THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

More ethics problems overlooked by Oregon State Bar?

In two editorials in THE BEE, in July of 2015 and March of 2016, we reported on inadequate response by the Oregon State Bar to attorney violations of legal ethics, as called to our attention by Sellwood-Westmoreland attorney Bill Henderson.

The previous reporting has led to a national legal ethics reporter, Stephanie Volin, to submit to THE BEE the results of her own investigation of the Oregon State Bar’s response to Saudi Arabian students charged with crimes in Oregon, and represented by attorney Ginger Mooney of Hood River, when the students disappeared from Oregon before trial.

THE BEE publishes the result of her investigation in the interest of justice. Here is her report.

_________________________

Two and a half years ago, Fallon Smart, an Oregon high school student enjoying the last days of summer, was struck by a car driven by Abdulrahman Noorah, a college student in the United States, from Saudi Arabia.

Fallon died at the scene in the S.E. Hawthorne Boulevard area, surrounded by some of her family. Noorah was charged with Manslaughter in the First Degree.

Less than a year later, Noorah, who was out on bail but monitored by an ankle bracelet, disappeared from Oregon, and will never face justice administered by the courts of our country. Somehow, the system failed Fallon, her family, and the public.

In January of 2019, news emerged that a single attorney – Ginger Mooney of Hood River – had defended Noorah, and several other Saudi students who also fled while facing legal proceedings. Due to the media attention surrounding that revelation, a multi-agency government investigation began, to determine if the Saudi government had abetted the students’ disappearances.

The answer, of course, is yes. Who else would be able to provide new passports and identities, so that the men could board commercial flights back to their own country? Who else would even want to do that?

There is another question that is even more urgent, which nobody in the media or conducting the investigation has publicly asked: Exactly who in our country helped these students escape?

It’s a question that Fallon’s stepmother, Tiffany Quincy, who lives in Southwest Portland, wants answered as well. “There is a lot of attention on how the Saudi government is allowed to shuttle their citizens out of the U.S., and how appalling it is. Why is there not just as much disgust for the fact that American citizens are helping them do it? The Saudis can’t do it without help. [Mooney] knows something; why isn’t anyone doing something about it?”

As it happens, the records in Noorah’s case, and the others that Ginger Mooney defended, themselves offer up many surprising clues.

Strange signatures
A day after his arrest, Noorah signed the last page of a “Motion for Release”. This signature is presumably authentic, as it was

Shortly thereafter, a second signature appeared, which bore little resemblance to the first. Five more would follow, including one on a “Waiver of Extradition”, all of which were filed with the court. These five did not resemble the authentic first signature at all – and only slightly resembled the second.

A State and Federal Court certified translator from New York, who also creates tutorials on the Arabic alphabet (and who wishes not to be identified), told this reporter, “It’s not the same signature at all. Personal signatures usually match totally every time. These don’t.”

However, what these incompatible signatures did resemble – strangely – was the signature of another of Mooney’s clients, Abdulaziz Al Duways, who was facing charges of Rape and Sexual Abuse in Polk County, just west of Salem, nearly two years earlier.

“Noorah’s and Al Duways’ signatures look curiously similar,” the translator continued, “although some differences can be found… It’s hard to tell if they’re signed by one person, or by two different persons. Both possibilities exist.”

If these similar signatures were indeed inauthentic, it is possible that an unknown signer was providing signatures for Mooney to file – to make it appear that the defendants were still in the country?

Unclaimed bail money
In Oregon, all defendants facing charges short of murder or treason are eligible to be released on bail. In Noorah’s case, there were many ups and downs regarding the setting of bail, otherwise known as “security”. Finally, though, the amount was set at $1 million.

The Saudi government then paid, through Mooney, a 10% “surety” for the full amount. That is, they paid $100,000 for Noorah’s release from jail.

Under Oregon statutes, once a defendant has “failed to appear” – as nearly all of Mooney’s Saudi student clients did – the court “shall enter an order declaring the entire security amount be forfeited.”

That meant that, in Noorah’s case, that after he fled, the judge should have ordered the Saudis to pay the full amount of $1 million. In Al Duways’ case, the judge should have ordered the Saudis to pay the full amount of $500,000.

And in a third Mooney case – a child pornography charge against Waleed Alharthi, in Benton County – the judge should have ordered the Saudis to pay the full amount of $500,000.

Incredibly, though, only in Benton County did the judge order a bail forfeiture – and then only for the 10% surety, rather than the full bail amount. That is, $50,000, instead of $500,000.

Even more peculiarly, the judges in Polk and Multnomah Counties failed to order any forfeiture at all – not even the 10% surety. That money cannot be forfeited by just checking a box on a bench warrant. It’s a statutory process, that strangely neither court followed.

Sealed record
The record of actions in Noorah’s case is a hard-to-follow jumble – especially early on, and likely by design. It’s not much of a “record” if nobody can follow it later.

