push came about and how it’s evolved into what it is now.

With that in mind, we do need a replacement jail. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument to that. We have had need of a new jail for some time now. I’ve seen the damages, the wear, the broken items, the cracks in the walls, etc. However, something is amiss in the reasoning we’re all being media blitzed with now.

Currently, the county has completed the purchase of the new jail site property on LaBounty Rd. in Ferndale, just west of the intersection with Sunset Ave. The price tag for that piece of property was $6 million as I understand it. The recent Bellingham Herald article indicated that the price tag for the project has reached a new high of approximately $135 million (Yes, you read that right) and that’s where I’d like to begin.

For a county of this size, 208,351 (according 2014 US Census data), or approximately 1/34th of the total for Washington State’s 39 counties combined, doesn’t that register as being a bit on the high side? Quite a bit, I think and a number of questions come to mind as well, like how did we get from the need for a basic jail, to what appears to be a plan for a Taj Mahal jail?

This is cause for concern on the expenditure alone, but let’s go beyond that to a couple of examples of jails that haven’t turned out so well in spite of every assurance by elected officials to the contrary on the front end.

Once finished, Thurston County’s brand new $50 million dollar jail, completed 4 years ago…..hadn’t seen a single inmate as of the date of this 2014 article in The Olympian. The reason? Funding. Apparently the actual operating costs came as a complete surprise to local Thurston County officials.

Next we look to Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit), where officials conned the voters into building a $300 million dollar jail, broke ground 4 years prior and spiraling costs forced the project to be shut down 4 years ago. Detroit finally pulled the plug on the project and it is now unfinished AND costing taxpayers $1.2 million per month in debt service and upkeep just to maintain the incomplete albatross facility.

The comments of Rose Bogaert, head of the Wayne County Taxpayers Association and chair of the Michigan Taxpayer Alliance said it all for me:

“The Wayne County Jail was a mess since it was created. At this point, the only thing we should do is cut our losses…. If someone is willing to purchase it, we should sell it. Everyone knows that these projects never stay within budget, and this one was in a bad location to begin with,” she added. “It never made sense. There needs to be more thought put into these projects before they start building.”

Yes. I agree. That’s the thing that this taxpaying resident sees missing from the discussion and reporting on this jail project and that’s what needs to be addressed right now.

This part was particularly intriguing to me:

“The Wayne County Jail was originally proposed as a $300 million, 2,000-bed jail that would combine the other county correctional facilities. Ground was broken on the work site in September 2011, but was stalled nearly two years later, in June 2013, when a 60-day suspension was imposed after projected cost overruns totaled nearly $100 million. Construction never resumed, and later that summer, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the project.

The investigation led to the arrest of former Wayne County Chief Financial Officer Carla Sledge, attorney Steven Collins and construction manager Anthony Parlovecchio.”

Supporters will no doubt say, ‘Well, that’s Detroit.’ While that may be true, I’d counter that $135 million dollars for a relatively small county, population-wise, even with our border exposure and special considerations that come with it, still just doesn’t add up.

Additionally, the way this jail project is being undertaken gives additional cause for alarm.

Post script:
I did some figuring on my handy calculator and came up with this. Based on current US Census data, the total county population is 208,351 persons. If you subtract from that number those under 18 years of age and those over 65, roughly 35.2% of those persons are not in the labor force, or 73,339 persons.

That leaves approximately 135,012 county residents who would potentially be earning wages and paying taxes (at full employment, which we all know it’s not). So the best case is approximately $1,000 per person in additional jail tax today, assuming the project remained within budget.