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Oct. 20, 2020

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Bankruptcy judge orders Tim Eyman to pay $270,000 in state court contempt fines by April 19

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Tim Eyman, the longtime anti-tax activist and initiative promoter, has until April 19 to pay $270,000 in fines and attorneys’ fees accrued for refusing to follow court orders in a Washington state campaign finance case.

The payment will be due as part of a new plan approved by a federal bankruptcy court judge. Eyman owes more than $340,000 in contempt sanctions and related costs and has paid about $60,000, according to a news release Thursday by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Sanctions continue to accrue. The new bankruptcy plan also will require Eyman to pay $10,000 a month starting in May and $13,500 a month starting in January 2022, until his debts have been satisfied, the attorney general said.

“This order reflects the significance of the contempt Tim Eyman has shown the court and public,” Ferguson said in his release. “Washington taxpayers will now get what they are owed for Tim Eyman’s illegal obstruction.”

The debts stem from a lawsuit Ferguson brought in Thurston County Superior Court. The allegations date to 2012. Ferguson says Eyman has spent years laundering political donations, accepting kickbacks and taking campaign donations for personal use. Eyman could ultimately owe more than $3 million in that case, the attorney general has said.

The judge in the Thurston County case has slapped Eyman and his company, Watchdog for Taxpayers, with contempt of court fines for not producing documents related to the matter. Eyman has been campaigning for governor as a Republican.

In an emailed statement, Eyman’s lawyer noted the bankruptcy judge’s payment-plan order didn’t deal with the merits of the Thurston County case.

“The court approved the plan submitted by Mr. Eyman … while reserving all of Mr. Eyman’s defenses against the state’s pending disputed lawsuit against him,” Richard Sanders wrote, blaming the contempt sanctions on Eyman being overwhelmed before he had a lawyer. “Those will still be resolved in the state courts.”

Eyman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, and his contempt fines have made the state his largest creditor. But The Seattle Times reported this year he had been spending nearly $24,000 on movies, meals out and numerous Starbucks cards, in addition to legal representations, according to his bankruptcy filings.

In an emailed statement, Eyman described the Thurston County case as a “campaign reporting dispute” and accused Ferguson of unjustly targeting him.

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