Shortly after closing on our home, we noticed the pavement used for the driveway and parking lot was not performing as it should. The pavement is pervious, water should move through the pavement and be absorbed into the ground underneath it. The surface of the pavement was also sluffing off and the turning of wheels was literally carving into the pavement. To make matters worse, the water was (still is) running down the driveway and into a large electrical box at the lowest point in the driveway/parking lot.
We had made our concerns about the driveway know to the developer (Edson F. Gallaudet) but he was ignoring our concerns. Edison blowing us off was nothing new, he had been ignoring our inquiries about finishing the work on our new home for nearly a year at this point. I still have the emails to back this claim and can publish them should Edison decide to get litigious. If Ed decides to get litigious, I will have a plethora of new material for my readers… You read me Ed?
I contacted a couple vendors and received quotes on replacing the driveway and parking lot with different pervious solution known to work. The numbers were significant. This coupled with the fact that we observed minor pooling of water beside one of the homes, water running off of the property and pooling against a neighboring building, and the electrical and cable infrastructure for the property being submerged, proved to our neighbors that we needed to get a lawyer and formally open a warranty claim against the builder. I spearheaded all of this.
I also knew that the city should be involved. I called the then President of the Seattle City Council Bruce Harrell. He and I spoke and he agreed to visit the property and meet with the community. During his visit he was very attentive and engaged with us. He didn’t bring an entourage of staff either, it was just him. He listened thoughtfully and took notes.
As Bruce, my neighbors and I were on the easement talking, Patrick Ascolese came out and did what I call his little dance. He struts around the property like an angry rooster making obvious noises to grab the attention of anyone present. Bruce quietly asked us what was going on with Patrick. I suggested we go inside so we could talk away from Patrick. When we got inside, we discussed what was going on with those in the compound and how they had just told us they would be building over the easement. Once again, Bruce listened thoughtfully. He even asked to see the email they had sent. After we had gone over the situation, Bruce shared an experience he had with a neighbor and told us to get a lawyer immediately. He made it very clear we needed to immediately address the legal implications those in The Compound had thrust upon the rest of the community.
After our meeting with City Council President, he had his office make sure the cable company replaced the infrastructure on the property with one which would not be impacted by being submerged. He also had his office work with the needed folks about the electrical infrastructure. I believe the city even came out and took a look at the electrical infrastructure. His office told us the bottom line was that everything was sealed tight enough to be submerged. Also, should the infrastructure fail, the city would be replacing it at no cost to us. His visit to our property, his active listening sills, situational awareness, and follow-through were exactly how a politician should behave in my opinion.
Bruce Harrel retired but the astonishing failure of leadership under Mayor Jenny Durkan and the current City Council made Bruce step out of retirement and toss his hat into the race for mayor. As of now, Bruce has my vote due to the actions he took to understand our issues and help us. I will be doing several posts on my experiences with the rest of those in Seattle government but until then, let me be clear… I believe Council Member Tammy Morales is a completely incompetent council member who could care less about hardships working class people face in Seattle. My interactions with her and her staff have led me to believe she is a liability to the City of Seattle. I will be going scorched earth on her in the future but need to get back to the floods…
Patrick and Emily decided to install turf in their back yard. To me, it looks like the cheap nasty turf, not the high-quality turf seen in so many modern turf solutions. After they did this, the two homes down hill from them experienced flooding of their yards. On February 18, 2017 we had our lawyer send the following letter to one of the lawyers for The Compound:
Dear Mr. Rodabough,
As we alluded to in our telephone conference of February 14, my clients, Paul Drinkwine and William Reed report uncontrolled surface runoff emanating from the property of your clients, Emily and Patrick Ascolese, at 2525 – 30th Avenue South (Unit Lot B), Seattle, that is inundating the properties downhill and to the west of the Ascolese property, among which is the Drinkwine/Reed property. This runoff is, according to my view of the area and accounts I have received, inflicting substantial and ongoing impact upon those properties. See accompanying photos taken earlier this month. My clients have seen indications that the water is reaching their property and private amenity. It has been reported to me that they and another downhill neighbor, over several years of residency, have never observed surface water flows from the Ascolese property and inundation such as they have suffered this winter.
