About jseattle

Justin is publisher of CHS. You can reach him at chs@capitolhillseattle.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959. Follow @jseattle on Twitter or be best pals on Facebook.

Central Co-op drops Capitol Hill Station bid over cost concerns

When the development opens in 2019, Central Co-op won’t be the retail anchor at the middle of thousands of square feet of new restaurants, shops, services and community space surrounding Capitol Hill Station. Interim CEO Garland McQueen announced the decision to drop its bid for the project Sunday night at the co-op’s annual owner meeting.

In a statement sent to CHS, McQueen said cost was the big factor: Continue reading

Convicted Broadway Grill hacker sentenced to 27 years

Seleznev in happier times with stacks of cash (Image: Department of Justice)

Roman Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker and a prisoner once reportedly dangled in exchange for Edward Snowden, was sentenced to 27 years Friday morning in a milestone that should mark the beginning of the end of a long story in Capitol Hill crime and justice and an international scheme that included ripping off customers of the Broadway Grill. The Department of Justice announced the sentencing following Friday’s federal court hearing in Seattle:

A 32-year-old Vladivostok, Russia, man was sentenced today to 27 years in prison for his computer hacking crimes that caused more than $169 million in damage to small businesses and financial institutions, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington.

Roman Valeryevich Seleznev, aka Track2, was convicted in August 2016, of 38 counts related to his scheme to hack into point-of-sale computers to steal credit card numbers and sell them on dark market websites.  U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones of the Western District of Washington imposed the sentence.

“This investigation, conviction and sentence demonstrates that the United States will bring the full force of the American justice system upon cybercriminals like Seleznev who victimize U.S. citizens and companies from afar,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco said in a statement.  “And we will not tolerate the existence of safe havens for these crimes – we will identify cybercriminals from the dark corners of the Internet and bring them to justice.”

Seleznev was convicted last summer in a $1.7 million international computer hacking and identity theft scheme that included stealing credit card numbers in 2010 from the now-shuttered Broadway Grill on Capitol Hill and the Mad Pizza chain, among other local businesses. In August 2016, a federal jury in Seattle found Seleznev guilty on 38 counts, including computer hacking, wire fraud, and identity theft. He faced up to 34 years in prison.

In 2010, the Secret Service detailed that the breach that exposed information from hundreds of credit and bank cards as part of a single-day hack of a vulnerable Capitol Hill restaurant’s point of sales system. The son a Russian politician, Seleznev’s case gained international attention when he was taken into custody by United States law enforcement in 2014 while attempting to board a plane in the Maldives. The Russians called it a kidnapping and accused the U.S. of trying to trade Seleznev for Edward Snowden. Continue reading

Blotter | Police investigate violent Boylston phone mugging

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here. Yes, CHS is still on hiatus but we’ll continue to keep the news engine warm and post from time to time as events warrant.

  • Boylston robbery: Police were unable to make any immediate arrests but collected a lot of hopefully useful evidence with the help of witnesses and video after a Sunday night, April 9th phone robbery on Boylston. Officers were called to the area around Boylston and Union just before 10 PM on April 9th after a 911 caller reported hearing a woman yell for help. Police were directed to a nearby apartment where friends were treating the victim for a swollen lip, cuts and bruises to her face, and head pain. The victim told police she was walking home from dinner in the Pike/Pine neighborhood and walking home when two suspects “came up behind her, held her down, and hit her multiple times in the face,” according to the SPD report on the incident. The victim provided police written notes on what she remembered from the attack: Continue reading

Blotter | Police investigate shooting on Melrose in reported domestic violence incident

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here. Yes, CHS is still on hiatus but we’ll continue to keep the news engine warm and post from time to time as events warrant.

