Much has been made by the Rossi campaign over the alleged “felon vote”, with the slanderous implication that it would heavily favor Christine Gregoire. Well, I can think of at least one convicted felon who most likely voted for Dino Rossi: his longtime mentor, Melvin Heide.
As was widely reported in The Seattle Times, The Stranger and other publications, Rossi’s rags to riches story is a little ragged around the edges. Rossi got his start at a real estate company owned and operated by Heide, that engaged in fraudulent business practices, bilking millions out of clients. As scandals and bankruptcies unfolded, Rossi’s colleagues fled to more reputable firms, but he stuck with Heide, following him to two other companies.
On August 18, 1989, a federal grand jury indicted Heide on 18 counts of bank fraud, mail fraud, and making false statements. In exchange for other charges being dropped, Heide eventually pleaded guilty to bilking a Tacoma couple out of $400,000 — and on July 20, 1990, he was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution.
However, Rossi’s eight-year business relationship with Heide only ended in 1992… in the middle of his first political campaign. Even then, Rossi remained close to the Heide family, indeed, Rossi’s first campaign treasurer was none other than Heide’s son, Ralph. (A tip of the hat to Pleasing to Remember for that tidbit.)
Perhaps this explains why several Republican readers took such offense by the technically accurate description of Rossi in my previous post? In light of the shady companies he worked for, the only thing worse than describing Rossi as an “unemployed real estate agent” would be to describe him as an “employed” one.
Gregoire spent most of her professional career putting felons behind bars, while Rossi spent much of his working for one. So who do you think is more deserving of the “felon vote”?
“Glass houses,” and all that.