The Ascoleses presently have a dangling, unconnected downspout piece hanging from the gutter on the northwestern side of their home. The first of the accompanying photos show that disconnected downspout. Runoff from that gutter is, therefore, not controlled.
I have further been given the understanding that the Ascoleses built some kind of deck with turf on top of it in their western side yard. Water has been observed flowing out from under that structure.
The conditions upon their property coupled with the emergent heavy runoff from it and inundation of the downhill properties give good cause to believe the Ascoleses have altered their property in a manner that has caused uncontrolled runoff to flow onto and across the downhill properties. As you likely are aware, their privilege to make alterations affecting surface runoff is not unconstrained. See Currens v. Sleek, 138 Wn.2d 858, 862-865, 983 P.2d 626, 993 P.2d 900 (1999). City ordinances and permit conditions may also be implicated.
In view of the observed circumstances and applicable law, please confer with the Ascoleses concerning any and all changes they have made to their property, particularly with regard to the disconnected gutter drain and side yard alterations and appropriately advise them as to actions needed to resolve the situation. I request that advise as to what the Ascoloses are going to do to address the problem. This request is made in the interest of avoiding expanded or additional litigation, which I suspect could involve additional neighbors and attorneys.
<end of letter>
Below are two of the images which accompanied that letter. I am hesitant to include the one showing their downspout proudly detached at this time but, it should be obvious we have that picture.
Not once has anyone in The Compound shown an ounce of concern about the flooding which took place after they made changes to their property. It’s a vivid display of entitlement, narcissism, privilege and sociopathic behavior by those in The Compound IMO.
Speaking of entitlement, narcissism, privilege and sociopathic behavior…
Our immediate neighbor uphill is Angela Rudig. She is/was an employee of Howard Shultz and his wife Sheri Kersch Schultz. Angela was at work in Hawaii during one of the initial floods which followed the changes Patrick and Emily made. I was in contact with her that night and spent several hours in her yard with a bucket bailing floodwater from her property to the retention ponds out front. We live downhill from Angela and some may think I had a vested interest in bailing her out; I didn’t. In the pictures above it is apparent there would need to be significantly more flooding for the water to reach our home. I was keeping an eye on it but figured we were safe. We were safe until Angela returned home from Hawaii and decide to flood our property!
I was at work a night or two after literally bailing Angela out when I received a phone call from her. Angela was home now and she told me she had a handy man for the rich and famous over who told her water needed to run downhill. With that logic backing them, the two of them decided the best solution to her flooding was to dig a trench along the back of her home and reroute the flooding to our property! Never mind the fact that a pump could be used to move the water into one of the retention ponds designed to disperse rainwater! I was justifiably angry and told her what she had just done was both illegal and inappropriate. I told her I was coming home immediately and I expected the flooding of our property to be stopped by the time I got home.
By the time I returned home, Angela had dammed up the trench and cleaned up some of the intentional flooding of our property which she had just done. She was emphatic about how water must run downhill. I reminded her that the retention ponds out front were there for that purpose. I told her that I had used them when bailing out her property. I suggested she get a pump and pump the water into the retention ponds. I then unloaded… I emphatically told her this was simply a no good deed goes unpunished scenario. I reiterated the fact that I had spent hours in the rain bailing her our and she never thanked me once for helping her. I then stated her way of thanking me was to flood our property. That sent her into what I saw as a hyperbolic emotional meltdown.
My husband came home from work just after this exchange between Angela and myself ended. She immediately ran over to him and turned on the crocodile tears. What she didn’t know is that emotionally crazed crocodile tears are a complete turn off for him. It was apparent to me that Angela didn’t get approval to flood our property from me so she was going to get all emotional and try to come between my husband and I and obtain his approval. It didn’t work.
