Capitol Hill property owner takes Sullivan House landmark decision to court

Lawyers are asking the King County Superior Court to reject a well-worn, dilapidated 120-year-old Capitol Hill mansion recently approved as a Seattle historic landmark.

Saying that the decision has “prejudiced” their client by “causing the loss of a sale” and “substantially destroying the economic value of the property,” lawyers for the estate that owns the Sullivan House at 15th Ave and E Olive St. filed the lawsuit last month after the old mansion became one of the city’s most unlikely properties to go forward in the designation process that sets up controls and incentives on certain properties deemed worthy of preservation by a city convened board.

In the suit, lawyers for Elaine Thorson, the retired schoolteacher they say moved from California and plunged her life’s savings into buying out other heirs to her deceased aunt’s unique Capitol Hill apartment property, are asking the court to reverse the land use decision on the house and send the mansion back to Seattle Landmarks Board with direction to “reject the landmark nomination based on the severe economic impact such a designation will have (and has had) on the petitioners.” Continue reading

Hickey sentenced in porn scam sex assaults

Matt Hickey will spend most of the next three years behind bars.

The 41-year-old was sentenced Friday afternoon to 34 months in jail following his plea deal late last year to avoid trial. Hickey admitted guilt to one count of indecent liberties and three counts of assault with intent to commit indecent liberties. He had faced four separate counts of second degree rape. Prosecutors were looking for the maximum 30-month sentence. King County Jude Mary E. Roberts tacked on four more. Hickey has been jailed for more than a year awaiting trial.

Hickey, a former Capitol Hill regular, was arrested in Las Vegas in late 2016 after prosecutors and police said the Seattle writer and photographer had sexually assaulted incapacitated victims including preying on a woman he met in a Capitol Hill bar.

Prosecutors says Hickey’s assaults had been going on for years:

Women assaulted by Hickey read victim impact statements before Friday’s sentencing. The Stranger’s Sydney Brownstone, whose investigation of the fake porn “auditions” is credited with bringing Hickey to justice, reported here on the sentencing hearing.

28-year sentence for murderer who dumped body parts in Central District recycling bins

The man who murdered Ingrid Lyne and disposed of parts of her body in recycling bins in a Central District neighborhood was sentenced to 28 years in jail Friday.

John Charlton, 39, reached a plea deal in the 2016 killing of the 40-year-old Swedish Medical Center nurse and mother inside her Renton home. Charlton then stole her car and dumped her remains in at least two Central District recycling bins. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s 35th North sued by city over guerilla Duck Island skate bowl

Capitol Hill skateboard shop 35th North is being sued by the City of Seattle over the summer construction of a guerrilla skate park on an island in the middle of Green Lake.

City Attorney Peter Holmes announced the lawsuit Wednesday.

“As stewards of Seattle’s public parkland, we were saddened to see the misuse and destruction of Duck Island,” Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre said in a statement announcing the suit. “We are thankful to our partners in the City Attorney’s Office for seeking to hold those responsible accountable for damage created.”

The complaint from the Holmes office blames E Pike’s 35th North and 20 John/Jane Does for construction of a skateboard feature on the island this summer as part of a contest sponsored by Transworld Skateboarding Magazine. At one point, the Seattle project was named a winner in the Nike-sponsored contest but video of the project has since been removed from the magazine’s site. Neither Nike or the magazine are named in the suit. Continue reading

Sawant defamation lawsuit cost to be covered by city

In a Seattle Times op-ed, Seattle City Council president Bruce Harrell announced his decision that the City of Seattle should pay Kshama Sawant’s legal fees in a defamation lawsuit brought against her by the Seattle Police officers who shot Che Taylor.

As council president, it is Harrell’s duty to determine if Sawant’s statements came “within the course and scope of employment.”

“the job of a council member is broader than just legislative activities conducted in council chambers … A council member’s job includes stepping outside to speak with their constituents on policy matters important to them and addressing controversial matters where every word or sentence can be construed for political meaning … Sawant acted within the scope of her duties as a council member.”

