Getting away with murder?

A Dangerous Con Man is Exposing a Massive Fraud

Part One of an Ongoing Series by the GBR

Involving Public Officials in Washington State

Pierce College, WA John Edward Pennington, Jr.

Seattle, WA, “I will never be charged with a crime because we have people in every position of government who will always protect me,” boasted John Pennington to his ex-mother-in-law, Linda Laughlin.

Yet despite his Ted Bundy old man looks, ability to manipulate people, and network of supporters in public office, professional con man and serial criminal John Edward Pennington Jr.’s life of attempted murder, child rape, and financial crimes may finally be coming to an end.

A decade-long effort to bring Mr. Pennington to justice has not only exposed his extensive criminal history, it continues to unravel a vast network of corruption by Washington public officials including the Bar Association, attorneys under contract with the State of Washington, the State’s insurers, and the Attorney General.

The tireless effort to bring Mr. Pennington and his supporters to justice has been led by Seattle-area Journalist Anne Block, J.D., who is also the publisher of the award-winning Gold Bar Reporter. Prior efforts of Ms. Block have resulted in the exposure of extensive corruption and the termination of several public employees.

In the process of exposing Mr. Pennington’s criminal activity and network of corruption associated with him, Ms. Block has been subject to death threats, harassment, retaliatory lawsuits and the illegal revocation of her law license by the Bar Association of the state she resides in – that has a duty to protect her rights.

Based on court records, however, attempts to intimidate Ms. Block have not only failed but served to redouble her conviction and efforts. The retaliation has also served to expose the people in the network who have supported Mr. Pennington, the way the network functions, and its broad range of criminal activities.

The progressive exposure of corruption involving Mr. Pennington and his associates has been in direct proportion to Ms. Block’s success. She has gained a growing national network of support, the attention of federal law enforcement, and the interest of the national press for violations of her First Amendment rights.

“Anne Block has exposed the largest criminal system involving public officials in the history of Washington State,” said federal appellate attorney John Scannell. “The entire Washington State RICO [racketeering] enterprise has been revealed as a result of Anne Block’s investigation of Pennington’s crimes.”

Ms. Block’s investigation of Mr. Pennington has in fact yielded a trail of crime across the nation. Mr. Pennington’s known crimes include serial rape, several domestic violence charges, forgery, fraud, serial child molestation and negligent homicide resulting in 43 deaths, – all of which Ms. Block has meticulously documented.

Among the carnage spanning decades, Ms. Block discovered that Mr. Pennington is the prime suspect in the kidnapping, rape and attempted murder of a five-year old girl in Cowlitz County, Washington. He is also a “person of interest” in the disappearance of several more children in at least four states.

Mr. Pennington’s domestic violence incidents include the brutal beating of an ex-wife while in her third trimester of pregnancy. A King County court-ordered psychiatric, Dr. Hedricks, evaluation of Mr. Pennington concluded that he is “a sociopath with no empathy for human life whatsoever.”

Mr. Pennington’s frauds include providing false credentials to secure former positions with FEMA, as Snohomish County, WA’s Director of Emergency Management, his current teaching job with Pierce College, WA, and recently his attempt to gain admission to a PhD. program in Alaska, which Ms. Block ended.

Regardless of his long history of criminal activity and being “…completely incapable of recognizing the value of human life,” according to the referenced psychiatric assessment, the serial con man’s rise to power began when he found an uncontested legislative seat in rural Washington State. It worked.

After he was elected, Mr. Pennington quickly leveraged his new position, his Ted Bundy sociopathy behavior of harassment and stalking with the State’s influential and powerful. Perhaps most notably, among his legislative peers and colleagues at the time was Washington State’s current Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Commissioner G. Geoffrey Gibbs, and Court of Appeals Justice Marlin Applewick.

Marlin Applewick, G. Geoffrey Gibbs, and John Edward Pennington Jr. were in the WA State Legislature, and had in fact been trafficking young under-aged girls for sex in Portland Oregon.

After being caught misrepresenting his residence, Mr. Pennington abandoned his seat in the Washington State Legislature. He again leveraged his former legislative position into an appointment as the Regional Director of FEMA – with false credentials, no experience, and no background check. It didn’t last.

Mr. Pennington was soon fired by FEMA for his personal use of federal government credit cards. Once again, however, Mr. Pennington used his former positions as State Legislator and subsequent FEMA Directorship to gain employment as Snohomish County, Washington’s Director of Emergency Management. County officials failed to check Mr. Pennington’s credentials, experience, and background.

The negligent hiring of Mr. Pennington by Snohomish County Officials would come with a high price. While acting Director of Emergency Management, Pennington had repeatedly been advised by several experts that the Oso, Washington area of Snohomish County, Washington should be evacuated. With his falsified credentials, and illegally distracted with personal business interests, Pennington failed to act.

Mr. Pennington’s failure to act resulted in the greatest loss of life from a landslide in U.S. history. As Mr. Pennington had been repeatedly advised by experts would occur, on March 22, 2014, a massive section of Oso, Washington collapsed into the Cowlitz river. 43 people were killed, with hundreds of other injuries to people and animals, in addition to the loss of 49 homes.

