Sawant campaign to ‘Save the Showbox’ at heart of $40M lawsuit

The Kshama Sawant-championed Seattle City Council decision to “save the Showbox” by surgically sliding the 1st Ave venue under the historical protections of the Pike Place Market has the city staring down the barrel of a $40 million lawsuit and an embarrassing reversal of the ordinance.

While District 3 and Capitol Hill representative Sawant is mentioned by name only once in the 22-page suit, her political effort to stymie the planned sale and redevelopment of the property owned by strip club magnate Roger Forbes is front and center in the suit:

When politicians cater to populist calls – whether those calls are “lock her up,” “build the wall,” “ban Muslims,” or “Save the Showbox” – civil and other rights are placed at risk. Populism, and politicians’ desires to appease their loudest constituents and generate headlines must, however, yield to the rule of law. Luckily for those who prefer protection of civil, constitutional and property rights, the courts exist to preserve, protect and enforce the rule of law.

About the D3 council member herself, lawyers at the Seattle-based Byrnes, Keller, and Cromwell firm representing the property — set to be acquired by Canadian developer Onni Group to build a 44-story apartment building after demolition of the Showbox — say Sawant’s actions were an “Appearance of Fairness” violation: Continue reading

With Twilight Exit’s new thing on Rainier, there’s only one Union

Dark and drinky inside the Twilight Exit (Image: CHS)

Fans of Capitol Hill food+drink drama, settle down. Thanks to Central District classic joint the Twilight Exit, there won’t be any litigative battle over the name chosen for Capitol Hill’s newest gay bar.

Commenters on CHS and social media have asked about whether there might end up being confusion between Capitol Hill’s new Union and Union Bar in Hillman City.

We can happily report there will be very little to no confusion — Union Bar is becoming Twilight Rainier.


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Twilight owner Stephan Mollmann confirms that the five-year-old Hillman City bar is now in the Twilight family.

The original Twilight Exit moved from E Madison to E Cherry in 2008. Today, a six-story apartment building stands at the original site across from the 22nd/Madison Safeway. Mollmann also opened The Neighbor Lady at 23rd and Union in 2011.

Hate crime charge in Pike/Pine shattered glass stabbing attack

A 35-year-old man has been charged with a hate crime in the Sunday, July 22nd stabbing attack on two men during an altercation at 12th and Pine.

CHS previously reported on the attack here. The King County Prosecutor’s office has charged Caster Kwak with one count of malicious harassment.

According to police, the suspect stabbed one of his victims with broken glass as they wrestled in a fight started when Kwak saw the man and another man holding hands while crossing the street at 12th and Pine and started calling the men faggots. Continue reading

Fake FBI agent busted for $130K Central District robbery and string of crimes pleads guilty

A Lake Stevens man charged in a string of fake FBI agent robberies including a $130K rip-off in the Central District pleaded guilty last week to seven federal felonies and now faces up to 20 years in prison.

Investigators say Steven Fisher “used fake credentials in the names of fictional characters or famous fraudsters” to commit his crimes. In a January 2017 robbery reported on by CHS at the time, investigators say Fisher claimed to be a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent investigating a suspicious transaction at 23rd and Jackson’s Red Sea FinanceContinue reading

Capitol Hill’s Honeyhole loses round in trademark battle over name

The Corleone is definitely worth a court challenge (Image: Honeyhole Sandwiches)

Pike/Pine dive bar and sandwich joint the Honeyhole is facing a legal battle over its very essence: its classic name.

Last month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board handed down its ruling affirming a decision rejecting Honeyhole’s application to trademark its 19-year-old Capitol Hill brand because of an existing claim on the name: Continue reading

Deputy in 13-hour Capitol Hill standoff charged for pepper spraying cops

The long standoff shut down several blocks around E Howell and Belmont

The off-duty King County Sheriff deputy who told police he had a shotgun and engaged in a 13-hour standoff with police inside his Capitol Hill apartment last week did, indeed, have a firearm in the unit.

Prosecutors say police found the weapon, ammunition, and a pepper spray canister inside the fourth-floor apartment of Berdon Parsons following the incident. The 30-year-old has been charged with three counts of third-degree assault for allegedly spraying pepper spray under a door as police officers attempted to contact him at the start of the Wednesday, May 30th standoff.

CHS reported last week on details from Seattle Police about the alleged domestic violence assault over a fight about groceries and sex that sparked the 13-hour standoff with the off-duty King County Sheriff’s deputy inside the Granada Apartments building. Continue reading

Police: Reported assault over groceries and sex led to 13-hour standoff with deputy at Capitol Hill apartment building

Berdon Parsons via Linkedin

Police say the 13-hour standoff with a King County Sheriff’s deputy at a Capitol Hill apartment building started with an alleged domestic violence assault over a fight about groceries and sex, according to court documents released Thursday.

Berdon Parsons faces charges over assaulting officers as Wednesday’s long standoff on the fourth floor of the Granada Apartments escalated after police say the deputy sprayed officers with pepper spray as they attempted to contact the 30-year-old from outside his apartment door early Wednesday morning.

“While officers were in the hallway they attempted to talk through the door with Parsons,” the report reads. “Suddenly, O/C Spray (aka Pepper Spray) started being sprayed from inside Parsons apartment along the seals of the door, therefore being sprayed out into the hallway where the 5 on-scene officers were.” The officers were forced to retreat and the standoff would then last through the morning and into the afternoon. Continue reading

Renters dealt a blow as judge rules against Seattle’s ‘First-Come, First-Served Screening Practice’ law

One of the key elements in a legislative package of renter protections passed in Seattle in the summer of 2016 has been struck down in King County Superior Court.

The “first-in-time,” “First-Come, First-Served Screening Practice” legislation required landlords to, as it was described in the Seattle City Council’s press release that summer, “review applications one at a time, on a first-come, first-served basis” in order to prevent “housing providers from giving applicants with alternative sources of income a lower priority.”

Tuesday, a judge sided with a suit brought by the Rental Housing Association and a group of land owners agreeing that the law infringed on property and speech rights.

The City of Seattle is expected to appeal the ruling.

It will have more legal work on its hands defending other legislative efforts to give tenants greater protections in Seattle’s rough and tumble — and hugely profitable — rental market. A move-in fee cap championed by District 3 rep Kshama Sawant also faced nearly immediate legal challenge. And a recent decision to temporarily ban the use of rent bidding services in the city is also entangled in the “first-in-time” decision.

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.