Judge rules against Salmon Days ‘expression areas’

October 4, 2011

City and Salmon Days Festival officials could not prevent a man from distributing religious literature at the Oct. 1-2 festival, a federal judge ruled days before the event.

Paul Ascherl handed out more than 600 Christian tracts to festivalgoers on both days. The leafleting came after Judge Marsha J. Pechman ruled the “safety and congestion concerns” related to the Salmon Days leafleting ban “are likely speculative,” and issued a preliminary injunction to stop city and festival officials from enforcing the ban if Ascherl decided to distribute religious literature.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Ascherl said Issaquah police officers threatened to arrest him for handing out similar literature last year in places outside a pair of downtown “expression areas” on festival grounds. In the August lawsuit, attorneys said Ascherl, a Snoqualmie resident, relocated to the “expression areas” after police and a festival official intervened.

Issaquah officials created a city ordinance 11 years ago to address concerns about public safety as festival attendance climbed. In addition to banning leafleting in most areas at Salmon Days, the ordinance also prohibits protests, unscheduled entertainment or nonprofit activities outside of booths and designated areas. Officials also raised concerns about leaflets leading to additional litter.

In a Sept. 21 ruling, Pechman dismissed concerns about unscheduled activities as a cause for congestion.

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Judge rules against Salmon Days ‘expression areas’

September 27, 2011

NEW — 3:45 p.m. Sept. 27, 2011

City and Salmon Days Festival officials cannot prevent a man from distributing religious literature at the festival, a federal judge decided as she ruled against the event’s “expression areas.”

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle last month, Snoqualmie resident Paul Ascherl said Issaquah police officers threatened to arrest him for handing out Christian literature in places outside the pair of downtown “expression areas” on festival grounds last year. Ascherl relocated to the “expression areas” after police and a festival official intervened.

In a Sept. 21 ruling, Judge Marsha J. Pechman said the “safety and congestion concerns” related to the Salmon Days leafletting ban “are likely speculative,” and issued a preliminary injunction to prevent city and festival officials from stopping Ascherl if he distributes leaflets at the upcoming festival.

Salmon Days returns to Issaquah on Saturday and Sunday.

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Raising the bar: U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan hails from Issaquah

May 18, 2010

Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington, talks in her office at the federal courthouse in downtown Seattle about her role as the top federal prosecutor in the region. By Greg Farrar

The future U.S. attorney for Western Washington — the top federal prosecutor in the region — had a singular goal as a girl growing up in then-rural Issaquah.

“I always wanted to be a lawyer, from the time I was very, very young — grade school,” Jenny Durkan recalled. “When I was in grade school, my sister and I always used to talk about how we wanted to be lawyers, and I imagined being kind of a storefront-type lawyer.”

President Obama instead picked the daughter of influential state Sen. Martin Durkan for U.S. attorney last May.

Martin and Lorraine “Lolly” Durkan raised eight children near Lake Sammamish. Jenny Durkan stood out as the first girl to become a Sunset Elementary School safety patrol member.

Nationwide, 93 U.S. attorneys prosecute federal crimes and represent the federal government in their districts. Durkan works from a fifth-floor office at the postmodern courthouse in downtown Seattle.

“As my mother said when I graduated from law school, ‘Finally, someone is going to pay you to argue,’” she recalled. “I think I had a natural affinity for debate.”

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Issaquah salon owner sentenced to 13 months for injecting customers with phony Botox

January 19, 2010

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Bellevue beauty salon owner and Issaquah resident Xin “Faith” He to 13 months in prison last week. Authorities said He injected customers with counterfeit Botox and Restylane. Read more

Judge sentences Issaquah couple in mortgage fraud case

December 22, 2009

NEW — 2:58 p.m. Dec. 22, 2009

Issaquah real estate agent David Sobol and his wife, Alla Sobol, were sentenced to two years in prison for involvement in the largest mortgage-fraud case in state history, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced last week.

Agents arrested the Sobols and five others in late March after a wide-ranging investigation into a $47 million mortgage fraud scheme.

The leader in the mortgage scheme, Bellevue resident Vladislav Baydovskiy, was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

“You went from one scheme to the next,” U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said during the sentencing hearing. “When you saw regulators closing in you opened the next.”

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Issaquah couple plead guilty to mortgage fraud

October 13, 2009

The last of seven people charged in a $47 million mortgage fraud scheme pleaded guilty Oct. 2. Federal authorities said the scheme included Issaquah real estate agent David Sobol, 40, and his wife, Alla Sobol, 28. Read more

Issaquah real estate agent, wife face prison in mortgage fraud case

October 8, 2009

NEW — 11:15 p.m. Oct. 8, 2009

The last of seven people charged in a $47 million mortgage fraud scheme pleaded guilty Oct. 2. Federal authorities said the scheme included Issaquah real estate agent David Sobol, 40, and his wife, Alla Sobol, 28.

Agents arrested the Sobols and five others in late March after a wide-ranging investigation into the largest mortgage-fraud case in state history.

Federal Way resident Viktor Kobzar, 32, was the last defendant to plead guilty in the case. Kobzar pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Kobzar faces up to eight years in prison and up to $350,000 in fines when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman. Kobzar will be sentenced Jan. 8.

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