Excerpt from the letter of 8/15/96 dismissing my grievance against Judge Anderson, addressed to D.A. Schafer by Washington State Bar Association Disciplinary Counsel Julie Anne Shankland, who soon thereafter became Counsel/Clerk to the WSBA Disciplinary Board and is now Assistant General Counsel to the WSBA. The same day in 1996, she also sent me letters dismissing grievances against Anderson's law firm colleagues who all "fed at the trough" of the Hoffman Estate: lawyers Stephen W. Fisher, Sheri J. Fontana (a/k/a Sheri Van Sittert, then Judge Anderson's judicial assistant), Robyn L. Koppe (a/k/a Robyn A. Lindsay and Robyn L. Hoefel), and David R. Tuell, Jr. (WSBA File Nos. 96000433, 96000434, 96000435, and 96000436). Lawyer Richard L. Hoefel of the firm should also have been named, but was missed. Only the Anderson grievance (WSBA File Nos. 96000432) has been re-opened by the State Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, though I urged ODC on 2/23/99 to re-open each of them. [To view/download a scanned PDF image of Shankland's 8-page letter, click here.]
[From Page 4 of Julie Shankland's 8-page letter]
"[Y]ou have raised allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. We understand your grievance to allege misconduct by lawyer Anderson in his capacity as personal representative of the Hoffman Estate. Personal Representative Anderson had non-intervention powers and a duty to settle this estate as rapidly as possible, without sacrifice to the estate. Our investigation did not find any evidence that lawyer Anderson or any of his partners or friends benefitted from lawyer Anderson's actions as personal representative. It appears that lawyer Anderson determined that he could not find any other buyers for the last units [Surfside Inn timeshare units], consequently, he sold them to people he knew [DAS comment: namely, to his law firm colleagues, staff, and close friends for $1,000/unit though retail buyers had paid $3,625/unit a month earlier]." [Emphasis added.]
[From Page 5 of Julie Shankland's 8-page letter]
"Your state that Mr. Hamilton told you that Grant Anderson had been "milking an estate for years." You also state that Mr. Hamilton said that lawyer Anderson was giving him a good deal on Pacific Lanes, so he would "repay Anderson down the road by paying him by appointing him corporate secretary or something like that." [Misquoted.] You allege that Mr. Hamilton meant that lawyer Anderson had been using the Hoffman Estate for his own advantage for years. You also allege that Anderson was selling Pacific Lanes to Hamilton for less than market value.
"Mr. Hamilton agrees that he made the statements you attribute to him. He states, however, that you have misinterpreted those statements. Mr. Hamilton states that by "milking" the estate, he meant that lawyer Anderson was working hard to turn the estate assets into more profits than losses, and generate cash for the beneficiaries. Mr. Hamilton emphatically states that lawyer Anderson, to his knowledge, was not gaining any personal advantage from the estate. Mr Hamilton was also emphatic that he told you not to reveal any of these statements -- that he considered them to be secrets.
"Mr. Hamilton agrees that he told you that Pacific Lanes was a good deal -- but that he was only referring to the terms of the option. Originally, lawyer Anderson wanted Hamilton to purchase Pacific Lanes outright. Mr. Hamilton was only willing to lease the bowling alley, with an option to purchase. Lawyer Anderson agreed, and the deal was signed. Apparently, shortly after the original deal was signed, two major changes occurred: 1) the 90% beneficiary wanted the option exercised immediately; and 2) Mr Hamilton discovered a broken truss in the bowling alley roof. The alley is, apparently, constructed of wood with trusses running the entire length of the building. Additionally, the roof contained asbestos, which had previously been contained. The bowling alley had to be closed for a period of time, while the truss was repaired and the asbestos company re-contained. This, of course, was an expensive procedure. Initially, Mr. Hamilton's insurance company refused to cover this loss. Mr. Hamilton recently received a judgment against his insurance company for a portion of the expenses involved in the truss fix. Based on the significant problems with the bowling alley, a lower price was negotiated. The lower price was negotiated by [lawyer] Stephen Fisher [to whom Hamilton paid $15,000 for doing so], after lawyer Anderson had been elected to the bench." [Bracketed comments inserted by Doug Schafer]
[To view/download a scanned PDF image of Shankland's 8-page letter, click here.]