ACCUSATIONS CONNECTED TO GOLD BAR ATTORNEY
Updated with new information
September 11, 2012
Updated with new information as of 4:10 pm 9/11/12 from first report at 5:10 am 9/11/12. Updated with newer information 11/29/12
Internal Wikipedia document obtained by Sky Valley Chronicle showing Wiki user AnneBlock45 being banned forever from using the web resource for threatening legal action, then having posting privalages restored. CLICK TO OPEN
Internal Wikipedia document obtained by Chronicle showing that Anne K. Block page (one of two distinct pages) existed at Wikipedia and was deleted August 31, 2012. CLICK TO OPEN
HOW REPUTATIONS CAN BE DESTROYED IN MINUTES Click to open
DRAFT REPORT of claims filed by Anne K. Block of Gold Bar and results of those claims. File courtesy city of Gold Bar. CLICK TO OPEN AND READ
(MONROE, WA) -- An official from Wikipedia has confirmed that claims originating from someone alleging to be Gold Bar attorney Anne Block in an email threat to a newspaper, as well as blog postings regarding the matter, are false and that the newspaper was correct in its assertion that it sourced appropriately information about Ms. Block for a news story.
The story was printed August 29 and contained as a source, a reference to an Anne K. Block Wikipedia page that did exist on the popular website Wikipedia.
This despite persistent claims by a person claiming to be Ms. Block who has threatened to sue the Chronicle alleging the page never existed.
This is the fourth time in a matter of days that sensational charges contained in emails claiming to be from Block or charges placed on the attorney’s rumor and accusation filled blog in Gold Bar by persons unknown, have been labeled false.
The email charges have arrived in an email address (unsigned with no phone number or address attached) that appears to belong to the Gold Bar woman or is one that is under her control.
ACCUSER TAKES PAINS TO AVOID IDENTIFICATION
But precisely who is behind the threats and accusations in the emails to the Chronicle is difficult to say as the sender takes great pains to disguise who the person is behind the accusations; a strategy and tactic that appears to be very similar to, and one that is employed in abundance, in a review of accusations contained against various individuals on a blog site and Twitter account associated with Ms. Block ‘s control and/or ownership of same.
The person sending the email threats to the Chronicle appears, due to the pains taken to disguise identity, ashamed to have his or her name associated with making the threats and accusations.
Often on Ms. Block’s blog and Twitter account postings one will find a statement such as, “My sources inform me,” without ever identifying definitively who the “me” is in the statement, let alone any source names.
This is a very old strategy - sometimes employed in the military, politics and intelligence work - to disguise the identity of the person making the statement and to allow for “plausible deniability” should the person be accused of wrongful actions at a later date.
The deniability opportunity comes into play as the person under question can always claim that the “me” contained in the statement must have been made by others who had access to the computer on which the statement was written.
The strategy is, among other things, a way a cowardly person may make continual threats and accusations while simultaneously avoiding being held responsible for the acts or facing the public embarrassment of being acknowledged as the person who made such accusations.
It is, in effect, a way of always operating in the shadows so as to avoid personal responsibility.
ACCUSER NEVER USES TELEPHONE
Also of interest is that the accuser that has made threats and accusations against the Sky Valley Chronicle, claiming to be Gold Bar attorney Anne K. Block, always uses unsigned emails with no physical address or phone number attached, never sends a letter in the mail signed and dated on company letterhead that contains an address and office phone and never sends the threats and accusations via phone call where the accuser’s voice might be recorded and a phone number captured.
This consistent mode of concealed identity contact suggests the sender is fearful of being identified and held responsible.
On Sept. 8 the Sky Valley Chronicle ran a story quoting Gold Bar Mayor Joe Beavers as saying an allegation carried on the attorney’s blog that Mr. Beavers was a “ghost writer” for the Sky Valley Chronicle was “blatantly false.”
“Your article reported claims that I ghostwrite for the Chronicle. I do not ghostwrite for the Chronicle. I do send out press releases on subjects of community interest to the Chronicle…I also respond to various media requests and interviews at times. I do not ghostwrite for NPR, KIRO, or KOMO, or Reuters, etc. So, let us put that blatantly false statement to rest,” said Beavers in a note to the Chronicle.
