Schafer Law Firm
Washington Building, Suite 1302
1019 Pacific Avenue
P.O. Box 1134
Tacoma, Washington 98401-1134
(206) 383-2167 (Fax: 572-7220)

March 8, 1996

Julie Anne Shankland, Disciplinary Counsel
Washington State Bar Association
500 Westin Bldg.
2001 Sixth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121-2599

Re:     Investigation Concerning Attorney/Judge Grant L. Anderson and Attorneys Stephen W. Fisher, David R. Tuell, Jr., Robin L. Koppe, Sheri J. Fontana (a/k/a Van Sittert), and Possibly Other Lawyers Formerly Associated with Tuell, Anderson, Fisher & Koppe.
Dear Ms. Shankland:

            Pursuant to our phone conversation, please treat me as the "grievant" in this case so we may communicate concerning it, and I may be informed of its outcome. As I indicated to you, and as the documentation I provided to you shows, I have an extraordinary investment of time and expense piecing together the puzzle pieces of this case. I hope you will allow me to assist you with it.

            As I informed you by phone, several other public officials are concurrently investigating this matter. Accordingly, I am very concerned that your premature disclosure of detailed information to the accused may jeopardize those other investigations. Please contact me before you make any disclosures, so that I may discuss it with those officials, or have them get in touch with you concerning it. Thank you.

Very truly yours,
 

Douglas A. Schafer

[Webmaster's comment added 4/2/00: I had mailed to the State Bar disciplinary staff on about 2/29/96 my Perjury Declaration (Exhibit 1), my Memo of 2/29/96 (Exhibit 2), and a full set of my publicly obtained documents that the CJC staff had copied for me for distribution to other appropriate public officials. I had not submitted to the Bar staff any grievance letter or grievance form, believing that the documents themselves amply demonstrated the misconduct by the lawyers of Anderson, Tuell, Fisher & Koppe identified in those documents (misconduct that the CJC's investigator on 2/13/96 informally rated as a "13" on a 10-point scale, and she later told me emphatically that "all of the lawyers in Anderson's firm should be disbarred!").

I then submitted follow-up memos (of 3/6/96, 3/7/96, and 4/8/96) and additional documents as I gathered more information relating to the assorted misconduct. I had also provided all those memos and documents to, and  met with representatives of, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, the state Attorney General's Office, the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division. I felt that I could report to each of those officials under the state whistleblower protection statute, RCW 4.24.510.

Notwithstanding my express request to let me guide her, neither Disciplinary Counsel Julie Shankland (who was promoted in 1998 to Counsel for the Disciplinary Board) nor anybody else from her office ever contacted me about the evidence of misconduct that I reported, from the time I sent them the documents until after they had closed their so-called "investigation."]


Washington State Bar Association, Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Letter of April 12, 1996, Deferring Its Investigation

           On April 12, 1996, Disciplinary Counsel Shankland wrote to me that the five lawyer grievances she had opened upon  reading the documents that I submitted had been deferred by the Chief Disciplinary Counsel ("CDC") based upon my request that she not send materials to the accused lawyers that might interfere with pending criminal investigations and based upon a 1991 State Bar Board of Governors' policy granting the CDC discretion to defer disciplinary proceedings during the pendency of criminal proceedings. Ms. Shankland's letter requested of me, "Please contact us when the criminal proceedings are complete." I forwarded Shankland's letter with my Memo of 4/15/96 to each of the other public officials to whom I had provided the evidence of Judge Anderson's and others' misconduct.


Pierce County Prosecutor John W. Ladenburg's
Closing of His Investigation on May 1, 1996

           On May 1, 1996, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney John W. Ladenburg declared that his office had "carefully reviewed all of the evidence in this case" on the handling of the Hoffman Estate by lawyer/judge Grant L. Anderson and his colleagues, and that his investigation found "no basis for a criminal complaint." Ladenburg's letter to me of that date said his office had notified Judge Anderson of its findings. I received Mr. Ladenburg's letter on May 7, 1996.


