I don’t have the resources the Herald has, and yet . . .

The Bham Herald admits sitting on - covering up - for months the headline story today about developer Rick Westerop being a Canadian felon and being barred from entry into the US. This was one of the stories I was going to inform you about when I had more confirmation of the facts. I don’t have the resources the Herald has.

The story leaves several questions unanswered. Where does Rick get all his development money now? Of the $18 million in drug money he was convicted of helping launder, how much of it was ever recovered? I have heard that millions are still not accounted for. How can a developer, who can put his hands on millions of dollars, not afford to defend himself? He says he plea bargained and now wishes he had defended himself. For all we know, the guy may have just been a sucker for easy money, and not a willing participant in laundering. So the question remains - where does he get his money now?

Our mayor Mark went to great pains to explain away the city’s close dealings with Rick. The explanations don’t wash. The city council and the mayor are in bed with Rick with sweet deals on downtown property. They have been hiding from us citizens that they are in business with a felon. This alone should be enough to replace Mark as mayor. The question is why the city - the mayor - was so quick to give Rick the fat contracts on downtown properties - without any competition. Gee, this can lead to more questions about our mayor. It would take investigative reporting to learn more. Don’t hold your breath.

The Herald appears to have finally run the story because the information was getting all over town. They could not keep the lid on it any longer. The Herald may not ever print another word of this. They do that - print one big story and never mention it again. Let it fade. They did it with the KAP scandal in 1991 - when Port of Bellingham staff and commissioners lost $4.2 million of our tax money to some Seattle flimflam guys. You don’t know about that? The Herald likes to protect local government officials - until it is impossible. We have a lot of local government corruption.

I’m sitting on two more scandals of local public officials. The police department public relations officer will not take my phone calls and will not call me back. I have questions about some incidents involving our police chief that need verification. As a citizen, I have no leverage. Local governments regularly violate the public disclosure laws when I ask for information. So, I’m just asking if my information is true of false. Maybe this will remind the police to return my phone call. Maybe I will just run with the info if they do not.

The Herald went easy on Rick. Their story paints him as the victim of injustice. They let the city off easy. It is not investigative reporting - most of it is quotes explaining away the scandal. No hard questions to the mayor or Rick. The Herald is ready to paint Tip Johnson as an undesirable person but convicted felon Rick Westerup as a misunderstood and maligned guy.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]