The Daily Mash-Up

Tuesday, September 01, 2015 This Week's Paper

When workers at Roger’s Rubber Manufacturing, Inc., in Edgewood, couldn’t put out a fire that started in the building located at 2810 Meridian Ave. E. just after 11 a.m. today, they called 9-1-1.

The fire engine at the station just two blocks away, however, was out on a call at the time. Firefighters from East Pierce Fire and Rescue, South King Fire and Rescue and Central Pierce Fire and Rescue arrived to find heavy, black smoke billowing from the side of the building. The firefighters quickly doused the flames.

“We were lucky we caught it early,” says East Pierce Battalion Chief Rick Goetz. Firefighters were forced to close Meridian for about 30 minutes to protect hoses that stretched across the street.

Two workers from Roger’s were treated on scene for smoke inhalation. Neither required hospitalization. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

We're two weeks away from knowing the lineup for this year's Sasquatch! Music Festival. Today, organizers released details for the announcement party, which will include performances by Built to Spill, Cody Chesnutt and “a very special surprise guest” at 8 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Neptune Theatre, 1303 NE 45th St., in Seattle.

Tickets to that show are free and will be available at the Neptune box office at noon on Feb. 2. There is a limit of two per person.

Those in attendance will be among the first to know who will play the Gorge Amphitheatre's annual kickoff gala, which will take place from May 24 to 27 this year.

A related rumors blog lists Portishead, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Deadmau5 and a few other acts, albeit without context.

And though the bands are still under wraps, four-day passes have been available for weeks through Ticketmaster. Find details here.

Tacoma City Councilman Ryan Mello was arrested by a Washington State Trooper Saturday night for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after he reportedly failed field sobriety test, according to a report on MYNWNews.com and picked up by the New Takoman.

Mello was elected to the Tacoma City Council in 2011 and represents an at-large position.

Mello attended the University of Puget Sound, where he earned a degree in Politics and Government. Ryan has also served as a chief of staff for State Rep. Hans Dunshee and before that as an AmeriCorps volunteer implementing the Youth United program at the United Way of Pierce County.

He currently works as the executive director for the Pierce Conservation District. His term on the council expires in 2015.

Three Pierce County women who played important roles in a mortgage fraud scheme that crippled the now-defunct Pierce Commercial Bank were sentenced this week in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

All three of the women worked for years with the scheme's ring leader Shawn Portmann, whose fraudulent loans resulted in losses of more than $10 million. Portmann will be sentenced later this month. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle will determine restitution later this year.

Loan Underwriter Jeanette R. Salsi, 55, of Bonney Lake, was sentenced to seven months in prison, four months of home confinement, and three years of supervised release for conspiracy. In 2004, Salsi followed Portmann from a different mortgage lender to PC Bank Home Loans (a subsidiary of Pierce Commercial Bank). Portmann paid Salsi 60 percent more than she made at her prior employer, and she became the primary underwriter of loans originated by Portmann. Salsi approved fraudulently generated loan applications despite the fact that they were filled with fraudulent documents. Salsi apparently knew the files contained false statements and phony documents regarding the applicant’s employment, debts, current residence, and plans to reside in the home, charging documents stated.

Salsi’s sign-off meant the loans were approved and sold to other financial institutions and the FHA. After Portmann was fired at PC Bank Home Loans, Salsi followed him to two other mortgage companies.

Personal Assistant Alice Lorraine Barney, 54, of Graham, was sentenced to two months in prison, four months of electronic home confinement, 100 hours of community service, and three years of supervised release. Barney was Portmann’s long-time assistant who created and inserted some of the false documents into loan files.

Barney participated in submitting at least 60 fraudulent loan files. After Portmann was fired from PC Home Loans, Barney followed him to his three next employers.

Pierce Commercial Vice President and Residential Lending Manager Sonja Lightfoot, 53, of Tacoma, was sentenced to one month in prison, four months of home confinement, 60 hours of community service, and three years of supervised release for her role in the conspiracy. Lightfoot joined the bank in 2002, before Portmann began his scheme. Between 2004 and 2009, it was Lightfoot’s job to lock the loans and sell them on the secondary market to other larger banks. Lightfoot knew that some of the loans contained false statements from borrowers but sold them anyway. When the fraud was discovered, the loans reverted back to Pierce Commercial Bank. The risk that additional loans would revert back to the bank ultimately forced the closure of the bank.

“Mortgage fraud can turn the American Dream of homeownership into a nightmare for our communities. Law enforcement will not sit idly by when greed causes professionals to abandon their integrity and become fraudsters,” said Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation in the Pacific Northwest.

From 2004 to 2008, Shawn Portmann closed almost $1 billion in loans, and he earned more than $1.7 million per year. A review of a sample of conventional and FHA loans revealed that Portmann and his staff closed more than 300 loans with false and fraudulent information. More than half of these loans have defaulted or otherwise caused loss to Pierce Commercial Bank, secondary investors, and/or the FHA, resulting in an estimated loss of $10 million.

Portmann is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 28. At that time, Judge Benjamin H. Settle will set a restitution amount, a share of which will be owed by all the defendants in the conspiracy.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the HUD Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), Internal Revenue Service Office of Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian Werner and Arlen Storm.

Lakewood Playhouse is set to present Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s Terrifying Ghost Story “The Woman in Black,” the second-longest-running show in London’s West End behind Agatha Christie’s "The Mousetrap."

The play will be performed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 22 and March 17.

This is a ghost story that will have you checking the shadows when you return home and a chilling tale that will have you telling yourself over and over: It’s only a play…it’s only a play.

Presented with views from all sides, in the Lakewood Playhouse’s unique "in the round" seating, this production will help you feel like as if you are "inside" the show…and, at times, lost in its supernatural dreamworld.

The framework of this spine tingler is unusual: a lawyer hires an actor to tutor him in recounting to family and friends a story that has long troubled him concerning events that transpired when he attended the funeral of an elderly recluse. There he caught sight of the woman in black, the mere mention of whom terrifies the locals, for she is a specter who haunts the neighborhood where her illegitimate child was accidentally killed. Anyone who sees her dies! The lawyer has invited some friends to watch as he and the actor recreate the events of that dark and stormy night.

This production contains scenes that may be to intense for younger children, parental supervision is suggested.

University Dental Tacoma Arts Month
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