Attorney Alleges Fraud in Downtown Everett Courthouse Dealings

January 10, 2016

Downtown Everett, Everett


Brian Sullivan wants to re-open his law office at its original location.


A look at the buildings that now sit empty.

Everett attorney Brian M. Sullivan tells that he is submitting a fraud allegation to Snohomish County; seeking settlement for wrongly taken property for a failed Snohomish County courthouse project. Sullivan was one of several property owners on Rockefeller street in downtown Everett who faced eminent domain threats by the county and ended up selling their buildings to make way for construction of a new County Courthouse.

That project was killed by Snohomish County Executive John Lovick on September 1st of last year. Lovick blamed the City of Everett for the failure of the project to move forward.

In a press release issued late Friday night attorney Sullivan shared a letter outlining his allegations of fraud and asking Dave Somers, the new Snohomish County Executive and the Snohomish County Council for relief. Here are three excerpts from Sullivan’s letter…

1. Now, in the course of our representation of clients, we are daily reminded of the historic row of law firms and businesses that now are shut down, with plywood covering the windows of the historical law office buildings and legal support services offices leading litigants to the courthouse. Those buildings once proudly proclaimed to all litigants that services on par with any major metropolitan area were available to those in need, here in Snohomish County. The buildings have now become a blight on the County’s heart. Our County’s homeless now utilize the grounds as a make-shift camp site. We are consistently reminded by our peers that the degrading buildings are a shameful reminder of poor governance and the consequences of taking from private property owners without due diligence and transparency.

2. The former Executive’s office responded to our questions and concerns by misleading the County Council. Disingenuously, the property owners, as well as the Council, were told there were no significant issues, that due diligence was complete, and that the project would go forward without any major issues and within budget. Yet, the former Executive’s office knew better – or at least should have known better, given the information they had. The former Executive’s office must have known that they were running afoul of prior agreements with the City of Everett in regards to parking, not to mention code. Yet, they recklessly disregarded those contracts and codes and, for whatever reason, continued to mislead the City of Everett, the County Council, and the Property Owners.

3. One by one, we submitted to the government’s demand that we vacate our premises based on the County’s assurance that they had done their due diligence and that the project would break ground within months. In the end, our concerns had been spot on. The lack of sufficient parking would be an issue that would eventually scuttle the entire project. Some of the affected parties have already filed tort claim forms. Before we do so, we wanted to give the County the opportunity to make things right.

You can read the full letter to the County here…Property Owners Seek to Settle County’s Alleged Fraudulent Taking (1)

Somers has said he wants to meet with the County Council in the next couple of months to determine the best way to move forward on building a new new courthouse, a project that once was estimated at $75 Million dollars but rose in cost estimates to more than $160 Million dollars before the plug was pulled.

Other property owners who moved have also filed claims against Snohomish County over its use of eminent domain without ensuring the project would indeed go through.


About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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