Washington State Bar Association, Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Letters of May 2, 1996, Beginning Its Investigation

           On May 2, 1996, Disciplinary Counsel Shankland sent substantially identical letters to lawyer Kurt M. Bulmer (for Judge Grant L. Anderson) and to lawyers Stephen W. Fisher, David R. Tuell, Jr., Robin L. Koppe, and Sheri J. Fontana. She reported that her office initially had deferred the grievance due to on-going criminal investigations, but that "those investigations now have been completed." Beyond that statement, each letter was the office's standard form letter forwarding "a copy of the grievance" to the accused lawyer, and advising the lawyer that the disciplinary staff was commencing an investigation. Ms. Shankland informed the accused lawyers that they need not respond at that time, but that after she completed her review, she may ask them to respond to specific issues.


Washington State Bar Association, Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Letters of August 15, 1996, Closing Its "Investigation"

           On August 15, 1996, Disciplinary Counsel Shankland sent me substantially identical 2-page letters dismissing due to "insufficient evidence to prove unethical conduct" the grievances that she had opened against lawyers Tuell, Fisher, Koppe, and Fontana based upon the materials I had submitted. She sent me an 8-page letter dismissing due to "insufficient evidence to prove unethical conduct" the grievance that she had opened against lawyer/judge Grant L. Anderson.

            Neither Disciplinary Counsel Shankland nor anyone else from her office had communicated with me at all from the time that they began their "investigation" until they closed it. The tone of Ms. Shankland's closure letter was thoroughly critical of me, as the grievant, for allegedly failing to have considered this or that, failing to have provided to her this or that, and for submitting to her information that she either could not verify or believed from her "investigation" to be inaccurate. Consistent with her accusatory tone, Ms. Shankland had already sent to me her letter of August 5, 1996, directing me to respond to the allegations of unethical conduct that Mr. Hamilton had filed on July 26, 1996, that began the pending disciplinary proceeding against me.

            Mr. Bulmer or his client had foolishly submitted his itemized invoices for his mid-1996 services to the Pierce County official who paid Judge Anderson's disciplinary defense bills, and from whom I later obtained them through a public records request. Mr. Bulmer's invoice shows that he communicated with Ms. Shankland several times beginning on May 2, 1996, and that by July 8, 1996, she had begun to finalize her report dismissing my grievances.

            Rules for Lawyer Discipline, Rule 2.9(a)(4), grants a grievant the right to "receive a copy of any response submitted by the lawyer against whom a grievance is filed." Based upon that, I attempted by many, many letters to the disciplinary staff beginning April 16, 1997, to obtain copies of all responses that were submitted by or on behalf of lawyer/judge Grant L. Anderson. Each and every request that I submitted was denied -- to Disciplinary Counsels Julie Shankland and Tim Leachman, to Chief Disciplinary Counsel Barrie Althoff, and to State Bar Executive Director Jan Michels. Finally, by letter of March 23, 1999, Disciplinary Counsel Douglas Ende sent me a copy of Mr. Bulmer's 2-page letter of May 22, 1996 to Ms. Shankland which responded to the 1996 grievance and which forwarded to her the 2-page report from Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Ladenburg's investigator Frank Clarke closing his case as "unfounded" on May 1, 1996.

            Mr. Ende's letter to me of March 23, 1999, stated, "The file contains no other letters or documentation from either Judge Anderson or Mr. Bulmer relating to your grievance." I cannot reconcile his statement with Mr. Bulmer's  invoice itemizing his time entries from July 8 to 10, 1996, that read: "Telephone conference with WSBA re questions for Judge and plans re getting report finalized. Prepare response to WSBA re Shafer inquiries. Telephone conference with Judge re letter and WSBA questions. Telephone conference with Judge re corrections. Telephone conference with Shankland at WSBA re information she wanted." As I cannot reconcile the disciplinary staff's refusals and denials with Mr. Bulmer's invoice itemizing his actions, I do not believe that the State Bar's disciplinary staff has ever been forthcoming or truthful with me.


Commission on Judicial Conduct's Filing of Formal Charges on August 4, 1997

           On August 4, 1997, the Commission on Judical Conduct publicly filed its Statement of Charges and issued its press release announcing that it had found probable cause of multiple acts of dishonesty by Judge Anderson and his law firm, including his personal receipt of the Cadillac payments and his law firm's receipt from Pacific Lanes of monthly "management fees" that were "in addition to fees for legal services relating to Pacific Lanes." [Footnote 1 to Statement of Charges.] The release of these formal charges was well-publicized in the news media.

            The State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel simply took no action.


