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Mar-10-2011 18:40printcomments

Reader Commentary: Can Oregon Government Change its Spots?

Salem-News.com reader's views on the William Coleman Civil Rights Case.

William Coleman
William Coleman photo by Dexter Phoenix Salem-News.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - (Forward by News Editor: William Coleman's Civil Rights case against the state of Oregon's Dept. of Human Services and former state hospital HR supervisor Cynthia Gregory, was defeated Thursday when a jury returned a verdict in favor of the state. We will have more details in a pending report. This article was submitted shortly before the trial's outcome was known.)

I am a ‘root-diggin’ researcher of historical facts, so I can’t help comment about the naïveté exhibited by some Salem-News.com readers who desire to bury Mr. Coleman and his integrity in the dirt of speculation, assumptions and denials without bothering to access facts which are easily publicly available in public records at Salem, Oregon; or simply because a mainstream media source isn’t running after Mr. Coleman’s story. Omission to report, specifically, the censorship of “Oregon state government news” by mainstream media doesn’t make the truth less truthful, it just makes it harder to be informed about and thwarts mass public outcry over wrongs in government.

In another Salem-News.com article, “A Witness With No Credibility”, on this case, [http://salem-news.com/articles/october292010/newspaper-racism-tk.php# comments] a comment was made (on 03/09/2011), as if by some authority of actual knowledge of the commenter; regarding how the State of Oregon handles litigation over civil rights lawsuits against it.  In this particular comment, “Anonymous March 9, 2011 6:38 pm (Pacific time)”  wrote “Our local and state governments always settle if they have a weak case, and that goes double for the feds...” and then the commenter challenged, skeptically, “Also Coleman's entire history will be made available, so who knows what info this site has and not has?” [referring to Salem-News.com’s website]

If the Oregon’s case is so “strong” as regards Mr. Coleman, perhaps we should ask: “Why did the state just try so hard this week to introduce information that Mr. Coleman was at onetime “investigated” for those phony charges [trumped-up by the prison-system “elites”], charges which Coleman already trounced (by unanimous acquittal) in a criminal court case originating from the very same “investigation” the state wished to have testimony allowed into the trial this week, testimony from state’s witnesses? Because, the state is grasping at straws? It would be funny if it was not so pathetic. It wouldn’t surprise me that the state asks for a mistrial, or most certainly appeals an unfavorable verdict, the second would to wear down Mr. Coleman’s resources & time, the first would provide a window of opportunity to re-strategize with its state’s witnesses.

Coleman, outside the Statesman Journal

Mr. Coleman alleges that when he tried to engage with the  Statesman Journal about the racism existing in the prison being a serious problem, he was told he should contact a senior news employee named Bill Church. After reaching Church by phone, Coleman told Church he wanted to discuss a violent and dangerous racism at the state prison, Bill Church's reply was, "I don't need to listen to any of this crap from you" and Church slammed the phone down in Coleman's ear.

That the local newspaper, the Statesman Journal of Salem, Oregon, is another lackey of the state government and Marion County government’s entrenched power structure[by way of  the Statesman’s ‘non sequitur-styled  reporting’] is not surprising; as the Statesman (what a name) clearly operates to support the “status quo” of  government power, even when that power is being manifested  wrongly, and costly taxpayers millions in settlements that often include “gag” clauses upon the victims, sort of like how ex-Governor Neil Goldschmidt worked out “gagging” his rape victim with a money settlement. There are plenty of situations Oregon government, through the Attorney General, has traded money for silence from civil rights victims, so as to keep its dirty secrets, SECRET. The sordid tales of who in state government (then) knew about Neil’s rapes of Elizabeth Dunham are outlined in this official document: http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/10/DRAFT%20GIUSTO%20Investigative%20Report%2010%2029%2007.pdf

Goldschmidt’s past speech writer , Fred Leonhardt, tells of how Goldschmidt scheduled an appointment with Elizabeth Dunham while Gregg Kantor, Bernie Giusto and Leonhardt were present in the early Spring of 1989. The Oregonian had wind of the story around the same time, but avoided it like the plague.