In addition Mayor Beavers told the Chronicle during a Sept. 7, 2012 phone interview that Ms. Block simply, “Makes stuff up out of thin air and prints it.”
The attorney’s blog carried another untrue charge, also unsigned and unconfirmed by the accuser so that it could not be traced to the maker, that a former Gold Bar Mayor, Crystal Hill, was a ghostwriter for the paper. Ms. Hill left her job and the area several years ago after she claimed her reputation was brutally assaulted and maligned in online postings by a person or persons who never identified themselves.
This charge concerning Hill writing for the paper is a false charge as well and one offered without sourcing or documentation, as are many of the bombastic and often wild and at times strange claims associated with the attorney which include allegations of multiple death threats against her life with no proof offered that such threats ever were made.
THREATS AND COMPARISON TO CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER
In addition Ms. Block, the Chronicle has learned, has a record of threatening lawsuits and other actions over people and situations that displease her.
The attorney has likened herself to a crusading Martin Luther King Jr., and once told a newspaper she is being persecuted by persons not mentioned by name for her work in rooting out “corruption” in government.
Ms. Block’s rooting appears to have, according to Gold Bar Mayor Joe Beavers, virtually bankrupted the small town through numerous public records requests – a cost that is born by each taxpayer in the community.
Threats however seem to be the best of tools in a Block arsenal that appears low on firepower and results. A review of the attorney's record in court filings since 2009 by the Chronicle shows that Ms. Block loses, eventually, most every court action she files.
NOTE: For a closer examination of Ms. Block’s effectiveness as a lawyer at filing claims in court against others, see the addendum at the bottom of this report.
The attorney also appears to be highly selective in her filings, going almost exclusively after “low hanging fruit” which cost the attorney little in time and treasure – as in repeated claims against government entities, such as public records requests where she files not as a legal firm or lawyer but as a private citizen and where virtually all major costs – often substantial costs to a small community such as Gold Bar – are born by the taxpayers, not the filer.
Such filings cost anyone – attorney or not – little in time, energy and resources and pose little to no “downside” risk to the filer and thus there is no “skin in the game,” as the saying goes.
HOW TARGETS ARE CHOSEN: LOW HANGING FRUIT
Conversely the attorney, according to a record of filings since 2009, avoids filing lawsuits, particularly lawsuits of libel and defamation against individuals and businesses that would be allowed by law to vigorously fight back in ways that governments cannot when dealing with common records requests and other such filings from private citizens and in addition would cost the filer much in time and treasure to pursue with no guarantee the filer would achieve success after such an investment.
In private lawsuits filed against a business or individual, the restraints governments must follow in dealing with citizens filing simple records requests as private individuals – termed “kid gloves” by one observer - would not exist, for the most part with private parties being sued who would be allowed to launch a vigorous, sustained and unrelenting attack of the type and nature that governments cannot in the case of records requests filed by private citizens.
One analogy might be a large, bully teenager picking on a smaller elementary aged school child knowing that the child has few resources with which to to fight back, and indeed is restrained from doing so for many reasons, and thus almost certainly could inflict no damage upon the much larger attacker in a physical confrontation.
This then would be a situation in which the attacker could easily achieve success through little effort invested via a careful victim and circumstance selection process.
This appears, according to the record reviewed by the Chronicle going back to 2009, to be Ms. Block's preferred mode of operation -- low hanging, easily available, low cost fruit for the picking (usually public records requests) in a carefully selected target and circumstance strategy where she usually can control much of the outcome with very little investment in time or treasure.
Note: to see how this low hanging fruit, no investment, no risk strategy can work in other ways – such as destroying a person’s good name and reputation with a few key strokes – click on the third icon down from top right labeled HOW REPUTATIONS CAN BE DESTROYED IN MINUTES.