Doug Schafer Submission of  "Judge Grant L. Anderson Case Overview" to Bar

           On December 5, 1997, I prepared a 4-page overview of the misconduct that was evident in the handling of the Hoffman Estate by Grant L. Anderson and his lawyer colleagues at Anderson, Tuell, Fisher & Koppe. I provided a copy to each of the other 17 Pierce County Superior Court judges and a retired local judge (Robert Peterson), hoping that they could persuade Judge Anderson to resign quietly to spare our profession and community the anguish of airing the misconduct that I was confident would be exposed at his Commission on Judicial Conduct hearing then scheduled for two weeks beginning January 12, 1998. That 4-page overview was slightly edited and re-formatted to become the flyer that I began distributing publicly on December 18, 1997.

            On December 5, 1997, I faxed a copy of the 4-page overview State Bar Chief Disciplinary Counsel Barrie Althoff and Disciplinary Counsel Julie Shankland with a cover note referencing the closed grievances of the five lawyers from Anderson, Tuell, Fisher & Koppe (the fifth lawyer was Shari Fontana) and the following message:

You may start preparing to explain why you exonerated these lawyers after your 5/2/96 to 8/15/96 "investigation."

Washington State Bar Association, Chief Disciplinary Counsel's Letter of December 9, 1996

           On December 9, 1996, Chief Disciplinary Counsel Barrie Althoff sent me a letter in response to my faxed document entitled "Judge Grant L. Anderson Case Overview." In relevant part, Mr. Althoff said:

Your fax refers to information that will "come out at trial." I presume you are referring to the Judicial Conduct Commission's scheduled hearings next month which will look at some issues related to those you raised in a grievance you filed with us. After the Commission has completed its hearing and issued its findings, we will determine whether it is appropriate for us to again look at this matter. Until then, however, we do not believe that it is appropriate for us to take any further action.

Commission on Judicial Conduct's Hearing in January, 1998

            The CJC's hearing ran only five days, beginning January 12, 1998. On the first day of that hearing, the CJC made publicly available copies of transcripts of its investigatory depositions of lawyer/judge Anderson, Mr. Hamilton, lawyer Fisher, lawyer Hoefel, and an accountant. The CJC also made available on that first hearing day a collection of about 100 trial exhibits --  documents that provided evidence of the professional misconduct relating to the administration of the Hoffman Estate by the lawyers of Anderson, Tuell, Fisher & Koppe. During the hearing, testimony was provided by Anderson, Diane Anderson (who was his spouse prior to mid-1996), Hamilton, Fisher, and other witnesses.

            Though the deposition transcripts, hearing exhibits, and hearing testimony detailed an astounding degree of lawyer misconduct, no representative of the State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel attended the hearing (though two federal law enforcement special agents did attend it) nor did that office obtain at that time or promptly thereafter copies of the deposition transcripts, hearing exhibits, or hearing transcripts.

            The State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel simply continued to take no action.


Commission on Judicial Conduct's Decision in April, 1998

           On April 3, 1998, the Commission on Judicial Conduct issued its decision finding that the evidence was clear, cogent and convincing that lawyer/judge Grant L. Anderson had acted in a dishonest and deceptive manner in relation to his handling of the Hoffman Estate.

            The State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel simply continued to take no action.


Anderson and Cohorts Settle Hospital's Fraud Claim for $500,000

           On January 7, 1999, major newspapers reported that Judge Anderson and his professional cohorts settled for $500,000 claims brought against them by a prominent Seattle law firm (Ogden Murphy Wallace) on behalf of Ocean Beach Hospital based upon the defendants' fraud and other misconduct in their handling of the Hoffman Estate, of which the hospital was the primary beneficiary. The newspaper article reported that the claim and settlement papers were obtained through a public records request to the public hospital district.

            The State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel still simply continued to take no action.


Doug Schafer's Pleas to the State Legislature in January, 1999

           In January, 1999, I began urging the State Legislature to itself investigate the case of Judge Grant L. Anderson, asserting that, among other things, the State Bar disciplinary office was ineffective if not corrupt. On February 3, 1999, Senate Majority Leader Sid Snyder and three co-sponsors introduced a resolution initiating the process of legislative removal of Judge Anderson.

            My pleas to the legislature and its response can be read on the main page of this website, linked here.