The Statesman Journal’s lack of ethics in reporting and its lack of fair-reporting of this case at hand, regarding Mr. Coleman [so much like the Oregonian’s “hands-off” approach to Goldschmidt’s rapes of Elizabeth] casts a long forward-shadow on the general Salem community’s opportunity for self-reflection; reflection that could leading to a collective desire to protect the civil rights of its minority populations. The Statesman Journal also, by acts and omissions, is ethically complicit in a racist cover-up of the state by keeping in the shadows (from public knowledge) the sordid tales and ‘under color of law” immoral/illegal antics of publicly-employed actors (local, county & state) against Mr. Coleman.

In response to ‘Anonymous” (mentioned above) skepticism regarding what the salem-news.com ‘has/has not’ and knows/knows not’ about Mr. Coleman’s past; the editors of the Salem-News.com website, like the rest of the world, has had the opportunity available to review the public record (case files and audio tapes) at the Marion County courthouse by which Coleman was unanimously found NOT GUILTY to charges brought about by a clear conspiracy within state government to discredit him in anticipation of this very lawsuit (now being heard in state court).

Why did the state want maliciously prosecute Mr. Coleman at all?  It is rather apparent that Mr. Coleman knows at least enough of the dirty tales of prison management and operations regarding prisoner safety (and more) to be considered as a danger to the “prison establishment”. He is not the first, and likely the last. However, unlike years of past, the Oregon state prison no longer regularly hires convicted felons as guards (‘corrections officers”). Mr. Coleman passed background checks just a few years ago, prior to his hiring as an Oregon prison guard.  Nowadays, the state ACTUALLY does background investigations on hires. Mr. Coleman still has his integrity intact, unlike some of his predecessor state prison ‘guards’ when they were first hired.

Foxes watching the hen-house:

Let me share (published in mainstream media; Tri-City Herald, Thursday, December 23, 1971, Second Page One) one example where Oregon DOC, in the past, didn’t care about the criminal background of who it hired as a prison guard. The state hired one very-clearly convicted felon around 1951 (Lawrence Sullivan, by his own admission in the article, which was written by the Oregon state capitol correspondent at the time, Paul Harvey Jr., no relation to the Paul Harvey radio commentator). I found it interesting that the Oregon State Prison warden [ a man later described as running the state prison as his own “fiefdom” by the state police (and a retired state judge, Hon. John Warden) ] allowed such facts to be published in a rather amazing article in which the prison guards were asking for better pay. Who knows if the state has completely purged itself of its older felony-convicted guards, as of yet? Mr. Coleman certainly has far more integrity than Lawrence Sullivan did, and the state hired Sullivan.

Mr. Lawrence L. Sullivan described his past in the article (which is available at Google News archives):

Hoyt Carl Cupp, the prison warden I refer to (pictured above), followed his uncle Hoyt B. Cupp’s footsteps and became employed, himself, at the state penitentiary as a guard around 1947. Hoyt (the younger) eventually rose to power over the entire prison and its annexes in 1968, after appointment by the Governor. Another uncle of Warden Hoyt Cupp, namely John Cupp, before World War II worked at the “Oregon Institute for the Feeble-Minded” in Salem [later known as Fairview, and now closed after the Feds basically required it be closed for abuses of Oregon citizens house there], putting to use of his own farming skills on the 700 acres set aside for growing foodstuffs for the “inmates” residing therein.

Warden Cupp’s uncle, Hoyt B. Cupp’s WWI draft registration showing the older Hoyt’s employment at the state penitentiary. Warden Hoyt C. Cupp’s son, Tom Cupp, is the third known generation of the Cupp family to become an Oregon Corrections employee, sometime around 1981.

In 2004, Oregon Corrections reported: “Tom Cupp will transfer laterally from assistant superintendent of Security at EOCI to become assistant superintendent of Programs. Tom has been with the department in a number of positions and prisons for more than 23 years. In 1999, he was promoted to EOCI’s assistant superintendent of General Services, supervising Physical Plant, Food Services, Inmate Work Programs and Safety.” http://www.oregon.gov/DOC/PUBAFF/newsletters/mar2004_news_online.shtml

Amazingly, Hoyt Carl Cupp (after his death) was fingered by an Oregon prisoner (Timothy [Johnson] Kellcy) for providing the murder-payoff to Timothy Natividad (deceased) regarding the murder of Michael Francke. Francke was the Director of Oregon Corrections department in January1989, when he was found stabbed to death at the doorway of his state office building.  A few months prior to his murder, Mr. Francke had to deal with a problem at the Oregon State Prison.