WIKIPEDIA OFFICIALS SAY CHARGES UNTRUE
Regarding the Wikipedia charge, it has been alleged by someone claiming to be Ms. Block, in a threatening email to a newspaper demanding a story retraction, that a newspaper, the Sky Valley Chronicle could not possibly have used a Wikipedia page called Anne K. Block as a source of information for a story published August 29 since such a page never allegedly existed -- implication being that the newspaper must have made up the source.
The writer demanded a “front page retraction.” None was given, none will be forthcoming. The paper demanded an apology from the person claiming to be Block for the threatening communication that was “a clear attempt – based on a lie - to extort a retraction from this newspaper when one was not due.”
In addition the paper informed the writer that if the writer bothered the paper with more such nonsense it would bill the writer the paper’s standard “nuisance fee rate of $250 per hour for each hour (billed in quarter hour minimums) that we have to use dealing with it -- plus of course any attorney’s fees and related out of pocket costs that might occur, as compensation for any of our valuable time,” and in the event such billings would go unpaid the account would be turned over to a collection agency.
According to a letter from Wikipedia official Joseph Fox that was sent to the Sky Valley Chronicle:
~ “There was indeed a page called "Anne K. Block", deleted on August 31" (reference https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Log&page=Anne_K._Block)
~ "As well as an "Anne Block", deleted on September 6," (reference https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php? title=Special:Log&page=Anne_Block).
In addition Wikipedia internal documents show a quite lively discussion between Wikipedia officials and a Wiki user-poster identified as AnneBlock45 - which Wikipedia officials, according to the documents reviewed, appeared to believe was attorney Anne Block of Gold Bar, Washington.
This discussion continued from August past the date in September when the threatening email was delivered to the newspaper claiming the Wikipedia page on Block never existed.
The various internal Wikipedia documents reviewed by the Chronicle with the assistance of an IT professional offer substantial and credible documentation to conclude that if the writer that threatened legal action against the Chronicle - claiming to be Anne Block of Gold Bar - was the same AnneBlock45 that was fighting Wikipedia to have that page removed, which indeed Wikipedia officials believed to be Anne Block of Gold Bar, then the writer to the Chronicle knew full well that the assertion he or she was making was untrue before it was made.
ANNEBLOCK45 BANNED FROM WIKIPEDIA FOR MAKING THREATS OF LEGAL ACTION
Later allowed back after writer withdraws threat
At one point in the discussions between AnneBlock45, according to the Wiki internal documents the Chronicle has reviewed, AnneBlock45 was banned from using Wikipedia forever (see screen shot of the Wikipedia ban document above) after the writer threatened legal action against Wikipedia, presumably for Wikipedia not yielding to the writer’s demands.
Once the writer realized she would never again have access to Wikipedia, the writer took back the threat of a lawsuit and was then allowed to use the web source again as Wiki officials unblocked the writer AnneBlock45.
Wikipedia has a policy. A user can use the web resource or threaten to use or employ legal action against the company, but a user cannot do both at the same time.
Wikipedia's internal documents, the Chronicle has discovered, also contained a stern warning to user AnneBlock45 to stop vandalizing, Wikipedia's term, a Wiki page – the page that writer AnneBlock45 was fighting to get removed from Wikipedia as it displeased the writer, a page that had been placed there by another Wiki user.
The page, that appeared to be all or mostly properly sourced information about Anne K. Block of Gold Bar, Washington – things like newspaper articles about Block, her court filings, notations about her poor performance record in legal filings and a link to information about a personal bankruptcy filing - was eventually pulled down after, it appears, Wikipedia officials – while not ruling on the validity of the items mentioned and the sourcing included by the page's producer – determined that the page was an “attack” page against Ms. Block and should be removed for that reason as well as others.
In reading the documents one of those “other” reasons appears to be Wikipedia officials were simply weary of the back and forth fight on the issue and the time invested and simply wanted to get it off their plate and move on to other more important matters.
Since the attorney from Gold Bar is a member of the Washington State Bar Association which has rules governing professional conduct, which may be found here , the Chronicle has commenced a review of activities that began with the first threatening email received by the paper, and other actions that followed, to determine if a formal complaint should be filed to the bar association regarding Ms. Block’s professional conduct in this matter.