  • Melrose shooting: One person was taken into custody following a domestic altercation involving a man and woman each reportedly armed with a gun that escalated into bloodshed along Melrose Ave E Monday morning. According to police and Seattle Fire radio dispatches, a male was reported shot outside a building in the 100 block of Melrose Ave E just before 11 AM. A search was quickly started for a female reported leaving the scene and ditching a gun as she fled. Seattle Fire arrived to begin treating the male victim as the female shooter was located near Harrison and Summit and taken into custody. Police recovered multiple shell casings from behind the building and a .45 caliber handgun that was reportedly dropped by the victim during the incident. Officers also found blood on a nearby UPS truck and were searching for the shooter’s weapon reportedly dumped in the area. Nearby streets were closed in the area during the search. The victim wast reportedly transported to Harborview. We do not have further information on his condition. UPDATE 12:57 PM: SPD confirms initial reports from the scene and says the victim did not suffer life-threatening injuries: Detectives are interviewing a 19-year-old woman after a man was shot Monday morning in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Dispatchers began receiving calls to 911 just before 11 AM stating there had been multiple shots fired in the 100 block of Melrose Avenue East. Officers arrived and found a man with multiple gunshot wounds in a nearby alley and spoke to witnesses, who reported seeing a woman fleeing the area immediately following the shooting. Witnesses also reported seeing the victim of the shooting throw a gun in some bushes not far from where he was found. Medics transported the 32-year-old victim to Harborview Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Dispatchers later received a call from a woman, who said she had shot the man. The woman said that she would wait at an intersection for officers to arrive. Officers quickly found and detained the 19-year-old woman who is now being interviewed by detectives. UPDATE 3:45 PM: SPD says the man who was shot will be booked into jail for investigation of harassment in a possible domestic violence crime: The man wounded in this morning’s shooting will be booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Harassment upon his release from the hospital. Detectives have determined the man and the woman involved in this morning’s incident had previously been in a relationship. The woman told police she had gone to meet the man this morning to return his property, a firearm, and observed him charging at her with a gun in his hand. The woman fired at the man, striking him in the leg. She fled the scene but was contacted by police a short distance away, and was interviewed and later released by detectives. The Seattle Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit is investigating the case.

Homestead Seattle grows into new space in Pike/Pine, sprouts new plant shop on E Olive St

The folks behind vintage furniture and design brand Homestead Seattle have been growing all sorts of things. Their design shop is about to grow into a larger, much more prominent space. And, Sunday, the new Homestead Seattle Plant Shop will blossom on E Olive St near 23rd Ave.

“We’ve definitely seen more apartment gardening,” Ryan Tansey tells CHS about some of the trends at play behind the new shop at 2202 E Olive St. “People who are moving to the hill are less likely to have a yard to work with,” Tansey said. “And I’ve also heard from some people that because many people are having kids later, having plants around is another way to have something to nurture and grow.” Continue reading

Police: Suspected fentanyl and coke found after Capitol Hill apartment death

The King County Medical Examiner has identified a man who died in a Capitol Hill apartment where police found suspected fentanyl and cocaine Wednesday night as James Wilson. Seattle Police say the victim was also one of two men treated by medics in a double fentanyl overdose at a Capitol Hill bar in an incident reported on by CHS in late March.

Seattle Fire tells CHS responding units found the 29-year-old in cardiac arrest inside the E John apartment Wednesday night just before 9 PM and performed CPR. “Unfortunately our efforts were not successful and [the patient] expired,” a Seattle Fire spokesperson said. Continue reading

Lawsuit alleges Murray sexually abused teen he met on Capitol Hill in 1980s

IMG_9225Seattle Mayor Ed Murray faces a sex abuse scandal as he heads into a reelection battle to retain his office at City Hall.

The Seattle Times reported Thursday that the 61-year-old faces a lawsuit over allegations that he sexually abused a drug-addicted teen he met on Capitol Hill in the 1980s before Murray launched his political career:

A 46-year-old Kent man sued Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Thursday, claiming Murray “raped and molested him” over several years, beginning in 1986 when the man was a 15-year-old high-school dropout. The lawsuit in King County Superior Court, filed under the man’s initials, “D.H.,” alleges Murray sexually abused the crack-cocaine addicted teen on numerous occasions for payments of $10 to $20. “I have been dealing with this for over 30 years,” the man, now sober for a year, said in an interview with The Seattle Times. He said he was coming forward as part of a “healing process” after years of “the shame, the embarrassment, the guilt, the humiliation that I put myself through and that he put me through.”

Documents in the lawsuit were not yet available via the King County Superior Court’s online record system as of Thursday afternoon. UPDATE 4/7/2017: The complaint and associated filings from Connelly Law attorneys Lincoln C. Beauregard and Julie A. Kays and L.A. Law attorney Lawand Anderson are now available. We have posted the eight-page complaint below. The court has set a trial date for April 2018 though it seems clear things are playing out much more quickly around the suit. The plaintiff’s legal team is calling on the mayor to be available for questions within 90 days. “An early step in this lawsuit will be deposing Mr. Murray, which should occur within the first ninety (90) days of filing,” they write. “D.H. believes that it will be hard, if not nearly impossible for Mr. Murray to deny the abuse.” The full complaint is below:

According to the lawsuit, the victim told Murray he was 15 when the abuse began, underage by consent law in Washington now and at the time of the alleged abuse. The alleged victim said he is coming forward now because of the recent death of his father and because he is now undergoing counseling and participating in addiction-recovery programs, the Seattle Times reports. The statute of limitations to bring charges and investigate the allegations in a criminal case have expired.