Nigel Jaquiss, of the Willamette Week (who won a Pulitzer prize for pursuing the story of Goldschmidt’s rapes of Elizabeth Dunham, recently deceased Jan 2011) wrote in this 2007 article: See: http://wweek.com/editorial/3348/9677/

    On April 21, 1988, Francke wrote a memo to the director of Oregon Prison Industries, Fred Nichols, about a $625,000 payroll deficit, an issue he called “serious.” Part of the Oregon State Penitentiary, Prison Industries built furniture and did laundry for state agencies using inmate labor.

    Three months after Francke’s memo, “A Shed,” where Prison Industries stored its inventory, mysteriously burned to the ground. Fire investigators never determined a cause, but Industries collected a $764,000 insurance check. Nichols used the money to resolve his payroll deficit. A state investigator later noted the fire’s fortuitous timing. “Most of the property destroyed in the fire was largely junk, and the building itself had been condemned,” wrote corrections ombudsman Darryl Larson in a 1990 investigation report. “Corrections substantially benefited from the fire.”

The A-Shed fire occurred under Neil Goldsmidt’s regime, and his protégé’, now ex-Governor Kulongoski was the Oregon State Insurance Commissioner at the time of the fire appointed by Goldschmidt. Later, a decades- long state employee in Kulongoski’s office at the Insurance Commission, Frank Thompson, ended up inexplicably dead. By many accounts, Thompson had been snooping into state computers, gathering evidence of Oregon Corrections corruption. An informative piece about the highly questionable circumstances surrounding the death of Thompson, and investigation of his death, can be read here: https://docs.google.com/Doc?id=df7jz6ms_409hckfmzc3

After Francke’s murder, the Oregon State Ethics Director, Betty Reynolds, investigating goings-on related to the Department of Corrections & the Oregon State Prison [ involving corruption allegations that implicated a powerful state senator (“Cub” Houck)],  suddenly left the state. A Private Investigator gathering information on the Francke murder for a pending court case spoke to Reynolds just shortly before she announced she was leaving Oregon. Here are transcribed notes of the investigator, Tom Nesbit-Lance, from his meeting with Reynolds:

Later, a July 1990 news report of Reynolds’s ‘off the record’ words, [ accidently taped after the end of an Ethics hearing around July 11, 1990] may help the public better understand how fear of one’s life and liberty can grip those in state government trying to expose corruption in state government and the prisons.

“No one should have to put up with this. I’m dead. I’ve been destroyed.”

The next month, August 1990, Reynolds [while addressing the Portland Rotary] expressed her concern about the adequacy of the police investigation regarding Thompson's death, saying: "I'm afraid there is a much darker side", according to media reports at the time.

The name of Cub Houck had been brought up earlier, in 1986, by state Senator L.B. Day. Day had heard allegations about Houck and certain corrections officials having ‘off-the-record’ deals related to Houck’s construction company which involving building materials, prisoner labor and certain contracts. A VERY short ‘state police’ investigation (less than three months) took place after Day complained to Governor Atiyeh about the allegations. Atiyeh was a ‘lame-duck” governor at the time, Goldschmidt took office in January 1987. A secret service investigation went “no where”.

A few month before Day brought his complaints, state pathologists, were implicated in shady activities.

Pathologist Larry Lewman did the highly questioned autopsy on Michael Francke. Although, initially, it was reported that Lewman would be “fired” he remained, and after Francke’s murder he eventually led the state’s Medical Examiners office.

During the onslaught of the investigation, the head of the penitentiary, a Cupp protégé’, resigns.

By August 1986, Senator L.B. Day complained (by letter for certain) to Governor Atiyeh that the state police investigation had become a “cover-up” for Corrections. Day was apparently concerned, that to give the corrections investigation “plausible deniability” only a few low-rung corrections employees were hung out to dry. The prison-system higher-up “elites” Day wanted looked at avoided scrutiny. Later, another investigation would confirm Day’s suspicions. However, Senator Day would not live to see this happen. Within three months of his written letter to Atiyeh, Day would die. Day practically died in the arms of Cub Houck.

