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Tim Eyman says AG blocking him from hiring any lawyer

I-976 sponsor Tim Eyman. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Washington state initiative aficionado Tim Eyman says that Attorney General Bob Ferguson has effectively stopped him from being able to have a lawyer in his bankruptcy case.

“They’re now not just satisfied going after me,” Eyman told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “They’re going after my wife, going after my supporters, and making sure I can’t have any legal counsel any step of the way.”

Eyman, who has been in a legal battle with the attorney general for years over the use of campaign funds, filed for bankruptcy in late November.

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The same week, he sent out a press release to local media outlets and supporters, titled, “BIZARRE TWIST: Ferguson fired my lawyer! AG is blocking me from being represented. I’m w/out legal counsel due to him. Court hearing Thurs & Fri.” He stated that the amount Ferguson sought would strip him of all of his assets, and that the “stress and strain and intense pressure from the escalating litigation” had ended his 25-year marriage.

In bankruptcy court, Eyman explained, you must seek permission to be represented by legal counsel. Ferguson’s office, Eyman said, opposed this counsel, stating that Eyman’s attorney is not competent enough to represent him.

“Their argument was, because he’s a sole practitioner, there’s simply no way he could possibly handle all the 35 depositions that they had scheduled, and all the motions, and all the tremendous amount of blizzards of stuff they were about to bombard me with,” said Eyman, who this week filed a motion in the Thurston County Superior Court asking that the attorney general’s request be denied.

Eyman, however, called his attorney, Joel Ard, a “brilliant attorney who would run rings around these guys,” and explained that he believes the attorney general’s actions to stop his lawyer actually stem from a fear of facing him in court. Eyman currently has counter-claims against Ferguson for abuse of power.

“If I’ve got a very, very talented attorney representing me, I can pursue that,” Eyman said. “Right now, I am neutered, I’m incapable of being able to do that — I have no legal counsel.”

Now, Eyman said, he is left to navigate his own way through the legal wordplay of the courtroom.

“I’m going to bankruptcy court on Thursday … to have to argue all sorts of stuff, and I don’t know what I’m doing,” he said.

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He has contacted attorney acquaintances who have represented him in the past, but he said that he is unable to find anyone willing to take on his case.

“No lawyer will touch me because they’ve all seen that, one, the state is absolutely bombarding me with absolutely everything, but second, they now know that [the state] can veto and block any lawyer from representing me,” Eyman said.

The block on legal counsel is not only about Ferguson’s own fear of counter-claims, Eyman said, but also about keeping Eyman from bringing forth initiatives that could cut tax revenue for the state, such as the $30 car tabs initiative on November’s ballot. In the lawsuit against Eyman, Ferguson is seeking a lifetime ban on political activity for Eyman.

“Ferguson is furious right now that the voters are actually going to be able to qualify this for the [ballot] … this entire [lawsuit] that he’s been laying on me is to prevent me from being able to do initiatives,” he said.


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