November 2010

Demanding Accountability

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Bend Family’s Real Estate Nightmare
Obama Mortgage Investigation
“Operation Stolen Dreams”
Falsely Targets Entrepreneurs?
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By Joseph Snook
& Edward Snook
Investigative Journalists

Sawyer Family
The Sawyer Family

Bend, Oregon – On October 21, 2010 a Federal Grand Jury in Eugene, Oregon handed down a lengthy Indictment against Kevin and Tamara (Tami) Sawyer of Bend, Oregon. The Indictment contains charges of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Wire Fraud, Bank Fraud, False Statements to a Financial Institution and Money Laundering.

It is reported Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Scott Bradford, attempted to coerce the Sawyer’s into a plea-bargain carrying a five year prison sentence – if you take the plea, I won’t prosecute your daughter.
The US~Observer’s initial investigation shows most, if not all of the Indictment to be a malicious attempt to ruin the Sawyer’s lives, due to the crash in the real estate market.


A Veteran Police Captain of 30 Years Forced to Retire

A booming real estate market coming to an abrupt end has meant more than just foreclosures for Tami Sawyer of Bend, Oregon. Like many people who placed their bets on real estate value increases for income, Tami did the same. Over the years, lenders joined her successful businesses by loaning money in hopes that the return would be as good as expected – as good as it had been for several years.

Tami Sawyer was very successful, not only with selling real estate, but with buying foreclosures and renovating them to sell for a profit. She was so successful that eventually friends and family wanted in on the business.
After years of profits, the “flipper” (buying and refurbishing fixer-homes, then selling for a profit) trend started to slow down and buying new construction became the next wave for Tami and her lenders. Builders were far behind schedule as the market was on fire, yet they were willing to lock-in at “today’s” prices. By the time the homes were completed, prices had risen by as much as 30 to 40% of their previous purchase price.

Tami Sawyer offered to cash out some lenders, but the income was so good that they wanted to remain vested, confident in her ability to grow their investment. Great amounts of money were earned and anyone who knows Bend, Oregon, knows that it was one of the fastest appreciating areas in the nation.

Most are aware, in early 2008, the real estate market took a turn for the worse. As home values in Bend began showing a sharp decrease in value, with sales dropping dramatically, and the banks refusal to renew development loans, some lenders panicked. Not knowing what the future held, coupled with investment decisions they had already made, some of Tami’s lenders began demanding their investments be returned. According to Sawyer, there were a couple lenders out of the fifteen involved that started filing lawsuits, contacting the local media, contacting the FBI, and ultimately forcing her husband Kevin Sawyer, a veteran Captain of 30 years with the Bend Police Department into an early retirement.

“Hansen is Only a Source” - Bulletin Reporter Sheila Miller

Martin Hansen
Bend Attorney Martin Hansen

According to a US~Observer source, Bend attorney Martin Hansen, who represents at least one of the lenders, began feeding questionable info to Bend Bulletin reporter, Sheila Miller. During a phone conversation with Miller, she stated to this reporter that she didn’t have any relationship with Hanson and that he was only a source for information. Our sources tell us that this is not the case.

In short order, the Bend Bulletin newspaper permanently ruined the Sawyer’s reputation with over 32 articles printed to date - all with your typical one-sided smear tactics and completely biased reporting, to say the least.

The Bend Bulletin articles were so damaging that they caused a severe financial strain on Tami’s businesses. Renters refused to pay rent, but continued to stay in Tami Sawyer’s homes and more lawsuits were reportedly filed against her by lenders who read the Bulletin articles. Tami stated, “The fictitious, one-sided reporting by the Bulletin has greatly affected my life and ability to work towards getting my lenders their money back.” Without the means to satisfy every demand from her lenders, Tami Sawyer began offering personal judgments in order to avoid costly lawsuits; however some lenders were unreasonable, continuing their suits.

If You Take the Plea I Won’t Indict Your Daughter – AUSA Scott Bradford

It didn’t take long for Bradford to enter into the real estate issues.

FBI investigator Rhonda Schantz began questioning everyone, as she attempted to manufacture a case against Kevin & Tami Sawyer. Recently, Bradford stated that he was going to indict the Sawyer’s daughter, regarding a loan she had received from Washington Mutual, if Tami and Kevin refused to accept a plea-bargain. At this juncture, Kevin Sawyer, who is usually calm and reserved, decided he’d had enough and contacted the US~Observer. Working his entire life in a profession where integrity and law was everything, it didn’t take Kevin long to see that the threatened indictment against his daughter for his plea, was a form of Blackmail.

