Here come the floods.

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.

Tossing a grenade of entitlement.

The community we live in sprung forth from a large piece of land in the City of Seattle. The plat was sold to a developer know as Build Urban. The owner of Build Urban (Edson Gallaudet) did what was common at the time and left the old structure on the front of the property and built new homes in back. The old structure was made into two attached townhouses. Five new standalone homes were built on the back of the plat. Easements were put into place for a driveway and parking among other things. Here is an image of the plat, easements, and the homes on it:

The five new homes sold fast. My husband and I were the first to close on ours. The other properties sold and closed in short order. The revamped duplex was sold to an investor as rentals and the new homes to people who lived in them. As soon as we moved into our new home, my husband and I set out to build a sense of community within the plat and the surrounding city block. We hosted an open house one evening for the block and it was a smashing success. The highlight for me was the little old woman from across the street who had brought over a single rose for “the lady of the house.” Her son smiled knowingly at me. It took her a bit but she finally realized there was no “lady of the house” and handed me the rose with a smile and told me to put it in water. She was frail but there was nothing stopping her from coming to this party or climbing to the third floor to see the view of Seattle! She had placed the flyer by her chair and spoke of the upcoming party daily. I smile thinking about her… May she rest in peace.

We were also pleasantly surprised to learn the new homes on the back of the plat won this award from Professional Builder in 2014:

One night I took the trash out to the enclosure on the front of the property. As I was walking out, I saw two people create an intentional commotion as they darted behind trash and recycle receptacles at the end of the driveway. I very loudly let them know I had witnessed the commotion, which was obviously intended for me, by asking “Can I help you?” They giggled like school children and acknowledged their odd behavior and stated they were thinking about buying one of the townhouses in the duplex. That was how I met Drew Gillespie and Katie Ward. The name Drew Gillespie may sound familiar to some of you in Seattle. Drew is the owner of Pike Brewing Company in Pike Place Market.

Drew and Kate did buy one of the attached townhomes. The other one was sold to Kate’s sister Emily Ascolese and her husband Patrick Ascolese. This arrangement seemed odd to me from the go… Most people would not buy a home on the same block as their family members. These sisters and their husbands are only separated by a wall between the two families.

Immediately after Drew, Kate, Emily and Patrick moved in, the neighbors and I started growing concerned about the state of the property. To me it looked like a dumpster had exploded on the front of our property. Each time I left or came home I had to see the mess these people had created. Everyone visiting commented about how bad it looked. I was told by one of my neighbors Sheri Kersch, the wife of Howard Schultz, even commented on how she loved everything about the property except the duplex and how hideous it was out front as she came down the driveway.

All of our reluctance about our new neighbors was confirmed on Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 2:59 PM when the email below arrived. In the email Drew, Kate, Emily and Patrick told all of the other property owners on the plat they were going to build over an easement. In that same email they told all of us they had consulted a lawyer about doing so. They also acknowledged they would be making my parking spot fundamentally unusable buy saying “We do recognize the situation is not ideal for the current assignee of Pad E…” Um, I’m not the ‘assignee’ I’m the owner. What this email made apparent to me is they simply didn’t care about the legal implications they had just thrust upon the rest of the community. These people were going to do what they were going to do no matter what.

Drew, Kate, Emily and Patrick exercised an act of pure entitlement IMO. They were entitled to do whatever they saw fit, including building over the easement and making my parking spot unusable. The email they sent is no work of literary genius but I honestly believe it was sent to trigger a lawsuit. I believe nobody in their right mind would move into a community and send an email like this unless they wanted to trigger a lawsuit. Here is the grenade of entitlement they tossed at their neighbors in the form of an email in its entirety:

Dear Vxxxx, Lxxxx, Nxxxx, Rxxxx, Bxxxx, Bxxxx, Kxxxx, Bxxxx and Paul, 

We gather some of you may be unhappy that we didn’t share our plans for our side yard ahead of time. We didn’t intend to offend anyone and we really do care about having a good relationship with all of you, so we’d like to go ahead and share the rest of our plans with you now.

Apologies that this email is very long, this topic is very important and unfortunately can’t be summed up in just a few words!  Thank you for reading this far, we humbly request that you set aside 15 to 20 minutes to read it’s entirety, whenever you have it to spare.

