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Thread: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

  1. #1
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    Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    Los Angeles businessman awarded $38 million in Nevada defamation case

    By Carri Geer Thevenot
    Las Vegas Review-Journal

    A Los Angeles businessman has been awarded $38.3 million in a Nevada defamation case involving anonymous websites that compared him to imprisoned fraudster Bernie Madoff.

    The verdict was returned Wednesday in favor of Bradley Stephen Cohen and his privately held real estate investment firm, Cohen Asset Management Inc., after a seven-day trial in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. Phoenix attorney Robert Mitchell, who represents Cohen, described it as one of the country's largest Internet defamation verdicts.

    "Mr. Mitchell and his client express their heartfelt gratitude for the jury's decision, and believe the jury's verdict sends a very powerful message to those who would abuse the Internet to defame others," Mitchell's law firm, Tiffany & Bosco, P.A., said in a statement.

    Jurors returned the unanimous verdict, which included $3 million in punitive damages, against Northwest Territorial Mint, a Seattle-based company that operates a large facility in western Nevada; its owner, Ross B. Hansen; and employee Steven Firebaugh. U.S. District Judge James Mahan presided over the trial.

    Neither the defendants nor their Seattle attorney, Dean von Kallenbach, could be reached for comment Friday.

    Northwest's website describes it as a full-service mint, a precious metals dealer and a minted products retailer.

    "The United States has fewer than 20 full service mints," according to the website. "Founded in 1984, Northwest Territorial Mint ranks among the largest of these mints, providing all-inclusive custom-minting services to individuals and institutions throughout the world."

    It lists a mailing address in Auburn, Wash., and a "physical address" in Dayton, Nev.

    According to the plaintiffs' trial brief in the defamation case, "Cohen is a self-made man and entrepreneur" who has lived in the Los Angeles area his entire life. He is currently president and chief executive officer of Cohen Asset Management, located in Century City, Calif.

    Hansen and Northwest "are disgruntled former tenants of Auburn Valley Industrial Capital LLC," an affiliated entity of Cohen Asset Management, according to the plaintiffs' brief. Hansen and his company leased property in Washington from Auburn and in 2010 were sued for contaminating it with hazardous substances. The landlord was later awarded $3 million.

    In April 2012, the plaintiffs alleged, the defendants published the website, which compared Cohen and his company to Madoff and his investment securities firm. The website was taken down the following month.

    The defendants soon published a second website,, with similar contents. It includes pictures of both Cohen and Madoff and asks, "Is Bradley S. Cohen the Bernie Madoff of real estate?"

    Mitchell said Cohen has had to deal with its devastating consequences for nearly four years.

    "It caused him huge humiliation," the lawyer said.

    Madoff was the mastermind of the biggest financial fraud in U.S. history — a $65 billion stock market Ponzi scheme that collapsed in 2008. He's now serving a 150-year prison sentence.

    Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at or 702-384-8710. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer

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    Re: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    Here is the Better Business Bureau's report on NWTM.

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    Northwest Territorial Mint

    (800) 344-6468
    Customer Complaints Summary
    248 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 207 closed in last 12 months
    Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
    Advertising/Sales Issues 13
    Billing/Collection Issues 4
    Delivery Issues 166
    Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
    Problems with Product/Service 65
    Total Closed Complaints 248

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    Complaint Breakdown by Resolution
    Complaint Resolution Log (248)
    The complainant verified the issue was resolved to their satisfaction. (90 complaints)
    3/11/2016 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
    3/8/2016 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
    3/7/2016 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
    3/4/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
    2/28/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
    2/18/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
    2/14/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
    2/4/2016 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
    2/3/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
    1/27/2016 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    The business responded to the dispute but failed to make a good faith effort to resolve it. (2 complaints)
    The Business addressed the issues within the complaint, but the consumer did not accept the response, OR BBB has not heard back from the consumer as to their satisfaction. (152 complaints)
    The business failed to respond to the dispute. (4 complaints)

    View Complaints Summary by Resolution Pie Chart on Northwest Territorial Mint
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  3. #3
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    Re: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    Here is a story about owner of NWTM Ross Hansen:


    Tarnished Metals Dealer Makes Comeback -- Auburn Man Says Kent Police, City `Ruined My Life'

    By Danny Westneat

    AUBURN - Ross Hansen - convicted tax cheat, suspected drug-money launderer and confirmed government hater - is back in town after nearly three years in federal prison.