Rumormongers have speculated that rapid onset of arsenic poisoning in his drink or food at the event, and difficult to detect at autopsy by state medical examiners,  was the cause of Day’s massive heart attack. The actual autopsy results were never reported by the media, as far as is known.

WEAK CASE? The state has the advantages of money, power, the courts, the prosecutors, and “prison snitches” or “potential felons on the hot seat” they can conjure up or manipulate to do their bidding. I would say, the State of Oregon should NEVER have a “weak case’:

s regards the state of Oregon “always” settling “if they have a weak case”, this comment by ‘Anonymous’ stands as irrational as any I have read, to date, at Salem-News.com regarding Mr. Coleman. Here’s why: The state of Oregon doesn’t decide if they want to settle a case, the person filing a lawsuit does. Also, if the state can destroy the complainant by prosecuting them on trumped-up charges  and gaining a conviction, they don’t worry about much of anything as to “settling” even a strong case against the state. It’s such a more ‘final’ outcome to keep from having the state’s “dirty-laundry” aired by an ex-employee “whistle-blower”.

Mr. Coleman, seems determined to expose the state for the cloak and dagger entity that it is, I am all for his doing so in court, in lieu of some financial settlement.  Fortunately for the public, a trial record will occur from the case, and pre-trial motions and motions in limine will be available for future discussion. Those ‘motions’ are always fun to read, because they will explains what the defense (THE STATE this time around) is afraid of the jury knowing about in Coleman’s lawsuit against the state.

Oregon’s desperate need to keep it’s star witness, the violent criminal Mr. Salazar, out of jail as this lawsuit-trial of Mr. Coleman’s was looming, and to keep Salazar’s prior CRIMINAL history away from the jury in this present matter are simply two more, informative pieces of the ‘puzzle of deceptions’ the state of Oregon is too willing to assemble when it needs to cover its nasty tracks or wants bury a political “target” alive, in the media and behind prison walls.

Mr. Joe Salazar must be very glad he met Mr. Coleman at the Lee Mission cemetery. . Mr. Coleman was his now, (and possibly perpetual) “stay out of jail” card if this case continues past the jury decision in the current case brought by Mr. Coleman.

Lee Mission Cemetery, Salem, Oregon.

__________________________________________________________________

Previous Installments in this series:

Mar-10-2011: Civil Rights Case in Salem Demonstrates the Power of a 911 Call - Tim King Salem-News.com
Mar-09-2011: Civil Rights Under the Gavel of Justice - Tim King Salem-News.com
Mar-08-2011: Oregon State Hospital and Staff Member Face Racism Charges Over Employee Termination - Tim King Salem-News.com
Mar-04-2011: How Far will Oregon Legal Officials go to Prevent Due Process? - Tim King Salem-News.com
Dec-27-2010: The 'Trickle Down' Effect of Whistleblower Retaliation - Tim King Salem-News.com
Dec-01-2010: Oregon Political Prisoner Being Stripped of Phone Use - Tim King Salem-News.com
Nov-25-2010: Tim King and Ruth Kovacs on KBOO's Prison Pipeline (AUDIO) - Salem-News.com
Nov-22-2010: Tim King on KBOO FM's Prison Pipeline Tonight - Salem-News.com
Nov-16-2010: Federal Mail Tampering at Oregon State Prison? - Tim King Salem-News.com
Oct-29-2010: A Witness With No Credibility - Tim King Salem-News.com
Oct-27-2010: Inmate's Life Threatened by Staff at SRCI - Tim King Salem-News.com
Oct-21-2010: Oregon Inmate Stabbing Victim Attacked Second Time - Tim King Salem-News.com
Sep-10-2010: Demonstrators Call Oregon State Hospital's Employment Practices Racist, Unacceptable - Tim King Salem-News.com
Aug-28-2010: Observations on Michael Francke's Murder, Frank Gable's Conviction, & the paid Confession of 'Shorty' Harden - Salem-News.com
Aug-25-2010: Whistleblower Blues: Man in the Hole - Tim King Salem-News.com
Aug-11-2010: Demonstrators Protest Local Newspaper Over Racism - Tim King Salem-News.com
Aug-05-2010: Evidence Shows Oregon Inmate Was Falsely Convicted - Tim King Salem-News.com
Aug-03-2010: Chicken Night at the Oregon State Penitentiary - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jul-21-2010: Eyes on the Oregon State Prison: Voicing Concern for an Inmate's Life - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jul-14-2010: State Prison Whistleblower Says Oregon Corrections is Blocking Federal Mail - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jul-05-2010: A Denial of Civil Rights- Oregon's Collaboration in Racism Whistleblower Retaliation - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jun-26-2010: Getting Refamiliarized with the Murder of Michael Francke - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jun-23-2010: Local Media Downplayed Former Prison Guard's Struggle Against Racism - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jun-18-2010: Exposé: Skeletons Falling Out of the Closet of Oregon Corrections - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jun-17-2010: Scott McAlister: Child Porn-Related Conviction and Practicing Law - Tim King Salem-News.com





