James J. Volk, dead

Posted May 30th, 2008 by Joe Kaiser

And three years later King County Treasurer Phil Sanders confiscated the funds.

Dear Rob,

Jim Volk passed away earlier this month.

He was in his mid-eighties and had no family, but he did have a few friends who took good care of him when he needed it most. He died penniless.

Well, not quite penniless . . .

Unpaid Taxes

On December 18, 1997, King County sold Jim’s property for unpaid taxes.

And while he lost the property, there was substantial bidding activity with the winning bid $66,408.83 more than what he owed. As you know, those “excess funds” are Jim’s to claim.

Except that, Jim didn’t. And three years later King County Treasurer Phil Sanders confiscated the funds.

Thanks Darryl

A couple years pass, and Jim’s friends discover the letter from King County about the money he’s owed. They do what anyone would do . . . hire him an attorney to claim the money from the county.

After all, it’s his money.

The attorney files a claim with the county in September, 2002 (the dates are important here), and the County’s attorney goes to work to figure out a way to keep from paying.

And then Darryl Pheasant steps in.

The Association

On February 18, 2003, Grant County Treasurer Darryl Pheasant sends out an email to the “Association,” the group of Washington State County Treasurers.

The email contains a bombshell . . . the Washington State Department of Revenue’s opinion letter from the Audit Manager of the Unclaimed Property Section stating counties must pay out overages whenever the rightful party makes a claim and that claimants like Jim may make their claims “in perpetuity.”

I have a copy of both the email to the county treasurers and the DOR opinion, and there’s no disputing that (1) King County Treasurer Phil Sanders was sent the email and (2) was sent the opinion letter.

Stripped of his money

What happens next?

In March 2003, just a month after King County received the DOR’s opinion letter stating unequivocally the funds are and always will be Jim’s, King County DENIES his claim.

And Jim’s friends, who’ve footed the attorney fees in an attempt to get him his money, decide there’s nothing more they can do.

Jim dies penniless

So, to be clear about the timeline . . .

  1. King County sells Jim’s property at their 1997 tax sale
  2. a $66,408.83 overage is created
  3. three years pass and the County claims the money as its own
  4. two years later Jim’s friends learn of the funds and hire an attorney to help him get his money
  5. Jim’s attorney files a claim with King County
  7. the County IGNORES the DOR’s opinion letter and DENIES Jim’s claim for the money he’s owed
  8. and Jim dies penniless.

Enough, King County

Will someone please tell Phil Sanders it’s not his money.

He’s done this now to Jim Volk and to Gordon Elliot and who knows how many other victims I discover by the time I’m finished with him.

And Rob, why is your office not putting an end to the county tax sale overage grab that happens annually right under your nose? I think Jim and Gordon and all the others like them are owed at least that much.

It is, after all, THEIR MONEY and clearly, as Phil has demonstrated time and time again, they need to be protected from this scam.

In the arena,

Joe Kaiser

5 Responses to: “James J. Volk, dead”

  1. DaveD responds:
    Posted: May 30th, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Joe, all I have to say is I’m shocked.

    Then again, not really.


    Enjoy you day in court. Do they have bleachers? I’ll bring my glove, and hope for an autograph on one of the horsehides you knock out of the park.

  2. Loya responds:
    Posted: May 31st, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Joe, you did it again. You show time and time again that it is ok for the county to keep surpluses but it is not ok for you. You have a contract that assigns the surplus to you and they have a directive telling them to give the surplus to the owners but keep it anyway…………

    Hmmmmmmm………..Who is going to look foolish in court??????

  3. Drew Hitt responds:
    Posted: June 1st, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Honestly Joe, that story makes for great television. A great news exclusive investigation. Kind of a Reverse Robin Hood situation. I know our local news would be all over the chance to humiliate someone.

    This might be a story that needs to be leaked and uncovered. It might bring to light other people who may be due money. Though that may hurt some peoples’ business, it would be pretty hiliarous to see numerous lawsuits against the cities for money owed before the law changed. A nice little Zinger…

  4. HSI responds:
    Posted: June 1st, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Joe, isn’t your one year anniversary for this blog today, June 1st? What a year it has been as the AG and staff along with the Washington State legislators only dig themselves deeper and deeper in this foreclosure rescue matter. Fast forward to next year, and wonder what will be?! They should learn from the following quote:

    It is a socialist idea that making profits is a vice; I consider the real vice is making losses. — Winston Churchill

  5. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: June 1st, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Yes, it’s been a whole year. Amazing that they’ve dug their hole that much deeper, apparently learning nothing.


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