 Washington State Bar Association, Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Letter of February 12, 1999, Reopening the Anderson Grievance

           Chief Disciplinary Counsel Barrie Althoff sent me a letter dated February 12, 1999 (that I received 10 days later) in which he stated in relevant part:

The Judicial Conduct Commission determined that Grant Anderson violated certain provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct and issued a decision imposing discipline. During the course of the proceedings before the Commission, evidence came to light that was unknown to us when we dismissed your grievance.

We have thus decided to reopen that grievance for the limited purpose of investigating certain matters that led to the Commission's findings of misconduct, in order to determine whether Grant Anderson's conduct as a lawyer (but not his conduct as a judge, which more appropriately falls within the jurisdiction of the Commission) may have violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. Specifically, we intend to further investigate matters relating to his receipt of funds from William Hamilton and/or Pacific Recreation Enterprises, Inc., his meeting with Stephen Fisher in March of 1993, and the price adjustment pertaining to the sale of the assets of the Estate of Charles Hoffman to William Hamilton.

Please let me know if you wish to continue to be deemed the grievant in this matter. If not, the investigation will proceed as a Bar Association grievance. ...

This matter has been assigned to disciplinary counsel Douglas Ende. Please direct all correspondence and inquiries pertaining to this matter to him. [Emphasis added.]


Schafer Law Firm
Washington Building, Suite 1302
1019 Pacific Avenue
P.O. Box 1134
Tacoma, Washington 98401-1134
(206) 383-2167 (Fax: 572-7220)

February 23, 1999

Douglas J. Ende, Disciplinary Counsel
Washington State Bar Association
2101 - 4th Ave., 4th Floor
Seattle, WA 98232-2330

            Re:     Re-opened grievance against lawyer Grant L. Anderson;
                      WSBA File Nos. 9600432.

Dear Mr. Ende:

            In reply to Mr. Althoff's letter of 2/12/99 to me, this is to confirm that I wish to continue to be deemed the grievant in the above-referenced matter. In the event that your office determines also to re-open (as I believe it should) the related grievances against lawyers Stephen Fisher, Sheri Fontana, Robyn Koppe, and David Tuell (WSBA File Nos. 9600433, 9600434, 9600435, and 9600436), I wish to be deemed the grievant in those cases, as well.

            My reason for requesting to be deemed the grievant is so that, hopefully, I will be afforded an opportunity to keep your office from being misled as to the facts or the law surrounding the misconduct of the respondent lawyers. I have lived with this matter for over three years, now, and have studied the voluminous documents intensely and repeatedly.

            As I told you in our phone chat, I will attempt in the next few weeks to prepare and provide to you my analysis of the publicly documented facts that I believe to be most relevant to your investigation.

            Thank you.

Very truly yours,
 

Douglas A. Schafer
 

[Comment on 2/16/00:  The Office of Disciplinary Counsel never has indicated any intention to re-open the grievances against lawyers Stephen Fisher, Sheri Fontana (a/k/a Sheri Van Sittert), Robyn Koppe (a/k/a Robyn Lindsay and Robyn Hoefel], and David Tuell (WSBA File Nos. 9600433, 9600434, 9600435, and 9600436).]


Washington State Supreme Court's Removal of Judge Anderson

           On July 29, 1999, the Washington State Supreme Court issued its opinion removing Judge Anderson from his judicial office based upon the clear, cogent, and convincing evidence of his violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and what the Court called "a pattern of dishonest behavior."

            The State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel has simply continued to take no action. It is now nearly six months later.


Applicable Rules for Lawyer Discipline

           RLD 2.6(b) provides "It shall be the duty of disciplinary counsel to:  (1) Take cognizance of any alleged or apparent act of misconduct by a lawyer, whether by grievance or otherwise, and investigate the same ..."

            RLD 1.1 provides "A lawyer may be subject to the disciplinary sanctions or actions set forth in these rules for any of the following:"
                    "(a) The commission of any act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption, ... whether the same be committed in the course of his or her conduct as a lawyer, or otherwise ...."
                     ....
                    "(k) Violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct."


Corrupt Bar Disciplinary System?

           In this computer-dependent society, it is common parlance to say that a program or system is "corrupt" if it has ceased to perform the function that it was designed to perform. I contend that the State Bar disciplinary system is corrupt, for it has undeniably failed to perform as designed to address the obvious misconduct of former judge -- still lawyer -- Grant L. Anderson and his fellow lawyers in his law firm of Anderson, Tuell, Fisher & Koppe, who joined in his exploitation of the Hoffman Estate.