Gamscams make origin was a 1978 small-time illegal gambling case in Vancouver, wash., with the State patrol and fbi helping to investigate. The case didnt go anywhere, but the State patrol and the fbi soon focused on Olympia. Gallagher, with ties to the vancouver case, now was pointing the finger at Bagnariol and Walgren as leaders for rent who would not be opposed to helping expand gambling. In 19 Gallagher, bagnariol and Walgren meet three times with two fbi agents posing as businessmen looking to ease gambling laws. The deal cooked up was that Gallagher, bagnariol and Walgren each would get 6 percent of the business generated in exchange for easing gambling laws. During that time, the agents taped Gallagher and Bagnariol agreeing to the deal. There were no such tapes of Walgren, though agents later testified Walgren repeatedly agreed to the deal.
House and maybe even replacement in the. Senate for Warren Magnuson. Dixy was enamored with the State patrol and eager to use it for her own political purposes, he wrote. In 1978, bagnariol was co-speaker of the house. Bagnariol contacted Walgren for a meeting at the Thirteen coins restaurant in seatac. Walgren said he figured that Bagnariol wanted to talk politics. Instead, lobbyist Pat Gallagher joined them toting a stranger he said was a businessman interested in seeing gambling laws eased in Washington. The man was really an fbi agent.
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Walgren became majority leader in 1975 following Mardesich, indicted on a charge of extortion. The chief of the washington State patrol routinely gave leaders — including Walgren — stacks of small plastic sleeves with legislator stamped for lawmakers to slide over their drivers licenses, should they be stopped. The practice worked fine, for a while. But an unimpressed Eastern Washington trooper ticketed one anyway, the press picked up on it, and the questionable practice was abandoned. In Olympia, walgren picked up the Bremerton Sun every day, going straight to political columnist Adele fergusons column.
She wasnt always kind to him, he wrote, but he considered her a friend. Back at home, walgren had partnered with attorneys Bill Fraser, gary sexton, terry McCluskey and later Jim Sells, jim ryan and others as the law resume firm grew. He started other business interests with varying levels of success. Suburban State bank of Silverdale, later Bank of America, was a real moneymaker. Radio station kitz made less, and a small trucking business was a loser. After arrest: seething, ray became governor in 1976, and it wasnt soon after that she began to dislike walgren, in part because she viewed him as political competition, he wrote. Walgren was being talked about father as a future governor, attorney general, federal judge, member of the.
Serving as Bremerton city attorney at the same time, walgren was part of a group of young Democrats that also included John Bagnariol. Two years later at age 35, he beat Frances Haddon Morgan for her 23rd District state senate seat after a tough campaign in which she attacked him for his association with the pinball guys and his loss of the boehme trial. Quick ascendency, walgren was the spear-carrier for ferries, digging up money to thwart fare hikes and later becoming chairman of the Transportation Committee. As chairman of the liquor Control Committee, he took on the task of updating antiquated liquor laws. Talk about loosening gambling laws had begun to gain steam. He worked on pre-gamscam gambling legislation.
One of his colleges, augie mardesich, had his eye on unseating then-majority leader Bob Grieve. Walgren backed Mardesich, so Grieve in retaliation redistricted Walgren out of the 23rd District. Walgren couldnt run for re-election while living on Erlands point. But Walgren had a rental in the newly redrawn 23rd District, just a few doors down from Gene gisley, then editor of the Bremerton Sun and a close friend. To prove he was living at the rental, walgren would honk wildly at night in front of Gisleys home. To prove it to the law, walgren placed footprints in the dirt outside his home and summoned police to his made-up burglary. But it rained and the footprints washed away, confusing officers who wrote a report anyway. No one ever questioned whether he lived there, and the lines later were redrawn again so walgren could once again call Erlands point home.
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It showed when he busted book a whorehouse by sending a minor sailor in to get evidence, a potential felony against Walgren never followed. He prosecuted and lost a highly publicized case against a local doctor, robert boehme, accused of trying to poison his wife while involved with another woman. Walgren had at one time been involved with the other woman himself. That complication and the loss cost him the prosecutors job, he wrote. Boehme ended up marrying the other woman and was later convicted of trying to poison her, too. Vindication came too late for the young Walgren. He retreated to private essay practice, but in 1966, won a 23rd District seat in the state house.
The problem was experience. Experience brings discretion and the ability to sort things out, walgren said. Prosecutor with no trial experience. Born and raised in West Bremerton, then fast-tracked through the University of Washington and its law school, walgren had a brief stint with the state Attorney generals Office investigating taverns to see if they had the proper licensing for their pinball machines. That was his first experience with gambling. By the unlikely age of 25, he already was Kitsap county prosecutor, beating out the hand-picked successor to merkel., who was then prosecutor, thanks to friends in high places who didnt like merkel. Walgrens tireless campaigning helped. Walgren said report this was the start of the bad blood between himself and Merkel., who later became kitsap prosecutor himself, investigating Walgren for unsavory ties to gambling but coming up empty, according to the book. As prosecutor, walgren had zero trial experience.
blameless in allowing Gamscam to take place? Did i actually commit any criminal acts? Not in my opinion, but I wasnt on the jury, he wrote. He sometimes wondered whether he wore too large a coat at too young an age.
Life came crashing down for Walgren in 1980, when he, house co-speaker John Bagnariol and lobbyist Pat Gallagher were found guilty of racketeering and sent paper to prison in Gamscam, the scandal that ravaged Washington politics no less than mount. Helens did the landscape that year. In the sunset of his life, walgren has written an autobiography, close to the Flame, for his friends, for historys sake, and for readers who must hold final judgment of Gordon Walgren. Its a riveting tale of a lawmaker who attempted to straddle the widening chasm of the good-old-boy politics of yesteryear and todays smarter, more open politics. But he ultimately didnt make the jump and was consumed. Its a tell-all book about familiar Kitsap and Washington politicians and their sometimes tainted ways that set the stage for Gamscam. Walgren claimed Gamscam was cooked up by his enemies, including former.
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By rachel Pritchett, april 20, 2013, olympia — cancer and heart-disease survivor Gordon Walgren, 80, moves slowly up the marbled stairs in the legislative building. Everyone tosses a greeting as he paces halls as familiar to him as his Erlands point home. For a half-century, walgrens been here, first in 1966 as a freshman Democrat in the house, and then two years later in the senate. With his ambition, penchant for Chivas Regal and cigars, and his ability to work a deal, he became majority leader in just seven years. For many years since, hes been a lobbyist. The deal-making, the intrigue, the sit-down of mba what do you want, what do i want, what can we do, how can we achieve that, that kind of thing. I love it, he said earlier at the law offices of ryan, Uptegraft montgomery Inc., of Silverdale, a firm he founded many years ago.