    The flamboyant precious-metals dealer is hardly laying low.

    He has sued the city of Kent for $2.5 million, saying its police officers violated his constitutional rights and drove him out of business five years ago as they chased one of the largest drug busts in King County history.

    He allegedly has threatened the Kent Police officer who arrested him at the time, as well as an angry customer who claims Hansen bilked him of $21,000. Hansen says he has done nothing of the kind.

    And in typical bravado, despite his business bankruptcy and what he says are more than $200,000 in legal fees, Hansen, 34, last fall restarted his mint in Auburn, which makes decorative coins and medallions.

    "It's been a catastrophe, and my reputation is trashed," Hansen said. "But I decided to just come right back into the lion's den.

    "Some people here think I'm a dope peddler or a pothead or worse," he said. "But when I was sitting around in prison, I decided I wanted to come back here, build this business and be a contributing member of the community."

    It may be hard for some longtime residents to imagine Ross Hansen contributing to anything but controversy.

    He dazzled friends and relatives by starting Auburn Precious Metals in 1981 at age 20, building it and the Northwest Territorial Mint into a silver- and gold-coin operation with $2 million a year in sales and 30 employees by 1988.

    But the businessman also had a penchant for defying the law, angering some of his customers and openly fighting with the government.

    In 1985 Hansen sued Auburn over the city's plan to tax his business and others to build a parking lot he said his customers wouldn't use. He lost.

    Two years later, Hansen was arrested by an agent from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms when he tried to sell two machine guns. He served no jail time but, as a felon, was banned from owning weapons.

    Then, in June 1989, Kent Police pulled off the largest drug bust ever in South King County, shutting down a Kent marijuana-growing operation and seizing more than a ton of the drug, valued at $5.4 million, as well as $600,000 in silver, gold and palladium.

    The financial trail led to Auburn and Ross Hansen. He had sold the drug dealer, Ray Hendrickson, almost all of the precious metals. Kent Police suspected Hansen had knowingly laundered up to $1 million in drug money for Hendrickson by taking large cash payments and structuring them into smaller bank deposits. A dozen officers toting shotguns stormed Hansen's downtown office.

    They jailed Hansen for five days. They seized his sales shop, his mint, many of his personal belongings, some guns, several cars and two homes. They took the contents of safe-deposit boxes belonging to nearly 300 customers. They occupied Hansen's businesses for weeks as they sifted through his records and tried to sell off his houses.

    But the case never led to charges against Hansen.

    Police say they got hung up on a technicality.

    In 1989 a new state law was passed that expanded police authority to search drug-related businesses. When police searched Hansen's business, they say, they found evidence that Hansen was profiting from drug money. But they couldn't show Hansen had violated the law during the few months it had been in effect.

    "We could only show that he had broken the law in the past, before 1989," said Capt. Chuck Miller, the Kent officer who arrested Hansen.

    A judge ruled the new law couldn't be applied retroactively and threw out Kent's case.

    Court files show that employees at Auburn Precious Metals said Hansen referred to Hendrickson as "my pot farmer." Further, the drug dealer used to come into the silver and gold shop carrying cash in a paper bag that smelled pungent, like marijuana, employees said in court papers.

    Still, even though a judge initially had given Kent Police permission to raid the businesses, two judges later that year ruled the city could not justify the raid and ordered all of Hansen's property returned.

    Former Kent city administrator Ed Chow acknowledged in an internal memo that Kent Police had bungled the raid, court records show.

    Hansen didn't emerge unscathed. The following year, the federal government used financial records obtained in the raid to charge him with avoiding federal tax-reporting requirements. He also illegally had a gun.

    Hansen pleaded guilty to the charges and was sent to federal prison for nearly three years.

    But he insists he was not guilty and pleaded guilty only because "the IRS had a gun to my head." Now that he's back, he says he has a score to settle with the city.

    "I was denied my personal property, they put my businesses in bankruptcy, and they didn't have a single piece of evidence I was involved in any drug operation," Hansen said. "They ruined me. Even my wife left me over this."

    Hansen's $2.5 million suit against the city was denied in King County Superior Court last fall, when a judge essentially ruled that Kent may have wrongly seized the businesses but that the city had been granted a legitimate warrant to do so. The case is expected to be heard in the Court of Appeals this spring. Written arguments were due to be filed this week.