Mr. Pennington was nowhere to be found. He was finally contacted on the East Coast, where he was discovered to be illegally operating his privately-owned emergency management services company. As people were dying, Mr. Pennington refused to return to Washington State. He prohibited rescue operations from beginning – he wanted the spotlight. Three days later he returned.

“Having John Pennington – ‘a sociopath with no empathy for human life,’ according to the court’s psychiatric expert – in charge of Emergency Management for Snohomish County was like putting the Green River Killer in charge of a domestic violence shelter,” said Ms. Block of the Gold Bar Reporter. “Isn’t the real question for all of us ‘how is Pennington – literally – getting away with murder?’”

“Isn’t he responsible for having committed negligent homicide in the deaths of 43 people? Why isn’t Pennington being prosecuted for serial molestation and violent crimes? Why no prosecution for a series of frauds against the County, the State, and the Federal Government? Why isn’t he being prosecuted for the rape and attempted murder of that five-year old girl in Cowlitz County?” said Ms. Block.

Federal Court Documents confirm that Attorney Michael Kenyon and his Law Firm Kenyon Disend are active participants in an ongoing Criminal Enterprise.

One answer may be found in two words: Michael Kenyon. Mr. Kenyon, a friend of Mr. Pennington, was City Attorney for Kelso, WA at the time of Mr. Pennington’s alleged kidnapping, rape, and attempted murder of the five-year old girl. Two witnesses identified Mr. Pennington as the man whom they saw throw the child’s body over a rural bridge. They also identified his car. The case looked solid.

Under the jurisdiction of City Attorney Michael Kenyon, however, the rape kit disappeared. As Mr. Pennington was to assume office as a Legislator, Mr. Kenyon left his $43k job as City Attorney. He then received millions of dollars in contracts to provide legal services for State government agencies. Regardless of the evidence against Mr. Pennington, the rape and attempted murder were never prosecuted.

Ms. Block’s saga began with what she thought was a routine public records request to the City of Gold Bar. After noticing what appeared to be discrepancies in the accounting of the water district of her small municipality near Seattle, she asked for the records. The request was denied. What followed was a relentless quest for justice spanning a decade, ending with the exposure of the state-wide public fraud.

Although the records request was denied, however, it was subject to the State’s public records act. A practicing attorney at the time, Ms. Block persisted. As the denials continued, she published accounts of her efforts on her news publication, the Gold Bar Reporter. The articles were directly followed by a series of retaliatory acts from what appeared to be the City of Gold Bar and their attorneys.

It wasn’t. Behind the City of Gold Bar was the State’s insurer, the Assn. of WA Cities (AWC); the Dept. of Enterprise Services Risk Management Division (DES); the State Bar, a network of attorneys called SAAGs; and judges acting directly or indirectly at the behest of her State’s highest legal authority, Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The previously invisible network acted against Block at every turn.

“The way the State Attorney General (AG) has control of every citizen in Washington State as well as the state political system is simple: money,” said former chess champion and appellate attorney John Scannell. “The AG uses both state and federal money to control county prosecutors and judges, federal judges, the State Bar, AWC and a network of hundreds of private attorneys and law firms.”

“Public records requests over several years have uncovered how the AG makes illegal payouts to control the state. Contrary to State law the AG has County Prosecutors on both the State payroll and retirement systems. Although County Prosecutors aren’t allowed to hold outside employment, the AG hires them as ‘Special Assistant AGs, or SAAGs. It’s a direct conflict of interest,” said Mr. Scannell.

If Mr. Scannell presents a summary of the theory of Washington’s corruption, Ms. Block has experienced the reality. Directly after publishing accounts of how Mr. Pennington’s ex-wife and then Gold Bar Mayor Crystal Hill had stolen $200,000 from the City, a wave of retaliation followed. Without legal basis, the Washington State Bar Association issued a subpoena for the Gold Bar Reporter’s files.

As a legally recognized member of the press, Gold Bar Publisher Ms. Block refused. When she was abroad, the State Bar then illegally issued the subpoena. Ms. Block, who worked as a machinist through law school as a single mother, was summarily disbarred in absentia. The disbarment was made possible by Mr. Pennington and his ex-wife, who had bribed attorney and State Bar Disciplinary Officer Lin O’Dell.

Ms. O’Dell has a history of guardianship fraud involving the theft of several million dollars, ending with the State’s Guardianship Oversight Board prohibiting her from further involvement in guardianship cases. Although the State Bar has received dozens of well documented complaints of Ms. O’Dell’s fraud, and regardless of the Guardianship Board’s finding of theft, the Bar refuses to act against her. To this day, Ms. O’Dell is a member of the Washington Bar in good standing with no disciplinary history. Her daughter acts as her proxy in ongoing guardianship cases.

The retaliation against Ms. Block backfired. As it continued over the course of a decade, she made hundreds of public records requests related to those who were acting against her. Most records requests were illegally withheld, destroyed, or redacted. Ultimately, however, she was able to establish patterns of the people involved. A clear picture gradually emerged of the State’s machinery of corruption.