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Anonymous June 3, 2011 4:46 am (Pacific time)

I believe further research will indicate that Hoyt the older (mentioned above), was actually the father, not the uncle of Hoyt the younger. The state prison system for a longtime was run like a "family-business" (actually a cartel of families and close friends), until it went through rapid growth in the early 1990's. The top folks, as of yet, have deep roots in the old-cultural aspects of nepotism and protection of "our own" in prison operations.


Calling it like it is April 16, 2011 3:37 pm (Pacific time)

Nice deflection. However, you still didn’t answer my question. From the comment you made, are you saying that Coleman couldn’t get a fair trial in Salem because the jury was all white? Because a jury pool is selected at random you would be insinuating that all white people in Salem are racist. Is that what you are saying? Because it sure sounds that way.

Editor: What I am saying is that they are easily misled.  When a white person fails to try to understand how it is for others, they end up like you, and what good does that do us?  William's case is a story of good versus evil.  He is the most solid human being I have ever known, and man I have known a lot of people.  He has a heart that beats true and he isn't scared of truth.  Too bad so many people are.  And for the record, Oregon has a huge terrible history of racism and it is ongoing.


Calling it like it is April 15, 2011 8:39 pm (Pacific time)

What difference does it make what color the jury was? Are you saying that all white people in Salem are racists? From that comment, it seems like you and Mr. Coleman have the big problem with race, not the other way around. I just get so tired of people playing the race card when things don't pan out the way they want.

Tim King: Yes, I am saying that it is quite obvious based on the evidence that every point William made was accurate and the state made huge mistakes, but you want to know who played the race card?  The state of Oregon did, that is who.  They used a violent criminal and reduced his sentence for having beaten his wife for the umteenth time in order to preserve him for the case.  The whole thing is shameful, but racism is a very real component and Oregon has a new day coming, regardless of this minor setback for William.  I hope that helps you understand.


Calling it like it is April 15, 2011 8:11 pm (Pacific time)

Wow, four articles in two days about this poor soul and how the big bad state is out to get him. Touting how this grave injustice will be rectified by the mounds of made up and half truth evidence you have. Yet now that his case has been dismissed as the load of BS that it is, by a jury of his peers mind you, there has been no follow up for more than a month. Proof, I think, that this story will remain two bit online news site fodder. I dare you to post this with your response.

Editor: It isn't about dares, it just makes us sick that the jury was convinced William was a brooding mean man which he is not.  Everyone was shocked when the jury returned that verdict.  The pool began with 50 white Salem people and ended with 12 white Salem people.  The state used a pedophile violent domestic abuser as a witness.  A Black man running a truth system has little to no chance here but the game is far from over.  


Citizen Kane March 11, 2011 1:45 pm (Pacific time)

Somewhat OT, but did you know that police in general haven't been subject to drug testing until recently? While the workforce has been drug tested for decades, police have been immune, and handling drugs and associating with criminals on a daily basis. Curiously, the police unions have cited the constitional protections such as 'freedom from unreasonable search and seizure' as a defense, yet the Supreme Court has overruled this same protection for common citizens in the workforce.See http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/10/city_of_portland_moving_toward.html for more information.

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