Steve Loken: A "Robin Hood" Mafioso for a One Party State

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mafioso-150l.jpgFinally, it all makes sense. This ethically-challenged, predatory business man must have political aspirations.

A couple of years ago I saw Steve Loken give a speech for a fake environmental organization at the University of Montana in Missoula. Loken is a supposedly "green" building contractor who has been on the Democratic Governor's global warming task force and speaks nationally on energy and building issues. On this particular occasion, he spoke about needing to add a sales tax to tourism-related purchases, stating that like Robin Hood he believes it's necessary to "Rob from the rich to give to the poor."

Since people in his employ had already bilked building materials from my mother, I had to wonder: did he mean over order tile on one client's job so that she would pay for much more than necessary and he could redistribute it to his subcontractor's sprawling Lolo spec home?

To me that seemed more like, "Rob from the unassuming and vulnerable retired lady to give to your real estate developer buddy." Poor people generally don't seem to fare to well in an economy based to a large degree on high-end real estate development -- it hasn't served average Montanans. Even if Loken does subscribe to a political philosophy of wealth redistribution, as reflected in his business practice it seems to be more about redistributing to his pals than to the dispossessed.

Eventually, we had to wonder whether the used building materials nonprofit he started, Home Resource, was in part a front. How many of his clients paid for materials that were then "donated" to Home Resource and bought cheaply for his friends' jobs?

It finally became clear that Loken wasn't concerned about making my mother's project at all green, even though that's why he was hired. The supervisor Loken hired knew nothing about green building materials. For some reason, Loken didn't want to replace an old and wasteful heating system even though the plumbing expert recommended he do so.
Later we would come to believe that his goal was to squeeze as much money out of my mother as possible while devaluing the property. Today, she has paid for an outdoor paint job that was never completed, concrete that she didn't want and was not applied properly and never sealed, a kitchen that doesn't meet code, and a basement flooding that he took verbal responsibility for but did not pay for. Insult to injury: Loken filed a lien saying he hadn't been paid for work that hadn't been done and that my mother was "unjustly enriched" by his work. And, the filing of the lien coincided with one of my mother's attorneys removing the property from her control without her permission or knowledge. (Incidentally, he filed a lien on a property a few blocks away on our same street about a year before filing this lien.)

When the home was eventually foreclosed upon (when we were framed as drug dealers or whatever), the city would have profited from the sale. After all of the devaluation, Loken would have been able to buy it cheaply and cheaply refurbish. Perhaps he would have given the University a good price on it.

We have wondered all along what made it worth it for Mr. Loken and his subcontractors and associates to engage in fraud, sabotage and attempted murder (we don't know if he had direct knowledge of those attempts, but one was definitely timed to benefit him, and much of it was performed by people who were doing other things that clearly benefited him). We couldn't understand why it was necessary to rope subsequent contractor after contractor into repeating Loken Builders' methods of delay, sabotage and property devaluation. Then, of course, we have wondered why it was necessary to go to such lengths to prevent testimony about all of their machinations.

Last weekend an employee of Democratic Senator Baucus', Lauren Caldwell, sent her sister to our home to elicit information about how my mother was going to handle defending herself against Steve Loken's bogus law suit -- supposedly he had just filed a lien against her (for this project). She also name dropped Democratic Mayor Engen. It was all under the guise of offering to collaborate and help -- this is the kind of thing that people do when they want us to seek help from a public official we should be able to trust. If the city stood to profit mightily from the home's foreclosure, it's easy to understand why our multiple reports of stalking were never followed up, and why in general people have felt completely entitled to terrorize us without consequence. We didn't have any reason to believe that Senator Baucus had any investment in our situation until this sloppy and desperate elicitation.

Why do all of these petty details matter to anyone besides us? Because I can't imagine that so much effort would have been invested in protecting Loken unless he was seen to have a political future. So many people have taken such incredible risks to help him, with a brazen assumption of impunity.  If a man like Loken would inflict this much damage upon one household, it's hard to imagine what he would allow to happen to the people he represented in this state. He clearly has had enough political protection to have a District Court judge act on his behalf without any concern about being held accountable. He is part of a back-scratching political elite that is interested in serving its own interests.

In general, unlike Mr. Loken I don't think it's appropriate to rob from someone to give to someone else (leaving hypothetical room for specific moral arguments like the Heinz dilemma). Certainly, as a result of just these experiences with Mr. Loken I know that it's important to:

  • Make certain that citizens have equal access to legal representation
  • Evaluate the failings of the supposedly self-policing legal profession so that we know what reforms are necessary to combat cronyism
  • Ensure that every citizen feels safe in his or her community 
  • Provide consumers with easy access to information about local businesses
  • Reform the lien law so that it can't be used as an extortion tool
  • Make judicial oversight strict and transparent
  • Ensure that private contractors are not able to use classified information to work on behalf of private or local municipal interests
  • Problem solve about how to protect the right of association while also protecting citizens (volunteers, activists) from privately-funded intervention into their lives.
This state needs a genuine two party system rather than the illusion of such. We need public servants who are actually concerned about the health, welfare and economic well-being of all of the citizens of this state. Not just their buddies.


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Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyeann published on June 11, 2009 1:13 PM.

The "Mental Health" Card: Judicial Extortion was the previous entry in this blog.

Missoula City and County: Will They Combat Organized Crime, Hate Crime, and Corruption? is the next entry in this blog.

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