As most of you are probably aware, we have already made significant investments in remodeling, updating, improving and beautifying the interiors of both of our homes, which are noted as Lot A and Lot B in the CC&R documentation.  We bought these homes because of their potential, and because we want to grow our families together over the long term (Emily and Katie are sisters).  From the very beginning we’ve intended to do a significant overhaul of the exterior, improving it, beautifying it and making it a safe, comfortable place to raise our kids and to share with our friends and neighbors.  We are completely aware that it looks awful right now; that really bothers us too and we are ready to start the makeover of our southern area, west of the trash enclosure.

We understand there may be some confusion about the state of the easements, and which areas of our property require participation from various parties and which don’t.  This confusion is common, and the CC&Rs and easements for this subdivision happen to be documented particularly poorly.  The simple fact is that the as-built reality of the property does not, and never has, matched the descriptions and maps attached to the CC&R.  They are inaccurate.  We, and our counsel, have searched diligently for up to date drawings but they are not recorded anywhere with the city or county.  We’ve pulled the recorded ‘plat’, which is considered the most accurate legal property description available, and is the origin of the map used in the CC&R. We were hoping it would’ve been updated, but sadly it contains the exact same ‘pre-built’ drawings.  At least it’s higher resolution and actually readable!  The only difference is that the CC&R copy delineates the parking pads by lot assignment.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to get these docs clarified and updated so that we can all live our lives free of ambiguity and confusion.  We will touch on this matter again later in this email.

The project:

Our plan is to construct a beautiful fence between our yard and the shared easement driveway, as well as a second story deck around the foot of the ‘L’ of our home.  Images are attached for clarity.  The major goals of the project are as follows

  • Create an enclosed, inviting, safe, comfortable and secure environment for our children to play and grow in, and for us to enjoy.  We currently live in an active parking lot and are genuinely worried about our child’s safety.
  • Provide more privacy for everyone.
  • Provide an outside covered area that we can use in the rainier months.
  • Create a beautiful and inviting front entry way for Lot B.  Right now no one knows where our front door is, and we live ‘under the stairs’.  It’s ugly and uncomfortable. 
  • Eliminate both parking pads and turn the entirety of the area into enclosed living space / yard.
  • Divert the gutters to direct water away from the shared driveway

The fence will run westward from the edge of the short retaining wall to the corner of the gray tiles, where it will turn right and connect to the southwest corner of our home.  The stairs on the side of our home will be removed and will be replaced with a waterproof deck starting at the east edge of the stairs, and will wrap around the south west part of the home. (See attached Plan.PNG)

With regards to easements we know there will be some questions about the project.  We purchased the home based on a specific interpretation of the as-built realities. We’ve discussed the interpretation with our legal counsel and continue to believe it’s accurate.  But before we get there we want to discuss why we think this work is good for all of you as well:

  • This work will improve everyone’s property values
  • The whole of the subdivision will be substantially beautified, from both curbside and townhouse side
  • Diverting the gutters to drain elsewhere could reduce some stress on the porous driveway covering
  • Privacy absolutely makes for stronger neighbor relationships
  • Two less cars in the driveway

We hope that sounds great to all of you!  We would definitely like to enjoy a summer drink and meal with all of you on the deck, and a warm tea or hot toddy under it in the winter!

A rough description of the project is shown in the attachment ‘Plan.PNG’

On the Easements and CC&Rs:

Yes, we need to talk about the state of the easement and CC&Rs.  The attachments will do most of the talking here but we’ll try to be as concise as possible.  

The attachment ‘RecordedPlat.PNG’ shows the status of the entire property as is recorded in both the short plat and the CC&Rs.   For convenience ‘EasmentsAsDrawn.PNG’ is the same doc with the as-drawn easements colored.  The important thing to note is that this was recorded before the property was constructed.   We saw this before purchasing, and were assured that the as-built factors supersede, as is common in easement practice, and that this view is bolstered because the easements have in fact never physically existed as drawn.

Our interpretation has always been, and continues to be, that the garbage area, upon being built in it’s currently location permanently nullifies and invalidates the easement directly to the southwest of Lot B.  The as-built location of the trash, and the (never recorded) short retaining wall to it’s west directly impact the placements of Pad A, and thus also Pad B.  We have legal confirmation that our interpretation of Pads A and B being shifted west is in fact correct and appropriate and we do not simply lose our parking pads because the trash was built somewhere else.   Section 4.5 of the CC&R allows that we may park in the area to north of Pads A and B but does not indicate that we are required to.  See attachment ‘LotFeaturesAsBuilt.png’.

