The owner of a local bail bonds business who last year was accused of illegal activity by the state insurance commissioner has been cleared of wrongdoing.
An administrative hearing judge ruled last week that Vancouver’s David Regan, owner of Regan Bail Bonds Inc., did not violate the law when he posted bonds without the backing of an insurance company.
The judge ruled that the case at hand was not an insurance issue, and therefore not under the jurisdiction of the state’s insurance commissioner. “The bail bonds at issue are not insurance transactions,” the final order document stated. “Regan did not engage in insurance without the required certificate of authority.”
The case stemmed from a complaint filed against Regan in July 2019, sparking an investigation from Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. In a cease-and-desist letter, Kreidler asserted that Regan Bail Bonds had been acting as a surety insurer without the proper credentials.
Regan, who at the time had been running for Vancouver City Council, countered that the complaint that spurred Kreidler’s investigation — which came from the owner of a nearby competing business, A+ Bail Bonds — was politically motivated.
“This is politically driven,” Regan told The Columbian at the time. “He knows I’m running for city council. He can’t stand it.”
Regan ultimately lost his city council race by a wide margin. The incumbent, Ty Stober, beat his challenger by about 30 points.
According to case documents, Regan sometimes posts bonds without the backing of an insurance company, instead using his business’s own assets as collateral. He posted 325 bonds using this practice.
It’s not an illegal way of posting bail, according to the ruling, although bail bondsmen often rely on insurance policies to pay when defendants fail to appear.
“Whether bonds are guaranteed by an insurance company, or by a bail bond company themselves … does not affect the defendant. A defendant is in the same position regardless of the nature of the bail bond posted to the court,” the final order document states. “It is up to the court to ensure that it only accepts bonds that abide by the court’s rules.”
Administrative Law Judge Terry Schuh ruled in Regan’s favor on Feb. 5. Kriedler’s office appealed the case, and Administrative Law Judge Julia Eisentrout upheld Schuh’s decision in a June 25 ruling.
In a media release Friday, Regan said he felt “grateful to be vindicated by the decisions of both judges.”