We realize that not everyone has followed all that we've written about Democratic Senate candidate Fred Walser, and we've written so much, and made so many serious claims, that some people think that some of what we say isn't true. We assure you, every word we've claimed is true.
But it is, of course, understandable that people want to see the evidence without digging through the thousands of words we've written, so here's a summary of the major claims, with direct links and quotations. If there's anything in here you believe is not well-sourced enough, or if you have any questions, please let us know, and we will provide whatever information is required.
The main document used for much of the evidence is the Everett Police Department report of the investigation of Walser. It is in three parts (hosted on the KIRO TV web site), and it is referenced below by page number (e.g., "EPD p. 1"): pages 1-9, pages 10-20, and pages 21-31. Other documents will be linked directly.
The claims are as follows, that Fred Walser:
- pled guilty in June 2008, and was sentenced to one year in jail
- may not serve in office if he goes to jail for his crime
- received a log and faked a replacement log the very same day
- warned Pepperell that she was to be interviewed by the State Police
- violated a direct order from the mayor
- filed a false sexual harassment complaint
- tried to convince Sheriff Rick Bart to violate the law
- is guilty of more than a mere "clerical error"
- knew Pepperell had a history of abuses when he hired her
- refused to say under oath whether he knew who Pepperell was
- told an officer to submit a fraudulent overtime card, then blamed the officer
- wrote a fraudulent accident report to protect a friend's son
- has cost the citizens tens of thousands of dollars for his misdeeds, and attempted to cost them millions more
Those are the claims. Here's the evidence.
- Fred Walser pled guilty in June 2008, and was sentenced to one year in jail
See the actual guilty plea and sentencing papers, as well as various news articles. His jail sentence was suspended, except for 30 days, and that 30 days was converted to 240 hours of community service. He also received a $500 fine, $20,000 restitution to the City of Sultan, and a year of probation. He did not admit guilt when he pled guilty, but he did admit that the evidence was strong enough to convict him beyond reasonable doubt, and we agree.
- Fred Walser may not serve in office if he goes to jail for his crime
As noted above, his one-year sentence was suspended. If he violates probation or does not complete a key portion of his sentence -- the $20,000 restitution due on October 23, 2008 -- his suspended sentence could be enacted.
Further, he has 30 eight-hour days of community service to fulfill, which must be completed by June 2009, and will take away from any ability to serve in office, if not completed before the election.
- Fred Walser received a log and faked a replacement log the very same day
On March 9, 2006, Detective Steve Clinko of the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office went to see, individually, Fred Walser and Caroline Pepperell as part of an investigation about whether Pepperell had poisoned Gayle Harvie's dogs. (EPD p. 2) Clinko gave Walser a log proving that Pepperell had used the ACCESS system to investigate Harvie the previous year. Walser told Clinko he would handle it.
On May 18, 2006, Walser met with a city attorney and the city clerk, to give them information in response to a public records request by Harvie for all the ACCESS logs. Walser provided a log he created with Pepperell -- dated the same day he met with Clinko, March 9, 2006 -- that showed Harvie's name had NOT been run through ACCESS.
- Fred Walser warned Pepperell that she was to be interviewed by the State Police
While Pepperell was under investigation by the Washington State Patrol, Fred Walser was instructed not to inform her that she was to be interviewed. He did anyway. When confronted, he said "he knew exactly what he was doing." (EPD p. 18)
- Fred Walser violated a direct order from the mayor
On October 24, 2006, Mayor Tolson ordered Walser to train Tami Peavey to replace Caroline Pepperell on the ACCESS system, and to remove Pepperell from ACCESS by November 3. (EPD p. 11) Walser refused to do so. It never happened. (EPD pp. 14-15, 17-18)
- Fred Walser filed a false sexual harassment complaint
Walser filed a sexual harassment complaint against Peavey, Pepperell's proposed replacement. (EPD pp. 3, 11-12) The complaint was dismissed, and one of the officers that Walser swears told him about the incident, vehemently denied being involved and actually filed a union grievance against Walser for including him in the report. Rather than addressing the complaint on its merits, Walser told investigators he "didn't understand" the officer's "sensitivity to the matter since he was not the object of the harassment." (EPD p. 14)
- Fred Walser tried to convince Sheriff Rick Bart to violate the law
Walser met Snohomish County Sheriff Bart on May 22, 2007 (a few days after being informed of the internal investigation) at a law enforcement convention. (EPD pp. 3, 24-25) At that meeting, Walser insisted that Bart not disclose records mentioned in an incoming public records requests from Harvie because it was an "internal matter." It was not. (Bart fulfilled the records request.)