Adding to the confusion was a protective order in September of 2016, mutually agreed to by the parties, which sealed any future “Close Street Supervision Reports”. Those reports were the means through which Noorah was to be monitored after his release.

The order – written by Mooney – stated that “implicit and explicit violent threats have been made publicly and privately against” Noorah, and that sealing the reports was necessary “for the safety of Defendant”.

Those records remain sealed today – even to Tiffany Quincy and her husband, Fallon’s father – despite the fact that Noorah’s flight from Oregon justice concluded all imminent risk or danger to him.

Ms. Quincy has lingering questions about Noorah’s supervision, and how nobody was apparently monitoring him on the day he fled. “He was classified as an extreme flight risk. They assured us that people were monitoring him around the clock. But they weren’t.”

Mooney hired her own attorney
Shortly after the news first broke about Mooney’s involvement in these Saudi student cases, she made the dramatic announcement that she was temporarily “shuttering” her office in Hood River, allegedly due to dozens of terrifying threats triggered by the national media attention.

In a January 2019 telephone call, which Mooney made to the Hood River’s Sheriff and Police dispatcher, she was crying as she described these alleged threats – yet she seemed, strangely, more concerned about receiving protection for her office, than for herself or her home, which was where she was calling from.

Three more phone calls to police from Mooney would follow in January. In one, she claimed that her attorney, Allison Rhodes, was also receiving death threats, and that the FBI was investigating.

It would be very risky for Mooney to manufacture material to support false claims of “threats” and “danger,” especially when dealing with the FBI. However, claims of “threats” and “danger” did get records sealed in Noorah’s case. Was that Mooney’s plan for her own office, where evidence of criminal conduct could possibly exist? Was “shuttering her office” code for an anticipated visit from Federal authorities?

Neither Mooney nor Rhodes would comment for this article; but Mooney has previously denied any personal criminal wrongdoing in the Saudi student cases.

The public deserves to know what really happened in these cases. It’s too easy to be angry only with the Saudi government, who are simply acting the way they and other countries generally do when their citizens get into trouble in other countries.

__________________________

This investigative report was written by Stephanie Volin-McNett, a freelance writer based in New Jersey, who writes on matters that affect Oregon and its legal community, such as attorney ethics, and corruption in the judiciary and the state bar.


Letters to the Editor

Cyclamen plants rescued in Westmoreland

Editor,

Hardy cyclamen plants are hard to find now (see posting on Portland Nursery website). But Sellwood resident Sena Moe grew them at 7401 S.E. 13th Street, where they naturalized and spread through her lawn over the years. Sena bought her home in 1934, and lived there until her death in 1998. Since I moved to Sellwood in 1990, I have enjoyed seeing the small pink flowers carpet her front yard each Fall.

When I noticed the home being sold this Spring, I watched until the workmen began to cut down the trees, preparing for redevelopment of the lot. Then, I checked with the family (brother and niece), and got permission to remove as many cyclamen as could be used for Betsy Stevenson’s annual Nehalem Street Plant Exchange on April 14. Betsy and I rescued several trays of the flat-stone-like tubers, some as big as dinner plates. Happy gardeners took them home from the plant exchange this year, grateful to Sena Moe for starting them in her garden.

Ms. Moe’s brother, Sellwood resident Peter Neketin, told me that his sister was a “wild and crazy gardener”, who owned a restaurant in Milwaukie at one time. He recalled staying at his sister’s house, sleeping on what was once an enclosed front porch, and hearing the trolley screech around that bend from Bybee to 13th [across from Portland Memorial], as it passed in the night.  He sent off the flowers with fond memories of his older sister.

Cindy Barrett
via e-mail

Traffic calming skeptic

Editor,

Forgive me, this is the first time I have ever written THE BEE, or a newspaper.

I live on Linn Street between S.E. 13th and S.E. 17th.  Currently, Linn Street has speed bumps, and to my opinion, it does not slow the traffic down.

Since I have lived here (eight years now), in the first six years, we had our street-parked vehicles "hit and run" five times, costing our family out-of-pocket costs and insurance claims, which in return increased our insurance rates. No apology notes left behind with insurance information, either. Although, the last instance, one witness did stop at the neighbor’s home – but was unable to give the license plate of the vehicle, except [to say that it was] a dark blue SUV, now with a broken mirror and passenger window. A police report was filed once again.

I want to know how many other Sellwood neighbors have had their vehicles damaged due to "cut through traffic" to the Sellwood Bridge? I had spoken to a Portland Police officer, and he politely stated they do not have the manpower to monitor drivers on our street.  I hate the idea of installing cameras to both the house and vehicles, let alone the cost for them.

On Linn Street alone, I have seen endless cases of road rage, bicyclists, pedestrians (children too) and pets narrowly being hit as well as the parked vehicles.  I have witnessed the continuous running of the stop signs on 13th, 14th and 16th Streets.

