August 20, 2014

DBSI Update: D. Swenson Gets 20 Years

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:27 pm

DBSIIn March and April OpenCdA put up several posts concerning the DBSI federal securities fraud trial.  The DBSI fraud resulted in millions of dollars in losses to victims nationwide.

Today, Idaho Federal District Court Judge Lynn Winmill sentenced former DBSI president Douglas Swenson to 20 years in federal prison for his role in defrauding investors in the defunct Meridian property management company.  The details of the sentencing are in the Idaho Statesman’s online article headlined  UPDATE:  Former DBSI president to serve 20 years for defrauding investors.

The article also reports that one of Swenson’s co-conspirators, former DBSI legal counsel Mark Ellison, will be sentenced later this afternoon.

ADDENDUM at 7:07 P.M.:  Attorney Ellison got five years.

August 17, 2014

So…Where Is It?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:16 pm

1424 E. Sherman-sized

At its June 17, 2014, regularly scheduled meeting, the Coeur d’Alene City Council approved a five year lease (see item 10 on the Consent Calendar) for space at 1424 E. Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene.  The space is to be a police substation.  We first reported on this proposal in our May 31 OpenCdA post entitled Coeur d’Alene Proposes (Another) Police Substation.  Also approved was a five-year contract for fiberoptic service to that substation.

The online packet for the June 17 Council meeting included a draft of the relevant agreements including lease (see packet pages 35-55/118).  According to the lease for the office space, the lease was to commence on July 1, 2014.

On August 15, 2014, we did a drive-by of the address and saw no signage anywhere indicating that the police substation which the City began renting on July 1 was open for business.  The existing all-tenants signage (visible in the lower right corner of the photo) makes no mention of the police department, and the proposed 4′ x 8′ police department sign has not been installed. There’s nothing to indicate that it is a police substation that is open for business to the public.

So when is the highly-touted Coeur d’Alene Police Department substation at 1424 E. Sherman Avenue going to be open to fight crime in the big city?

August 15, 2014

In Dribs and Drabs…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 10:22 am

Investigations-FactsAnd from today’s Coeur d’Alene Press story headlined No recording of Arfee shooting, we learn that the Coeur d’Alene police officer who shot and killed Arfee the dog inside a lawfully parked van on July 9 had not activated his body-worn camera when he handled a suspicious vehicle call in downtown Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

The skewspaper article said, “Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood confirmed that the camera worn by the officer was not recording at the time. [...] ‘I really can’t (comment) because that would go right to the heart of the personnel matter,’ Wood said.”

So contrary to the earlier and repeated assurances from Mayor Steve Widmyer and acting Police Chief Ron Clark that the results of the investigation would be released only after review by the City and by an impartial third party, we now have the police department’s public information officer giving out information from inside the investigation. (more…)

August 13, 2014

Investigation? Or Public Relations?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 2:40 pm

Investigations-FactsToday’s Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper story concerning the Arfee saga is headlined Arfee inquiry nearly done.

The article included two photos, both claiming to show Coeur d’Alene Police Department Lieutenant Turner making measurements on Craig Jones’ van in which his dog, Arfee, was shot by a Coeur d’Alene Police Department officer.

OpenCdA urges our readers to  read today’s newspaper article and carefully examine the photos.

From our perspective, the article and photos raises the question:  Is the City of Coeur d’Alene diligently investigating the Arfee shooting or is it engaging in theatrical public relations?  (more…)

August 4, 2014

Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:30 pm


The infection of two American medical aid workers in Liberia with the ebola virus has attracted considerable attention, in part because the two workers have been treated with an experimental drug not yet approved by the FDA for use on humans.

The ebola virus is one of the group of viral hemorrhagic fevers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The current ebola outbreak in west Africa is now the largest in recorded history.  Here is a Q&A about the outbreak.


August 1, 2014

Wait for the Report — Please

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 9:04 am

Investigations-FactsAgain today the Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper has run letters to its editor from citizens who believe the Coeur d’Alene police officer who shot Arfee the dog on July 9 should be disarmed.

OpenCdA has put up several posts about the incident.