The Times also documents two others who came forward previously with allegations of sexual abuse by Murray. A spokesperson for Murray said the mayor denies the accusations and “will vigorously fight the allegations in court” —

These false accusations are intended to damage a prominent elected official who has been a defender of vulnerable populations for decades. It is not a coincidence that this shakedown effort comes within weeks of the campaign filing deadline. These unsubstantiated assertions, dating back three decades, are categorically false. Mayor Murray has never engaged in an inappropriate relationship with any minor. The two older accusations were promoted by extreme right-wing antigay activists in the midst of the marriage equality campaign, and were thoroughly investigated and dismissed by both law enforcement authorities and the media. Mayor Murray will vigorously fight these allegations in court.

In addition to his quest to serve a second term as mayor, 2017 has been marked by Murray’s efforts to to push back on policies championed by the new Trump administration. In its most recent swipe, Murray has led the way for the City of Seattle to sue the administration over its threats to cut funding to so-called sanctuary cities.

After 18 years serving in the legislature in Olympia, Murray cruised to easy victory in November 2013 over incumbent Mike McGinn thanks in part to strong support on his home turf in the Capitol Hill neighborhood where the champion of LGBTQ civil rights has made his home since the ’80s. The Capitol Hill resident and Seattle’s first openly gay mayor launched his campaign with a big head start last summer in a party at big time political PR executive Roger Nyhus’s home near Volunteer Park. Murray has told CHS about his time as a tenant on Capitol Hill where he said he rented for 15 years before buying his North Capitol Hill home where he lives with spouse Michael Shiosaki.

The short statement was broadcast live via Facebook by several media organizations including Q13 Fox

The short statement was broadcast live via Facebook by several media organizations including Q13 Fox

UPDATE 4/7/17 3:02 PM: In an afternoon media conference, Murray said he will not step down and plans to continue his run for reelection calling the accusations “untrue allegations” that have been “very painful.” “I understand the individual is troubled,” Murray said of his accuser. “This makes me sad, too.”

Murray said the allegations are “are simply not true” but declined to take questions, saying the situation is a legal matter to handle in the courts.

“I will not back down now,” Murray said.

UPDATE 4/11/2017: The mayor’s legal team went on the offensive Tuesday releasing a medical report they say shows the case against Murray is bogus:

Speaking to reporters today, Murray’s lawyer, Bob Sulkin, said Murray’s longtime doctor examined him this morning and wrote the report. When asked whether the mayor would subject to another medical examination by a doctor who doesn’t know him, Sulkin said yes, if that was ordered by a judge. “We have to understand what the heart of the accuser’s allegation is,” Sulkin said. “It’s the detailing of Mayor Murray’s private anatomy. Sure, addresses and phone numbers are publicly available—not important. But this is the heart of the allegation.” Sulkin dismissed the other two accusers’ stories as “debunked.”

‘Contemporary furniture’ retailer Blu Dot opening showroom on Capitol Hill

Minimalist but friendly, Blu Dot is bringing one its few worldwide showrooms to an auto row building on Capitol Hill that has been home to furniture before.

CHS has learned that the Minneapolis-headquartered furniture, design, and lifestyle brand will open a Seattle showroom on the corner of Pine and Crawford Place in the Colman Automotive building that is currently a whir of construction activity for a seismic overhaul and tenant upgrades. The work will create the new Blu Dot store and a new restaurant project lined up to neighbor it as well as a rooftop bar. The building was the longtime home of original and vintage furniture concern Area 51.

There are currently only five Blu Dot showrooms around the world. The most recent addition opened in Chicago this winter. UPDATE: “Blu Dot currently has six stores in the U.S. and nine stores globally,” a company rep tells CHS. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Rock star data scientists and UX design writers at The Lab

It was a small but remarkable crowd that gathered inside a new venue on 15th Ave E on a mid-March Thursday night. It is not every night a group gathers to rub elbows and enjoy a drink with a rock star data scientist.

CHS visited The Lab last month during an appearance by Field Cady, data scientist at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. For $60, data science fans got a copy of his new book, The Data Science Handbook, and a special presentation and signing with the author. Your ticket also got you a drink to help loosen up the conversation about data analysis methodology and big data software. Party! Continue reading

After plan went ‘sideways,’ SDOT says will find a way to build E Union protected bike lanes

Protected bike lanes on E Union won’t fall through the cracks. Seattle Department of Transportation officials say they are working on a plan for adding a protected area on the busy street for riders after the upgrade dropped out of the Madison Bus Rapid Transit plan and was also left off the drawing board for the city’s Bike Master Plan “five-year” projects.

The plan for E Union’s protected bike lane addition “very plainly went sideways,” SDOT chief of staff Genesee Adkins said at Tuesday’s meeting of the Seattle City Council’s transportation committee as she introduced a session reviewing the department’s bike plan projects (PDF). Continue reading