Needless to say, traffic starts at 5:00 am on Linn. For those that do not know where Linn Street is – we are the first street north of the Clackamas County line.  No offense, but who do you think is traveling down Linn Street to the bridge?

Can you tell me. . .was there ever a survey done on "Hit and Runs"? Can the city increase the height of speed bumps?  Can they have a camera at each stop sign to ticket all the "forgetful' drivers who fail to come to a complete stop, as well as speeding?  How can we eliminate the "hit and runs"?

The thought of ever making the street a "one way" scares the heck out of me. Doing this will only increase the flow of traffic and incidents. I hate to think it could take a death of a loved one to spur action.

Colleen Foster
“Frustrated on Linn Street”

 

The “Duniway Auction” story

Editor,

Thank you for the write-up about Duniway’s auction in your last issue. Over 300 people attended, and we raised over $165,000 for Duniway Elementary School during the fun-filled Prom-themed evening. Because my quote was incomplete on the subject, we would greatly appreciate it if you could mention that although 70 percent of the proceeds go to Duniway, the other 30 percent goes to PPS’s general fund. We want to make sure that your readers don’t think that our foundation only donates 70 percent of the monies raised. One hundred percent is donated. Thank you again!

Betsy Roberts
via e-mail

 

Fundraising for Veterans at temporary location

Editor,

Our VFW Post 4248 (“Sellwood Breakthrough Post”) has recently sold our building and is looking for another one. In the meantime, The American Legion Post 150 has offered us their building, so we can continue some of our activities which help support our Veterans. One of those is the annual Cruise-In. This year it will be Saturday, May 25th, at 8329 S.E. 89th Avenue, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in Portland. “Come early for breakfast, and stay for lunch, raffles, and awards.”

Dolores Tallmadge
via e-mail




Letters to the Editor may be submitted via e-mail by clicking HERE.

All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.


Obituary
Dick Hazeltine, memorial, Brentwood Darlington, Southeast Portland, Oregon
At an event last fall, Dick Hazeltine spent a moment with Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association Chair Chelsea Powers. (Photo by David F. Ashton)

Brentwood-Darlington neighbors remember Dick Hazeltine

By DAVID F. ASHTON
For THE BEE

Sadness fell over the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood last month when it was learned that Richard Arthur Hazeltine – Dick, to all who knew him – had passed away on April 6.

Dick Hazeltine grew up in a house on the corner of S.E. 52nd Avenue and Flavel Drive, in an area platted as “Errol Heights”.

Although there is scant biographical information available about him, it’s known that Dick married his wife, Opal, on June 22, 1954. Opal predeceased Dick on June 13 of last year.

Although Hazeltine shied away from recognition, many people considered him to be the “Honorary Mayor” of the neighborhood. For decades, he was the quiet leader of numerous neighborhood improvement initiatives, including construction of the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center, establishment of the neighborhood watch program, and being the person behind the neighborhood’s clean-ups (one of which will take place this month).

He spearheaded the effort to develop what was known as the “Nehalem property” into a neighborhood park that now bears his name: Hazeltine Park.

Working closely with Hazeltine on many projects, including that park, was neighbor Malcolm Hancock.

“Our neighborhood association wouldn’t even be here if not for him, as well as the ‘old guard’ who organized it,” Hancock said. “Dick has done more for the neighborhood than any other single person. I do know he raced cars, and had a full life; he was a good neighbor in the best ‘old fashioned’ sense.”

Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDNA) Board Member Gail Kiely remarked, “Dick was a friend of mine since I moved here in May of 1992. He was the first person that I met; and he invited me to the neighborhood association meeting.

“I was privileged to be one of those who helped him create our own community center, and city park,” Kiely said. “Dick fought hard for our neighborhood to have the same amenities that other neighborhoods take for granted. 

“He was so proud at the park’s dedication, and later, re-dedication of the Hazeltine Nature Park last December 1,” Kiely recalled. THE BEE covered that event at the time. “We will miss him greatly; he was a man of honor and dignity, always willing to share stories of the neighborhood that he grew up in and which he called home.”

Upon hearing of Hazeltine’s passing, Jeff Milkes, former Portland Parks & Recreation Manager of Southeast and East Services – and now Recreation and Community Services Director in Cupertino, California – commented to THE BEE, “Brentwood-Darlington neighbors named the park at 54th and Flavel Drive in his honor because, throughout his life, Dick helped to define a sense of community.

“Dick was a kind and gentle soul who deeply cared about his neighborhood; and, for decades, he reached out to help his fellow community members to be the best people they could be.”

BDNA Chair Chelsea Powers summed up her own feelings: “Dick Hazeltine was an inspiration to many, including myself. His decades of service alongside his wife, Opal, helped make this neighborhood what it is today. 

“He will be missed, but not forgotten, as his legacy lives on in the work he began and in his namesake park,” Powers said. “I hope everyone will take time to visit Hazeltine Park, and think some good thoughts about Dick, and his family.”


 


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