As we’ve said before, we believe it is imperative that the officer not be prematurely judged.   That is more than just trying to be fair to the officer.   Shooting and killing Arfee the dog has certainly pointed out some very serious issues that the Police Department should be studying and addressing. (more…)

July 28, 2014

Mary Souza’s Newsletter: Who Is In Charge? — July 27, 2014

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 6:43 am

Souza Newsletter 07-27-14 pix

Mary Souza’s Newsletter

July 27, 2014

Who Is In Charge? (more…)

July 26, 2014

Deception By Omission

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 11:05 am

WriteToldMore and more it appears to OpenCdA that  the Coeur d’Alene Press newspaper is intentionally withholding important information about the shooting of Arfee the dog by a Coeur d’Alene police officer.

A line from The Spokesman-Review article dated July 25, 2014, and headlined Coeur d’Alene officers must view videos on encountering dogs reads, “Wood said the officer’s body camera was not in use during the confrontation with the dog.”  Wood is Sergeant Christie Wood, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department’s public information officer.

The Spokesman-Review’s article was picked up by the Associated Press and reported in the online Idaho Statesman, a Boise newspaper, in this article dated July 25, 2014, and headlined N. Idaho police to get training on dog encounters.   The Statesman’s article reads, “Sgt. Christie Wood, police spokeswoman, said the officer’s body camera wasn’t on at the time.”

Going back through the Coeur d’Alene Press online stories about the dog’s shooting, OpenCdA has been unable to find any Press reporting of that very newsworthy piece of information.

Why did The Spokesman-Review and the Idaho Statesman report the information but our own local newspaper,  the Coeur d’Alene Press, did not?  It was an important and very newsworthy revelation by the Coeur d’Alene Police Department’s public information officer, and it should have been reported in the local newspaper story.  Why wasn’t this reported?  What else is the Press willing to hide from its readers?

We also question why the Police Department released this piece of information now.  It is clearly a product of the internal investigation, and the City has assured its citizens that the results of the investigation will be made public after it has been reviewed by City managers and a third party.   Who authorized the release of the information attributed to Sergeant Wood?

July 25, 2014

What We Left Out …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 7:16 am

ALARCONOpenCdA left out something very relevant from yesterday’s post reporting the conviction of former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife on charges of voter fraud and perjury.  Thanks to alert reader and commenter Susie Snedaker for bringing the omission to our attention in her comment yesterday.

We agree with Susie:  The Los Angeles Times editorial posted online on July 23, 2014, and titled Alarcon prosecution sends the right message to other politicians, DAs is well worth reading.  Carefully.

The Times editorial board clearly gets it.  As they said in their editorial, “…, residency is in most cases a pretty good proxy for engagement with and knowledge of a district, and there is value in having a member of a community represent that community in government.”

We also completely agree with the Times editorial observation that, “The L.A. County district attorney’s office seems to be the only prosecutor in the state willing to bring these types of public integrity cases, and that’s a shame.”  Yes, it is a shame that is not limited to prosecutors in California.

But the Times editorial board saved its strongest point for last.  “The residency requirement is not a technicality; it’s a core tenet of our democratic system enshrined in the law. No politician should gain an advantage by lying, and no prosecutor should ignore evidence of voter fraud.”  To that we would add that no prosecutor and no judge is worthy of their position or the public’s trust and confidence if they ignore evidence of voter fraud and perjury.

Thankfully the Los Angeles County District Attorney, his Deputy DAs, and his Public Integrity Division take their sworn duties seriously.  We wish they would come visit Idaho.  Maybe some of that would rub off on prosecutors and judges here.

July 24, 2014

Guilty — Of the Crime That Doesn’t Exist…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 8:31 am

ALARCONFormer Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife were convicted of voter fraud and perjury in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday.  Alarcon and his wife had lied about where he actually lived so he would be eligible to run for a particular Los Angeles City Council seat.  He and his wife both lied under oath in furtherance of his illegal candidacy.

Alarcon is not the first California official to be convicted of voter fraud in recent history.   In January 2014 State Senator Roderick Wright was convicted of voter fraud and perjury for lying about his residence so he could run for the state senate.

Fortunately for the citizens of Los Angeles County, they have a Prosecuting Attorney who takes public corruption seriously enough to have a Public Integrity Division in his office.   Here is more but somewhat dated information about the Division and a sampling of cases it has prosecuted.

There are many people who deny the existence of voter fraud.   It’s fair to say that many of the deniers are those who choose to engage in fraud as candidates or encourage it as lazy or incompetent county clerks and  secretaries of state as well as politically-directed prosecutors and state attorneys general.

As the State of California and Los Angeles County in particular have shown, they pursue voter fraud rather than deny it exists.

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