Pad E exists entirely within the real property of Lot B, therefore we maintain that our responsibility as the servient party to provide ingress, egress and parking remains fully satisfied, and continues to be satisfied when we build the deck and fence, as shown in Plan.PNG.  The as-drawn area of the trash could never have been intended for ingress and egress because had the structure been built there, no means of passage would’ve been possible.  See attachment ‘AsDrawnSuperImposedOnAsBuilt.PNG’.  

We do recognize the situation is not ideal for the current assignee of Pad E, Drinkwine and Reed, so we would like to inform them that Newhart has already confirmed for us that they are amenable to swapping spots.  Such a change is allowed in by section 4.5 of CC&R section and does not require agreement from other parties.

Please view all of the attached documentation.  There are multiple images showing the as recorded plot and the easements as drawn, markups of the actual locations of the property features as-built, Lot A and B’s full property lines without easement and markup showing the as-drawn and as-built features superimposed on top of one another.  

In a nutshell:

When considering the recorded documentation and the as-built realities together it is plainly obvious that respecting both simultaneously would indicate acceptance that A and B have given up private land usage rights for two garbage enclosures, and have lost at least an entire parking spot.  We do not agree with that interpretation, we were told this wasn’t the case when we purchased the home, and is supported by our legal counsel. 

Our parking pads, the trash, and the short wall were not built as-drawn, but where they exist defines the usage rights. This fact is supported by Section 5 of the CC&R.  

The parking situation continued:

We also recognize that there may be some confusion about why we generally don’t use our Parking Pads, but lately have been.  As mentioned above, we generally don’t like to park in the driveway, and in the long run we won’t.  Unfortunately, Patrick’s vehicle has been hit twice while parked on the street in the very short time we’ve lived here.  This has prompted both Katie and Patrick to park off the street more often.  Because the Pads are contained entirely within our property and are not subject to easement with respect to modification we are entitled to change their purpose at any time without input from the rest of town homes, including construction within their footprints.

The Garden Boxes:

There was recently an assertion made that the area to the east of the trash enclosure, where the new garden boxes have been built, is subject to easement.  That is incorrect. That area is the unambiguous private property of Lot A, as described in the plat, and is reinforced in section 8 of the CC&Rs, which explicitly states that Lot A grants a 3’x3’ easement in that area to the rest of the units for the shared mailbox.

In closing:

As is likely clear by now, we are intimately familiar with both the CC&Rs and the plat, as is our counsel.  We truly hope you all believe we are trying our best to be open, honest, and transparent with everyone.  We really want what’s best for our family and care about the community as a whole.

We would love to hear from you folks and get your thoughts on this matter.  We are happy to discuss in more detail, but for the sake of everyone involved we don’t want this email thread to turn into a forum for arguing.  If you have feedback, comments or questions please include direct references to sections of the CC&R and/or plat documentation.  

We are happy to have everyone over sometime to talk face to face and go over the documentation, individually or as a group, if that’s what people want.  Without being told explicitly we aren’t going to assume that the occupants of any particular unit speak for any other, so please contact us if you want us to know what you are thinking.

Our goal, after hearing your feedback, is to amend the CC&R as to eliminate further ambiguity.

Cheers, and thank you all so much for taking the time.

Sincerely,

Patrick, Emily, Drew and Katie

The Players.

My husband and I purchased our home in December of 2013. The property our home is on was a large plat in the City of Seattle. The plat was subdivided and easements put in place, then new homes built in the back of the plat. Our standalone home is the furthest one back from the road. To get to our home we must use the driveway and parking easement. This easement crosses the properties of a 1951 building which was converted into two attached townhomes. The parking spot we own resides on one of these properties and is part of the easement. Along with the easements, there are Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) in place for the community. CC&Rs are also known as bylaws, they are the rules and property limitations of a planned community. All homeowners in the community agreed to the CC&Rs prior to buying each of their homes. Agreeing to the CC&Rs is a requirement to buy a home in our community.

According to public records, in March of 2015 each one of the attached townhomes in the 1951 building were sold. Each one was sold to one of two sisters and their husbands. Shortly after moving into the community, these sisters and their husbands notified the five other homeowners, they were going to build over the easement for parking and a driveway among other things. Fundamentally, they were going to make my parking spot unusable and even acknowledged their plans were “not ideal” for my spouse and I.

We did what most reasonable individuals would do and said “no.” What ensued was a tsunami of what one of our lawyers coined “Jerry Springer Theatrics.” These theatrics include accusations like I’ve been making videos of them eating their Thanksgiving Dinner through the windows of their own home to making videos of their naked children. These two jaw-dropping and flat out slanderous (IMO) accusations are just some of the tactics our neighbors and their lawyers have used against us over the years.

