Waiting to Exhale

Posted October 18th, 2007 by Joe Kaiser

She's asked me to contact you and request that Pierce County give her back her money, or at least some part of it.

Dear Rob,

One thing I promised Mallia Marie was that I’d contact Bob Dick at Pierce County to see if they’d be willing to give back the money that should have gone to her.

Robert “Bob” Dick
Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor

It’s no small matter, $162,024.16.

And while the law does not appear to impose an obligation on Pierce County to attempt to locate her and tell her about the money, I believe the county had a moral duty to do so.

Their target group

Your office alleges I target the poor and elderly. Wondering out loud here . . . do you suppose Mallia Marie fits into that group?

Of course she does.

She’s 79, living on nothing but her social security income, and has little or no savings left. That money from the tax sale of her property represents everything she has.

It’s my view, and the view of everyone I’ve talked to about this case, that it was extraordinarly unfair for the county to not make an equally extraordinary effort to locate her and let her know of the funds.

Certainly, when they want to find someone, they can.

Emailing Bob

I’ve sent Bob the following email to ask, on behalf of Mallia Marie, that the county return her money to her.

It seems only fair . . .

Robert Dick,
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

Dear Bob,

You may recall that Eize and Mallia B. lost their property in the 1996 Pierce County tax sale, handled by your office.

The reason you may recall is the $162,026.14 overage that was not only created at the sale, but was subsequently transferred to the county expense fund when the B.’s three year window to claim the funds expired.

Mallia is 79 years old, now widowed, and living solely on social security income.

She believes someone from the county should have told her about the overage and instructed her on how to claim it. She’s never been difficult to locate, having had a listed telephone number in her own name during the entire time in question.

She’s asked me to contact you and request that Pierce County give her back her money, or at least some part of it. You should understand that it means the world to her and represents what would have been their entire life’s savings.

Please advise of the county’s intentions with regard to giving her back her money so I can let her know. She’s waiting to hear from me. Thank you.

Joe Kaiser

Again, I wouldn’t hold my breath, but at least we’ll learn of their decision so I can let Mallia Marie know.

She could really use the money.

It was, after all, hers.

In the arena,

Joe Kaiser

5 Responses to: “Waiting to Exhale”

  1. Lyal responds:
    Posted: October 18th, 2007 at 5:23 am

    As I recall, the county had no problem contacting former owners of property that you had purchased and let go to auction to inform them that the money was “rightfully theirs”.
    How can they justify not making the same effort in this case for such a large amounty of money (hmmm…… I may have just answered my own question there….)

  2. Loya responds:
    Posted: October 18th, 2007 at 7:50 am

    The State of Washington has a law on the books that allows money to be held for people just like this. And it just sits in the state’s account until the person claims it. Why is the county keeping her money? It is not the county’s money. Something is rotten in Denmark here. The jury is going to like this one!

  3. anemonehead responds:
    Posted: October 18th, 2007 at 12:16 pm


    Surely the social Valhalla of Pierce County Washington can find it in their collective heart to return the widow’s funds. That 162K is mearly a drop in the bucket compared to the county’s 2007 budget.

    Heck, King County found $11,200,000.00 just to finance this little project which I’m sure doesn’t include ongoing overhead.

    What’s more important Joe, giving funds, her entire nest egg, back to the rightful owner, someone who worked hard all her life, played by the rules and was a good citizen who now finds herself barely able to subside on a “social security” stipend or making sure that unrepentent, unrehabilitatable, hard core, worst case alcohlics have a safe, secure and confortable place to continue their destructive behaviour?

  4. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: October 18th, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    What do you suppose would have happened had I bought Mallia Marie’s property, let it continue on to the tax sale, and submitted an application to claim my overage funds?

    Do you suppose they’ve have had any trouble finding her to tell her, “the law says it’s your money?”

    Yes, 11 times out of 10 that happens here, and believe me, I know.


  5. Davido responds:
    Posted: October 19th, 2007 at 9:01 am

    Hello Anemonehead, excellent post. Thanks for the Seattle Times link.

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