The officers, Scott Miller and Michael Spaulding, claim Sawant used the fatal shooting while naming the officers to further her own administrative agenda and political platform. The lawsuit filing says the two “do not want one red cent of public money.” Their claim alleges Sawant called the officers murderers and stated their decision to shoot Taylor as a product of racial profiling before the two had their day in court.

Sawant’s defense contends the council member continued to speak out on the issue for advocacy and accountability.

District 3’s Sawant fighting defamation suit from officers who shot Che Taylor

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant faces a defamation lawsuit from the Seattle Police Department officers who shot Che Taylor last year. Sawant filed for a motion to dismiss last week.

The officers, Scott Miller and Michael Spaulding, claim she used the fatal shooting while naming the officers to further her own administrative agenda and political platform. The lawsuit filing itself says the two “do not want one red cent of public money.” Their claim alleges Sawant called the officers murderers and stated their decision to shoot Taylor as a product of racial profiling before the two had their day in court. Continue reading

Seattle takes Trump to court over sanctuary city funding threats

Millions in federal funds are on the line. But the City of Seattle is picking a fight with the Trump administration over sanctuary cities because of larger costs.

“Their war on facts has become a war on cities,” Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday in an announcement of a federal lawsuit brought by Seattle demanding legal clarification on a Trump executive order that threatens so-called sanctuary cities that don’t collaborate with immigration authorities with the loss of government grants. Continue reading

Lawsuit alleges SPD made racist arrest in Rhino Room brawl

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-3-10-59-pmAn April 2015 CHS blotter item has escalated into a lawsuit over allegations of biased policing and racist treatment of a black patron at Pike/Pine nightclub The Rhino Room.

Here is how CHS recorded the police report on the April 8, 2015 arrest of Sean Perryman:

A man trying to break-up an altercation inside an 11th and E Pine bar early Saturday morning ended up in an altercation of his own when he allegedly assaulted a man who also tried to intervene. According to SPD, the suspect was trying to calm an argument between a bouncer and a bar patron. When a third man approached, witnesses said the suspect punched and kicked that man, possibly dislocating his knee. The suspect was booked into King County Jail for assault.

But the SPD’s account of the early morning arrest left out a few key details revealed later in a review of security video that would eventually result in King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole both apologizing for the incident and the dropping of a charge of the third degree assault brought against Perryman. Continue reading

Judge refuses to lower bail for Capitol Hill photographer accused of rape

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-12-14-24-pmFormer Capitol Hill resident and Pike/Pine regular Matt Hickey was in a King County courtroom Tuesday morning after extradition from Las Vegas to face accusations he raped incapacitated victims he allegedly lured with promises of work in the porn industry.

The 40-year-old appeared with his court appointed lawyer who argued unsuccessfully for Hickey’s bail to be lowered as he entered the initial “not guilty” pleas on behalf of his client.

Hickey remains in the King County Jail, held on $200,000 bail.

The sometimes journalist and photographer is charged with three counts of second degree rape. Prosecutors allege the crimes were part of a string of sexual assaults in which women said they went with Hickey “under false pretenses or stated Hickey had sex with them when they were too intoxicated to give consent.”

Hickey was arrested in Las Vegas in October where the Stranger reports he had continued his online search for women to photograph.

King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector also approved protection orders prohibiting Hickey from contacting his alleged victims.

Jury finds SPD cop violated man’s civil rights in Capitol Hill ‘walking while black’ case

A federal jury has found former East Precinct police officer Cynthia Whitlatch guilty of violating the civil rights of William Wingate after arresting the pedestrian at the corner of 12th and Pike in 2014 and sparking a massive a backlash against the Seattle Police Department.

Whitlatch was eventually fired for racial bias. The jury decided Tuesday that Wingate, now 72, should be awarded $325,000 for the actions of the veteran officer who claimed she felt threatened by Wingate’s actions as he walked through the neighborhood that July day on Capitol Hill. Continue reading