In the pages and posts to follow I will walk you through my take on the surreal reality these individuals have thrust upon the other five households on this plat. I’ll also share how broken and messed up our judicial system really is. I’ll be exposing what I believe are lawyers who make sport of harassing innocent and law-abiding citizens on their client’s behalf as well as judges who simply don’t care about the reality of a situation. We’ll also take a look at some local elected officials I believe have a sense of integrity and those I think don’t. I plan on exposing the hypocrisy of certain Seattle City Council Members. I’ll also show how the City of Seattle will bend over backwards for developers and turn a blind eye when developers harm residents of the city. I will take a look at judges and how I believe some think they are above the law and thrive in what I believe to be a vivid display of bias. I’ll also expound on why it is so imperative the citizenry be able to transparently track the rulings of each and every judge in this country.

My hope is that by sharing my experience publicly, it will serve as a warning to others… Actions you take against others can be made public. If you are proud of your actions, or simply at peace with them, it shouldn’t be an issue if someone airs how your actions have impacted another.

With all the shenanigans and accusations my neighbors have deployed against me, they’ve only really got me for one thing… Flipping them off. Yes, they took me to court over flipping them off and won. It’s up for an appeal and I am both pleased and saddened to be able to share my experience and take on this matter. I’m at peace with flipping them off. I think many people would have done far worse than flip off these humans. I used the word “humans” loosely in the previous sentence because I believe they have no sense of humanity.

Without further ado, here are the players…

At the rotting head of this fish are my neighbors in the 1951 attached townhomes at the front of the property. They coined this nondescript dwelling “The Compound.” As I tell my story, I will expand with other players, including lawyers, judges and politicians, and what I believe their role in this legal nightmare has been…  But first we need to start with the rotting head of this fish:

Drew Gillespie – Drew is the owner of Pike Brewing Company in Pike Place Market. I believe he is the master manipulator of this whole ordeal. The community trash area is located on his property. When purchasing his home, he asked if the trash storage area could be relocated. I’m assuming he didn’t want it on his property due to this ask. Who in their right mind would want the trash of seven homes on their property? Drew was told it could only be moved if the entire community agreed with moving it. Drew chose to make the purchase of his home anyway. I believe his actions have made it apparent he wants to expand his little empire by removing the community trash receptacle location from his property at the cost of the entire community, which also includes his in-laws. One of our lawyers said nearly exactly the same thing in court.

I’ve only talked with Drew a few times. One of those conversations made me recoil from him as if he were a hot flame. We were discussing how prior to him purchasing his home, the community had opened a warranty claim against the developer over the driveway which was deteriorating and not performing as it should. The community had employed a lawyer to formally open this claim. I told Drew the community needed to get a lawyer because the developer was running out the clock and we needed to stop the clock. I told him I didn’t like lawyers and his response was “I love them. I love to fuck with them.” A chill went down my spine… Here was my new adult neighbor looking me in the eye and telling me he took pleasure in fucking with people.

I honestly believe Drew has been fucking with me and the rest of the community since he bought his home. Truth be told, I believe it was his intent to exploit a flaw he found in the plat prior to closing on his home. I think he’s trying to capitalize on a flaw the developer made at the cost of his neighbors and in-laws. I think it’s pretty obvious he could care less about any sense of community – or the property value of his in-laws – and that he kicks morality to the curb when money, or the chance to make more, is involved.

Katie Ward – I don’t even know where to start with this one so I guess I’ll start here… She married Drew, the man who told me he takes pleasure in fucking with other humans. I believe Kate is single handedly tanking all of our property values. I honestly think she considers herself a farmer and someone who is beautifying the property. She uses random things like pallets and fire wood as yard art. She decimated the landscaping done by a professional landscaper in favor of what I and others in the neighborhood consider very poorly executed DIY projects and then abandons them… Those pallets she painted and put up as yard art are now decaying in place for the whole world to see. Damn it… I wrote this paragraph weeks ago but held off on sending it to the lawyer for review. One of the pallets disappeared but the other is still there. Her hodgepodge of what I and others consider l tasteless crap, just became more of a hodgepodge.  

