Just as the real journalists are starting to take seriously allegations that money raised for one Tim Eyman initiative was improperly used to secretly buy signatures for another (a story we first broke), the evidence is growing stronger.
In a new affidavit (page 1, page 2) filed this afternoon as part of an ongoing Public Disclosure Commission complaint, signature gathering subcontractor Rick Walther details his dealings with Roy Ruffino and Eddie "Spaghetti" Agazarm of Citizen Solutions, LLC, the firm Eyman hires to collect signatures on all his initiatives. According to Walther, a contract signed by Ruffino stated that he would be paid $1.40 for each I-1185 signature. He would pay his crew a $1.00 per signature street price, with the remaining $0.40 going to him. But after the first couple weeks Eddie informed him that his crew would now be required to collect equal numbers of I-517 signatures, but with no further compensation.
And that's when Walther gets to the heart of the allegations:
I asked Eddy "If you need equal numbers, why didn't you just start both petitions at 50¢ each?" His response was "If we keep I-517 in volunteer status, then we don't have to report income to the PDC, and we can stay under the radar."
A few days later I received a call from Eddy trying to coerce me into lowering the price to the petitioners on I-1185 from $1.00 per signature down to 75¢ per signature, and then the extra 25¢ was to pay for every I-517 signature that came in.
Walther says that Agazarm eventually terminated his contract for refusing to comply with his demands, a scenario corroborated by another signature gather, Miles Stanley, in a separate affidavit:
On May 5, 2012, I was fired for not bringing in any of the I-517 signatures. Then, Eddie told me, if I wanted to continue working, that I would have to turn into Rob Harwig (Peoples Petition LLC), because he agreed to reduce the pay to 75¢ a signature for I-1185 so there would be 25¢ left to pay for the I-517 signature.
I've yet to see an email or document in which Agazarm or Ruffino explicitly instruct contractors to pay for I-517, but three separate contractors have now signed affidavits claiming that they were verbally instructed to do exactly that. If this doesn't call for a full and thorough PDC investigation, nothing does.