The Greater Seattle Area isn’t usually part of the RBA, but this is such a great story that Burbed reader nomadic sent in, we thought you’d really enjoy it. (That is, if by “enjoy” we actually mean “take great delight in the woes of these nuts.”)
A neighbors’ dispute that began with a wrecked motorcycle has escalated into a saga of police investigations, allegations of dog poisoning, ruined careers and the disbanding of the Sultan Police Department.
By Jonathan Martin, Seattle Times staff reporter
Photos: MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES. Two very different gated homes near Echo Lake in rural Snohomish County are the scene of a bitter feud between neighbors. Gayle and Ray Harvie, above, are seen with one of their mastiffs. Neighbor Caroline Pepperell lives in a yellow manufactured home.
Gayle and Ray Harvie were at Disneyland when they learned a troubled neighbor had stolen, and then crashed, their new $12,000 Yamaha motorcycle.
The 18-year-old thief was fine, but the Harvies, who’d raised three boys themselves, thought he needed to be taught a lesson. They called police and pressed charges.
When his mother, Caroline Pepperell, and Ray Harvie spoke a few days later, Harvie insisted she or her son pay for the damage. Pepperell refused. They hung up.
That was the last conversation between the Harvies and Caroline Pepperell for nearly six years. In that time, their dispute metastasized into a saga involving three separate police investigations, a dead dog, Adolf Hitler’s secretary and allegations of forgery and organized crime. It led to the conviction of a decorated cop, the disbanding of the Sultan Police Department and, in March, a $79,146 judgment after a four-day jury trial.
You really have got to read the entire story to get the sense of how completely out of hand things got. It would not be fair for me to summarize this incredible story (other than to say it’s the Hatfields vs the Jarndyces, the Trash vs the Cash, or maybe The Rubes vs a poorer Larry Ellison by way of Half Moon Bay or something).
Gayle and Ray Harvie have the white fence, and Carole Pepperell the brown one next door in a rural neighborhood that seems anything but peaceful in light of their long, costly, complicated feud. After years of personal havoc and legal conflict, neither side is ready to back down.
And even the article isn’t enough, the arguments go on in comments, where one poster suggests the article itself was solicited by the Harvies’ attorney, and goes on to accuse the Harvies (these are the people with the big house and the big dogs) of paying neighborhood teens to “vandalize and harass other neighbors.” Oh, and supposedly the Pepperell son had a key to their place all along, which is why he “borrowed” the motorcycle. Pepperells = the trailer trash. You can feel the contempt in the house descriptions:
The Harvies’ 3,200-square-foot gated home sits among more modest houses — including Pepperell’s yellow manufactured home — on a 4-acre plot in the woods southwest of Monroe. The Harvies own a successful concrete-design firm and proudly note one of their three sons is a scout for the Los Angeles Angels.
It didn’t take too much trouble finding their respective houses, above. That’s the Harvies’ place on the left, and the Pepperells’ on the right. The article implies the Harvies are some modern Lords of the Manor, or at least of the block, and doesn’t inform that there are other large houses on their street, some with even bigger lots. This one, literally around the corner and sitting on a ten acre lot, is for sale, and for a lot more than the Zestimate of the Harvie place. That said, Zillow pegs Harvie House at more than twice ($541K) the value of Pepperell Palace ($224K). Both lots appear to be similarly sized.
Yowza. Good thing the worst neighbor problem I had was yappy dogs. No biting, no poisoning, no stolen motorcycles.
Left, Motion-sensor lighting, an array of video surveillance cameras and some signs on tree trunks, all on the Harvies’ property, reflect the ongoing feud between neighbors.
Oh, and these guys have now appeared on Good Morning America. Guess the newspaper wasn’t enough free publicity. Plus the Harvies are the sort of people who quote George W Bush when they create web pages proclaiming justice was served.
Don’t feel any sympathy for Pepperell because of the Harvies’ politics. She’s lost police jobs not once but twice for using police computers for her own personal issues. Pepperell was fired for using police databases against the Harvies, and lost a previous job at a different department for running license plates of men she wanted to date. Note: a judge ordered her reinstated to the Sultan police department, where she managed to get fired a month later for some other unrelated reason.
Above, Fred Walser resigned as Sultan police chief in 2008 and pleaded guilty to a crime after the feud led to a cover-up scandal. Walser regrets his plea and says the city acted out of fear the Harvies would sue.
Do these people remind you of anyone featured on Burbed before? Maybe these jerks? We have a follow-up here, their lawyer has had his license suspended and is now being held on various felony charges in San Diego. But they never managed to get any police departments shut down.