I believe she’s also responsible for the ‘trellis’ that just went up for everyone visiting the property to see as well. The trellis looks like a nylon dolphin net attached to their home. Bamboo is used to prop it up. And to think I thought those pallets were trashy!!! Truth be told, I know they saw me unloading nine sections of a steel trellis I put up along the back of our home late last summer… I think she got trellis envy and decided to one up me. Something tells me the steel, rebar and cement I used to create a freestanding trellis for kiwi and Boston ivy will hold up a lot longer than her dolphin nets, bamboo and nails or whatever it is she attached to her home. A friend told me the trellis I designed and installed was a “work of art”. Very few will ever see it but it was a resounding compliment. I doubt anyone will call her nails, lose netting and baboo “a work of art.” I know that was snooty and don’t care… Trash will be trash and create more trash in my opinion.

Katie was also the first one to start baiting me out of this group of “humans.” I bit her bait once as my husband and I were taking out the yard waste for the community and responded to her with “we have such nice neighbors” or something along those lines. After putting the yard waste beside the curb, we were walking back down the driveway and Drew came out and approached me in an exceedingly hostile manner. To me he appeared and smelled flat out drunk. To summarize, this is what I believe happened… Katie baits me, I tell her we have nice neighbors, she runs inside and to get her drunken husband worked up, he then comes out to assault me but backs down when he sees I’m not afraid of him and that I’m recording the incident. He retreated. Later I viewed our security camera footage and saw Drew came back for more and started to follow us from behind before retreating again.

In one of the mediations, the mediator implied the inhabitants of The Compound didn’t realize everyone visiting the property saw theirs first. I know, it’s not rocket science that the first property on the plat is what people see first but many people can’t see past their own little myopic world. And I also know, some people consider dolphin nets, nails and baboo works of art while others look at it and think “WTF?” The south side of Kate and Drew’s home always looks like what I would describe as the aftermath of a dumpster explosion. This is what the guests of the other five homes on the property are greeted by. Everyone walks by this eyesore (IMO) when they visit any other homeowner on the property. Should one of us decide to sell, that’s the first thing potential buyers will see. It’s simply trashy (IMO) and I believe it will be harder for anyone to get a great deal on their property knowing they need to walk by what the previously mentioned dumpster explosion aftermath. What’s out there gets hit by a tornado so frequently that we are always entertained; and disgusted. This is all on Katie in my opinion.

Emily Ascolese – I believe this woman is either a real piece of work or something is simply broken with her. I honestly think she does her husband’s bidding no matter how whacked, crazy or deplorable it really is. If that’s the case, then I believe she’s broken inside. If that’s not the case, then I’d go for she’s just a piece of work.

Here is a statement Emily once provided to the court:

“One encounter with Mr. Drinkwine in early June of 2016 stands out in my memory. I was in my second trimester of my pregnancy with our youngest daughter, and our oldest daughter was nearly two. I was at home during a very hot day caring for our oldest daughter, Illy. Toward the end of the day, to cool off, I filled my daughter’s wading pool with water outside our kitchen window so she could play in the water and I could place my feet in it. We did not go into our backyard because landscaping and construction in the backyard was not finished. My daughter was wearing a swim diaper. Our kitchen window is about 15-20 feet from the driveway in front of our house that leads back to the parking area near our other neighbors’ houses, including Mr. Drinkwine’s. My daughter and I were playing in the pool and the general area. At one point, Illy took off her diaper and toddled off toward Katie and Drew’s house and stared waling up their outside stairs. I followed after her and picked her up from the stairs, and when I turned around to walk back to the pool, I saw Mr. Drinkwine driving toward us up the driveway. I clearly saw him pointing his smartphone camera toward my daughter and me as he drove toward and past us in a manner that suggested he was making a recording of us.”

First, the video which I and my lawyers believe Emily staged, shows I was simply exiting the property and never driving “toward” her and the child. Emily stated I was driving “toward” her and her child twice. I believe, this is how she and those in The Compound word things to imply malice as well as double down on their Jerry Springer theatrics. Second, this area is their parking lot and for some reason, all of their vehicles are absent, normally those vehicles would obfuscate the camera’s view. Third, there is zero indication of any water or a pool in this video. Emily’s clothes are dry when she puts the child down. Even the child’s hair and sandals are dry! There’s not one indication of water in that video whatsoever yet Emily claims her child was playing in a pool. It’s obvious to me and my lawyers this video was manufactured by those in The Compound to claim I was recording their children naked – think making kiddie porn – as I exited the property.