WASH. STATE BAR ASSOCIATION URGED TO ACT INDEPENDENTLY
The Chronicle encourages the bar association’s disciplinary committee to initiate its own review of Ms. Block's professional conduct, based not solely on this incident but many others over the past several years that are connected in one or way or another to the bombastic attorney and the blog and twitter accounts she controls -- a blog described by one newspaper as a “hotbed of rumors and accusations,” which in itself may represent conduct unbecoming a bar member as Ms. Block appears to be the only bar member in Washington State to be engaged in such sketchy conduct.
The Chronicle believes there is sufficient, readily available documentation to warrant the bar taking a close look, at the very least, at the type of public, professional conduct Ms. Block appears to regularly and eagerly engage in, and has been engaged in since moving to Washington from Massachusetts in 2006, and that behavior’s relationship to the shadow such conduct casts upon the bar and the association’s members, not to mention the public’s trust and confidence in the legal and judicial systems.
From the perspective the Chronicle has, which appears to be a view shared by some or many private citizens in the area who have been on the receiving end of Ms. Block's wrath and very public antics - antics which often include threats of one sort of another - the attorney from Gold Bar appears to us and perhaps others to be an emotionally and professionally out of control one-person wrecking ball that is consistently dismantling over time the public’s trust in the legal profession and judicial system as well as the reputations of both the bar as a public institution and its members.
ADDENDUM: ANNE K. BLOCK’S RECORD OF WINNING CLAIMS FILED SINCE 2009
See PDF file at upper right, 4th icon down which lists results of some of the major legal actions attorney Anne K. Block of Gold Bar has been involved with since 2009, updated as of Sept. 4, 2012. (File, labeled draft report courtesy city of Gold Bar).
Note that in Ms. Block’s recall effort against Gold Bar Mayor Joe Beavers in Snohomish County Superior Court that all 9 charges Block filed in November 2011 were found to be “factually and legally insufficient,” and in one filed in March of this year, “All charges found to be factually and legally insufficient.”
In another recall effort against the mayor filed in May of this year, Block withdrew her petition.
Out of 13 claims filed against either Mayor Beavers or the city of Gold Bar or a Gold Bar City councilperson, only one is still in process and one is on appeal.
The others Block either lost or voluntarily withdrew her claim or withdrew her appeal.
That means there are two claims remaining unresolved at this time.
Of the other eleven, Block’s record of success is no wins, 11 losses effectively.
In one non-Gold Bar city related claim on the list, a tort claim Block filed in August 2010, was denied by the insurance carrier RMSA.
This makes Ms. Block’s record out of 12 tries up at bat (in baseball terms) no hits and 12 strikeouts at the plate or a record of 0-and-12.
Update 11/29/12 to this addendum: As noted above, at the time this story was written, out of 13 claims filed against either Mayor Beavers or the city of Gold Bar or a Gold Bar City councilperson, by either Anne Block or an associate, only one was still in process and one was on appeal.
The issue that was on appeal, a matter of a complaint filed on May 17, 2010 over earlier public records requests made by Gold Bar resident Susan Forbes, was decided by the Washington State Court of appeals this month in favor of the City of Gold Bar.
An appellate court decision dated Nov. 13, 2012 affirmed and upheld an earlier trial court judge’s summary judgment dismissal of the case against Gold Bar.
Forbes had alleged in the suit that the city had violated the Public Records Act (PRA), Chapter 42.56 because the city had “failed to respond to her requests for public records.”
The appellate court ruled that city officials had gone to great lengths to accommodate Ms. Forbes request in a timely fashion and communicated with her extensively as to the progress they were making in fulfilling her requests.
Read the full story on that here
This means that of the 13 legal claims filed by either Ms. Block or an associate, the city’s record now stands at a “baseball record” of 13-and-0.
Thirteen wins for the city of Gold Bar – taking into account outright court case wins or the plaintiffs simply dropping claims that had been filed –and all losses for a small group of residents who have filed action after action against the city alleging wrongdoing.
TAGS: Anne Block, cyber stalking, Gold Bar