- Fred Walser is guilty of more than a mere "clerical error"
Taken alone, one could be justified in thinking that it was a mere "clerical error" as Walser claims. But there is a clear pattern of behavior to protect Pepperell (and himself) that shows otherwise: his direct violation of a mayoral order to take Pepperell off ACCESS; his false sexual harassment complaint against Pepperell's replacement; his attempt to get Sheriff Bart to violate public records law; and, of course, the fact that Walser and Pepperell printed up a faked replacement log the same day he was given the original log, and his behavior in the wake of that act.
On August 24, 2006, the Washington State Patrol told Walser and the city attorney that Clinko's report revealed that Pepperell had accessed Harvie; Walser "seemed surprised" and did not reveal that Clinko had ever told him the same thing, which he had on March 9. (EPD p. 3)
Five days later, on August 29, 2006, in an executive staff meeting, Walser said that the department wouldn't "come out clean" on the investigation.
On October 3, 2006, city attorneys first discovered that Walser had known about the Clinko report for months; on October 24, WSP investigators met with city officials, put all the pieces together, and decided that there would have to be an internal investigation of Walser.
On May 17, 2007, Walser received notification that there was an internal investigation of him coming, and Walser claimed he did not get a report from Clinko, and that he had turned over everything he had in response to the public records request.
A week later, on May 24, Walser met with Mayor Tolson. (EPD p. 14) Walser asked if he could get through this without an internal investigation. (EPD p. 16) Walser said he had the "Clinko memo," that it was in his file all along, that he flagged it, and knew where it was. (EPD p. 15, 17, 20)
Walser asked, "How do we fix this? How do we make this go away? What do I need to do?", and "If I screwed up, I screwed up." (EPD. p. 19) Then he "said something to the effect that his time had run its course and that he wanted to be told what to do now." Tolson left that up to Walser, and they decided he should resign, and he did so the next day. (EPD p. 15)
Walser did not "remember" he had the document until he was confronted, over a year later, with an internal affairs investigation, and then he immediately said that it was flagged and in his file all along. Walser said, variously, that it was a mere "clerical error," that it was "a report in my file that I absolutely forgot about." The facts show he is lying now, as he was lying then.
- Fred Walser knew Pepperell had a history of abuses when he hired her
This was included in the KIRO TV report on May 14, 2007: Mountlake Terrace Police Chief Scott Smith said, "[Pepperell] ran over 200 license plates of individuals for personal use. The investigation determined she would attend various functions, rodeos or different establishments and typically would find an individual she would find attractive, get their license plate and run their license plate." KIRO reporter Chris Halsne continues: "[Walser] admits he knew Pepperell had been caught using Mountlake Terrace police computers to find dates. He hired her anyway."
- Fred Walser refused to say under oath whether he knew who Pepperell was
The deposition transcript shows that Fred Walser pled the Fifth Amendment, and could not admit a simple, known, public fact -- that he knew Caroline Pepperell -- without fear of incriminating himself.
- Fred Walser told an officer to submit a fraudulent overtime card, then blamed the officer
An officer under Walser had a discussion with Sultan's administrator on April 30, 2007, and Walser told him to destroy his original timecard and submit one with three hours of overtime on it for that discussion. Walser claimed two weeks later that he did not tell the officer to do so, and that the officer was being untruthful. (EPD p. 21) About ten days later, Walser admitted he is he did it. (EPD p. 15)
- Fred Walser wrote a fraudulent accident report to protect a friend's son
This incident goes back over a decade, to 1993, when Fred Walser was an officer with the Washington State Patrol. We do not yet have the documentation, but there are a few news stories online regarding the event.
Pat Slack, Jr., the son of Walser's friend, Pat Slack, was in an accident. The official report by the Snohomish Police Department showed that Slack, Jr. was at fault. Walser, as a favor to Slack, filed his own analysis of the accident, saying Slack, Jr. could not possibly have been at fault.
When later contradicted by experts, Walser constructed yet another theory to explain away Slack, Jr.'s culpability. The experts testified that theory was incorrect, too.
Walser cost the city and State Patrol thousands of dollars, and he explained it by saying, "I did what I thought was right."
- Fred Walser has cost the citizens tens of thousands of dollars for his misdeeds, and attempted to cost them millions more
The WSP investigation of Pepperell alone cost the city about $40,000. Other investigations and losses cost thousands more. The city will presumably recoup $20,000 due to Walser's court-ordered restitution, but it won't cover all their losses. And on top of it all, in the wake of Walser's resignation as a result of his own misdeeds, Walser filed a $10 million claim against the City of Sultan in October 2007, claiming Walser was forced out due to ulterior motives, and that he resigned under "unlawful coercion." (He dropped the claim when he pled guilty.)
Draw your own conclusions from the facts. Our conclusion is that Fred Walser displays a clear pattern of serial dishonesty, that he habitually puts himself and his friends above the rights of the citizens, that he is unconcerned significantly with either ethics or the law, and that if elected, he will cost us all in both our liberty and our pocketbooks.