I sincerely believe Emily staged a video using her own naked child so she and the others in The Compound could say I was making videos of their children naked. That’s the type of person I believe Emily is. That’s the type of people I believe reside in The Compound. This video is now public record and speaks for itself. I honestly feel sorry for that kid and any sibling it may have.

Patrick Ascolese – I intentionally saved what I consider to be the worst excuse of a human in The Compound for last. I can and probably will spend several weeks or months exposing the disturbing behaviors of this man but let’s just put it this way… What kind of person steps into court and asks the court to move all the trash from five households he just pissed off to a location right outside his front door? And in doing so, moves all that trash (including compost) even closer to a window he uses to cool off his house when it’s hot out? Trash which also includes a lot of pet waste. Let me reiterate… The trash of five households he pissed off, four of which he sued, and one who sued him!!!  Someone who is an idiot in my opinion. Well, Patrick did just this. I will never understand this man and I’m glad I won’t.

Furthermore, what kind of man produces a video of his own naked child to imply that his neighbor is making videos of his kids naked? What kind of man produces a video of his own naked child on a camera named after the individual he is trying to imply is making kiddie porn of his children? I believe Patrick Ascolese did just that along with his wife and accomplice Emily Ascolese. He and his wife Emily produced and provided a copy of this video to my lawyers and I. Once again, I ask… What kind of human creates a video of their own naked child to imply someone else is filming their children naked?

The legal costs for these shenanigans have exceeded $100,000.00 for my household alone. If you find interest or entertainment in any of this, I would appreciate help in defending our property rights as well as my freedom of speech. When I say “our property rights as well as my freedom of speech” because each reader should understand these cases are fundamentally your cases… Precedent set here can impact you one day. Within a year or two, it could be illegal to flip someone off more than once in the State of Washington due to the legal actions and shenanigans my neighbors and their lawyers engage in. That’s a slippery slope to the courts really cracking down nationally on freedom of speech. You can help me protect yourself from neighbors like mine, and advocating for your freedom of speech, by making a donation using the ‘How can I help?’ link in the dropdown menu above or to my GoFundMe campaign which is located here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/PaulsLegalFund

I’m angry.

It takes a lot to anger me. When I get angry, I start talking and that’s when people start paying attention. One thing which can push the limits of my patience is injustice. Injustices are fundamentally what this site and blog are going to be about. To get to that point I will need to spin a story with background information including the players involved. I will not be politically correct nor will I sugar coat things. This site/blog will consist primarily of my opinions. The facts supporting my opinions will come from the plethora of legal cases surrounding our properties and interactions.

Posting my opinion, along with the facts which formulated those opinions, is going to be incredibly expensive. The acronym IMO (in my opinion) will be used as a frequent reminder that the majority of what is contained in this site is just that. If you don’t like what you see, don’t come back. If you do like what you find here for one reason or another, please let me know and send me a gift of support in any amount you feel comfortable with… More on that later.

The facts presented on this site will be court records and other supporting documents including images and videos. However, I need to be exceptionally careful because my neighbors are the most litigious people I know. These neighbors are the worst humans I have ever encountered. Their last legal shenanigan was to take me to court for flipping them off! I expect they will take me to court again over this site/blog so I need to mind my P’s and Q’s. If I say I have video of something you may need to just take it on faith for the time being. That being said, there is no way I would make a claim about having a video without having the video, images or text to back up any claim I make in a court of law. I will be posting images and videos as soon as I have legal clearance to do so.

Topics are going to include my neighbors, lawyers and the United States legal and judicial system. The one thing the past few years has showcased for me is how truly broke our legal and judicial systems are. I will also include topics like landscaping, gardening, cooking, music, politics and whatever else pops up.

Here are some of the terms which will be used frequently in this site and blog:

“The Compound.” This is a 1951 building which was converted into two attached townhomes. The Compound was given its name by the people who reside in it. The Compound is the gateway to the property including the newer five award winning homes beyond The Compound. Everyone visiting the property sees The Compound first… And holy hell have the owners of The Compound done a wonderful job at making it a hideous eye-sore (IMO).

Pro Tips… I will be making “Pro Tips” here from time to time and they will be in jest. Those Pro Tips will include gardening, landscaping, exterior decorating and many others.

              Pro Tip:  If you don’t want to see your name on a site like this; don’t be a dick.

If you find the subject matter here informative, entertaining, eye-opening or insightful, we could use your help by supporting us with a gift to keep up the good legal fight for not only us, but you as well… That’s how this shitty and broke legal system we have works, I’m going to keep fighting for you and I both.