The US~Observer’s cursory investigation shows that Tami Sawyer didn’t violate any laws. In fact, she hired CPA John Harrigan and two attorneys to make sure she was following the letter of the law with regards to how she ran her businesses. Sawyer’s former CPA John Harrigan, refused to answer questions during a mid-October phone conversation with this reporter.

Part of the “manufactured charges” against the Sawyers, deals with the Bend Bulletin reported “vacation” home the Sawyers built in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. According to page 5, item C of their indictment, the Sawyers used lenders money to pay for such things as “phone bills” and decorating their vacation home in Mexico. It is clear to the US~Observer that the Mexico property was built as an income property, not a vacation home. According to one source, the Sawyers were advised by former CPA John Harrigan that they could legally spend up to four weeks per-year at the income property in Mexico. According to the website, the “vacation” home appears to be a nice income producing property, which costs $1,200.00 per-day. According to the dates available chart on the website, it is clear that renters have been regularly staying in the Sawyers’ “vacation” home. Again, there is no question whatsoever that the home is rent-producing as opposed to “vacation.”

We should note that Scott Bradford is part of President Obama’s “Operation Stolen Dreams.” This operation is purported to be one that goes after fraud in the real estate market. However, the US~Observer has numerous cases where public officials supposedly going after fraud were in fact protecting fraudulent banks and loan officers as they went after innocent people. This appears to be the case with Tami and Kevin Sawyer.

Why Hasn’t Bradford Charged Menoni?

One of Tami’s former employees, Ondi Hibbs, who has been quoted many times in the Bend Bulletin, filed a lawsuit against Tami Sawyers main business entity Starboard LLC, just after she quit working for Tami. A counter-suit was subsequently filed by Tami Sawyer and Hibbs reportedly dropped her lawsuit. It is also reported that Ms. Hibbs has filed numerous lawsuits against citizens of Deschutes County over the years that were eventually dropped.

According to an Observer source, lender Ann Marie Whitney wanted her loan to be long-term (5 yrs.), given her knowledge that the real-estate market wasn’t stable. Tami Sawyer referred Whitney to David Rosell for investment advice. After the reported advice of Investment Analyst David Rosell, Ann Marie decided that it was in her best interest to loan money to Starboard LLC. Upon reading about the Sawyers in the Bend Bulletin, coupled with a crash in the Bend real-estate market, it was reported that Whitney became scared and filed a lawsuit.

According to an Observer source, Paris Menoni originally loaned $136,000.00 to Starboard LLC after she let her home go into foreclosure, according to our source’s records. The home Menoni reportedly let go into foreclosure was purchased for 775k and it is reported that Paris was only earning $1,600.00 per month, with a stated income of over $13,000.00 monthly at the time of her purchase. If so, why hasn’t Scott Bradford charged her for committing bank fraud or charged the bank for defrauding Menoni? Once she found out about the lawsuits against the Sawyers, she reportedly jumped in line to get in on the action.

Richard Russell, Paris’ ex-husband and one of Tami’s former lenders, loaned Starboard LLC $50,000.00. According to one source, Russell wanted his loan to stay in the real-estate market until his retirement, which was 3 to 4 years away at the time. It is also reported that Richard Russell and Paris Menoni sued the Sawyers at the same, using the same attorney, Claude Ingram.

David Redwine
Dr. David Redwine

One of Sawyer’s lenders who helped initiate the federal “manufactured” charges, Dr. David Redwine, Gynecologist, was recently issued a Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action by the Oregon Medical Board. According to the complaint, the Oregon Medical Board proposes to take disciplinary action pursuant to ORS.677.205 against Redwine, for violations of the Medical Practice Act, unprofessional or dishonorable conduct, and gross or repeated acts of negligence. Performing breast exams on patients in social settings, prescribing drugs to non-patients and a “sporadic” sexual relationship with a patient, were just a few of the alleged actions that Dr. Redwine is being held to account for. It is reported that once his construction costs for his new home were underestimated by hundreds of thousands, he began harassing Tami, demanding all of his money, when he reportedly knew it was tied up in real-estate that he had loaned on. This is allegedly the reason that Mr. Redwine filed his lawsuit against the Sawyers.

We have also received information that the Sawyers have put almost one million dollars of their own money back into the businesses since the market crashed in Bend. If Tami’s intention was to “steal” money from her lenders, why would she continue to issue personal judgments, pour her and her husband’s own funds into the businesses, still have the reported majority (11-15) of her lender’s support, and state that “bankruptcy is, but will never be an option”?

Anyone who has information about this case or the following individuals are urged to contact the US~Observer at 541-474-7885. CPA John Harrigan, Attorney Martin Hanson, Dr. David Redwine, Steve Wilson, Lori Maunder, AUSA Scott Bradford and Ondi Hibbs.

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