This single act of Angela flooding our property, and her actions over the next couple days, gave me the impression she thinks she’s entitled to flood our property to fix hers. To this day I cannot help but think entitlement runs deep with anyone who has strong ties to the Shultz family. There is one very public record of the Shultz family exercising their entitlement and privilege at the expense of others which can be found here. I can’t imagine thinking my poop doesn’t smell and that I can do whatever I want at the expense of others. I think it obvious both the Shultz family and Angela think they have the right to mess with other people’s property. The limited conversations I had with Angela about Sheri Kersch Schultz and her job left me with the impression Angela is a glorified indentured servant who has Stockholm Syndrome. I wish her the best but she’s in deep by my books.
So here we are with a new nightmarish scenario which only surfaced after Patrick and Emily made modifications to their property. Flooding of our property was now a real possibility. First Drew, Emily, Kate and Patrick tell us they will build over the easement and interfere with our parking and now they make changes to their property and flooding commences shortly thereafter. These folks deserve the worst neighbor award in my opinion. If I could, I would proudly present them with this award:
As awful as those in The Compound are (IMO), Angela is the one who I hold responsible for flooding our property; she actually did just that! She’s also the one I hold responsible for any future flooding of our property. A couple years ago, Angela made changes to her drainage which were supposed to eliminate flooding. Her changes, which were not approved by the city but were recommended by, as she put it, “A friend of mine, Wim Vanderspek, who is a property manager for another site and has a background in multi-million dollar home construction helped me try to disperse the water by digging a shallow trench, approximately 4 inches deep by 3 inches wide alongside the back of my house.” As I read it… A handyman to the rich and famous, and I assume it’s the Shultz family, told her to dig that trench and flood our property. Yes, I have pictures of the trench.
Angela and her lawyer claim the changes she made to her drainage have eliminated all flooding issues. That is simply not true. To this day there is pooling on her property. Floodwater is then removed from her property using an automated electrical pump which transfers the water into a retention pond in the front of her home. This is exactly what I told her she could have done the night she chose to dig a trench and flood our property! I told her to do that as a temporary fix; not as a long-term solution.
So here we are, The Compound owners changed their property and then the two homes up hill from us started having their private outdoor areas flood. Angela, who lives right next to us decides to reroute floodwater to our private outdoor area. She then makes modifications to her drainage which are not approved by the city and tells us via her lawyer time and time again that the solution she implemented, which she flat out denied letting us look into, has resolved the issue for good. They make this absurd claim as if we don’t see an electric pump moving the flood water through a hose into the retention pond as we walk by! How stupid do they think we are???
One good rain storm which knocks out the power and our outdoor area is going to flood. Angela knows this and does not care. The thing which really frustrates me about this is she flat out lied to us and the rest of the neighbors about stating she told us of her plans to modify her drainage. She says she told us and she knows damn well she didn’t! When I came home from work one day, she had put up a pervious retaining wall between her property and ours and covered everything behind her home with pea gravel. She flat out refuses to say if she dug a trench again behind her home to route her floodwater to our property and then covered it with pea gravel. Furthermore, her and her lawyer explicitly stated we cannot verify any changes she made under the pea gravel behind her home. This woman dug a ditch with the singular purpose of transferring her flood to our property and then threw a hissy fit when we complained. Next, she won’t let us verify she hasn’t done the same again… Angela Rudig does not pass the sniff test in my opinion.
Last week I opened a complaint with the city about all of these changes to the plat and the ongoing flooding. I’ll keep everyone posted about my interactions with the city but one thing I do know is that the City of Seattle Government is broken to the point where I don’t know if it’s fixable.
I will be sending a link to this post to my City Council rep Tammy Morales… She prefers to take the side of developer who thrust this nightmare on the community – more on that later – than on the homeowners he created a living hell for. She’s as broken as Seattle gets.
Bruce Harrell will also get a link to this post. As of now, I will be voting for him. Should that change, I will give a detailed explanation as to why.