That machine, according to Ms. Block’s carefully documented evidence submitted in her court filings, is the same machinery that has allowed Mr. Pennington and many others to commit crimes without being held accountable. One cog in the RICO machine is the law firm of Mr. Pennington’s friend, Mr. Kenyon. His firm has engaged in an ongoing series of retaliation and coverups for Mr. Pennington.

Ms. Ann Marie Soto and Ms. Rachel Turpin, formerly of the Kenyon law firm have, in fact, routinely altered, redacted or destroyed documents in the federal crime database NCIC; tampered with and bribed federal witnesses; destroyed, alter or prevented state records from release; submitted false or altered records in several retaliatory legal actions against Ms. Block, and colluded with judges.

After Soto and Turpin left Kenyon Disend late last year, both started a new law practice and actively brag that Madrona Law is on the payroll of the Attorney General’s Office, acting as ” Special Assistant Attorney Generals” (SAAGs).

When finally unveiled, it became clear that the machinery that was protecting Mr. Pennington was an octopus-like RICO [racketeering] enterprise. The enterprise is fueled by two main sources of funding: a massive guardianship and probate fraud system, as well as state and federal funds. Near the center of it all is the State’s highest legal authority Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

The Washington State Bar Association is controlled by Attorney General Bob Ferguson,” said Mr. Scannell. Similarly disbarred by the State for refusing to violate attorney-client confidentiality, Mr. Scannell remains a respected Ninth Circuit appellate attorney. “Although the Bar repeatedly asserts its status as a private organization, the AG has the Bar Association on the payroll of the State,” he said.

State Bar management and staff are, in fact, being paid by the State’s Attorney General through the State retirement system, called PERS. The AG has also paid its network hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars through fraudulent tax refunds, SAAG contracts to hundreds of attorneys, as well as through speaking engagements and continuing education programs hosted by both state and federal judges.

Federal District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez

Receives Compensation from the WA State Bar

“The Bar’s violation of Anne Block and the Gold Bar Reporter’s First Amendment rights was only possible because the Bar’s disciplinary functions are combined with its professional association,” said Mr. Scannell. “Her case is a model example of why the Janus decision of the Supreme Court is so important. It’s critical to ensure the Constitutional rights of members of the legal profession and every citizen.”

 “Bob Ferguson’s crimes make Al Capone look like a Boy Scout. Capone never wore a mask of public service and virtue while stealing from the public and operating a criminal enterprise. Ferguson’s RICO steals billions from taxpayers and the federal government. It guarantees that anyone who is targeted will be denied their Constitutional right to due process,” said an inside source close to the case.

If Bob Ferguson and the State Bar are near the center of the RICO fraud, who is directing them? According to thousands of pages of evidence and testimony, Peter King, the CEO of the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) is directing the entire RICO enterprise. Invisible to the public but representing every Washington city and the State government itself, AWC collects billions in insurance premiums.

AWC CEO Peter King, is Alleged to Control a Multi-billion Dollar RICO

With those billions, Ms. Block asserts with extensive and remarkable documentation, Mr. King has managed to control state government and the judicial system. “The abuse of power is the abuse of money,” said attorney Scannell. AWC has absolute power because they have evolved with zero oversight and claim to have the privilege of being exempt from the public records act, which also insisting in court filings that they are a private organization.”

Under the pretext of ‘risk management,’ AWC has created a system that denies any Washington State citizen a fair and impartial court system. AWC directs the AG, the Bar, and the SAAG system that has every prosecutor and hundreds of attorneys and law firms on the state payroll.

“Now that the largest fraud in the history of the state is exposed, the implication of Anne Block’s case is huge,” said Mr. Scannell. “The reason is, these couldn’t be greater crimes, or greater abuses of public office. Given the amount of evidence that has been presented, if these people aren’t held accountable, we can all stop pretending we live under the rule of law. That’s really what Anne’s case means.”

Pierce College Chancellor Michele L. Johnson, Ph.D.

For his part, Mr. Pennington appears to continue to enjoy Washington State government job security and the protection of friends in high places. He currently teaches emergency management at Pierce College, Washington. Regardless of the evidence of Mr. Pennington’s false credentials and criminal activity, Chancellor Michele L. Johnson refuses to fire him. She declines to explain why.

Ironically, “Professor Pennington,” as he calls himself, teaches at Pierce College within a stone’s throw of the infamous Green River in Washington State, where the State’s most prolific serial killer was most active.

When Ms. Block contacted former Seattle Times reporter Emily Heffner to comment on one of her articles about the RICO fraud, all Ms. Heffner would say was “you need to move because they’re coming after you.”

She didn’t, and they did. And now Anne Block is coming after them.

Next in the Ongoing “Getting Away with Murder” Series: A Criminal LawyerWashington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Criminal Enterprise; State of Tyranny – Michael Kenyon’s Role in Washington State’s Criminal Enterprise; State of Tyranny – Shannon Ragonesi and Ann Marie Soto’s Role in Washington State’s Criminal Enterprise; The Men Behind the Curtain: How AWC’s Peter King and Harlan Stientjes Operate Washington State’s Largest Criminal Enterprise; and KINGPIN:  AWC’s Peter King, Washington State’s Teflon Don.

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