    Hansen and his attorneys say the case shows what they call the illegal lengths police sometimes go to in searching suspected drug operations and seizing assets.

    "Look, they can rant and rave all they want about how Mr. Hansen is not a good person, but it doesn't change the fact they seized his property without due process of the law," said Tom Ferguson, Hansen's attorney. "They violated the Constitution. It's that serious."

    In the meantime, a verbal war is escalating between Hansen and the city. Last month, he showed up at a City Council meeting demanding the city return some personal items seized five years ago, including coins, a pilot's log and a passport. The city has refused, arguing Hansen's creditors own the items now.

    Although city officials say they are not monitoring Hansen since his return, they are worried about threats they allege he has made.

    "Apparently he has a fantasy to kidnap me, take me out in the woods, chain me to a tree, torture me and leave me to die," said Miller.

    "He also has a plan to fly over City Hall in a helicopter and drop homemade bombs."

    Details of the alleged threats were reported by Hansen's ex-wife in sworn testimony taken as part of Hansen's lawsuit against the city.

    Miller said Hansen has threatened him directly, telling him "I'd better watch out, he'll get even with me."

    A former customer of Auburn Precious Metals, Orville Mallot, said Hansen has threatened to "maim me, put me in the hospital." Mallot and two other customers who claim Hansen bilked them of thousands of dollars have sued to try to recover their money.

    "That guy is a fast talker and a complete fraud," said Margaret Sched, an Auburn woman who paid Hansen $20,100 in 1989 but has never received the silver and palladium she thought she was buying.

    None of this talk seems to faze Ross Hansen. He's back and here to stay, he said, buoyed by people who believe in him. One financier, local businessman Dave Anderson, has lent Hansen more than $70,000 to restart the mint.

    Hansen is on probation from federal prison and argues if he really had threatened to kill anyone, he'd be back in prison immediately.

    "The city is trying to smear me," Hansen said. "They'll do anything to discredit me because they've made such fools of themselves in my case."

    One King County judge agreed that Kent officials have gone too far in their attacks on Hansen. Last year Judge Carol Schapira ordered the city and its lawyers to stop calling Hansen's probation officer and the federal Bureau of Prisons.

    Hansen said the city was spreading rumors about him, trying to get him sent back to prison, while the city's lawyers said they were simply advising the government of Hansen's alleged threats.

    In the meantime, Hansen suggests his critics use a little something he admits lacking at times: perspective.

    "Look what I was convicted of. I didn't rape any children. I didn't sell any drugs. I didn't beat anybody up.

    "They charged me with failure to file currency-transaction reports. You ask most people what that means and they don't even know.

    "The bottom line is that the city of Kent put me out of business and ruined my life. If anybody has been wronged around here, it's me."

    Published Correction Date: 01/20/95 - Items Seized By Police In A 1989 Raid Involving Ross Hansen Of Auburn Included Two Businesses, Personal Belongings, Some Guns And A Business Car. Police Searched Hansen's Home And A Second Car. This Story Incorrectly Stated What Was Seized.

    Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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    Re: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny View Post
    confirmed government hater -
    I like him already...

    I have some secondhand NWTM coins.

    they are nice.

  5. #5
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    Re: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    All of the above.

    Yes they send the product I ordered.
    Yes they kept my money for months.

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    mick silver (17th March 2016)

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    Re: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    Was there more than 1 NWM?

    Looking on the net there are stories about sexual harrassment against employees, and an employee who stole money by placing fake orders or something? If it's the same guy, it seems he may have employed a few people who were there to cause him problems. He seems to have really pissed some people off. I hope he can get a handle on where he went wrong last time with those employees and doesn't hire the same type.
    Great minds discuss Ideas, Average minds discuss Events, Small minds discuss People. E.R.

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    Re: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    I heard he had "delivery problems", but reading the above it seems as he was systematically harassed by government with little legal justification.

  9. #8
    Unobtanium mick silver's Avatar
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    Re: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    same as hoarder deal , took some time but got what I order
    Quote Originally Posted by hoarder View Post
    All of the above.

    Yes they send the product I ordered.
    Yes they kept my money for months.
    “Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.” ~ Outlaw Josey Wales…


  10. #9
    Palladium LastResort's Avatar
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    Re: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    Ordered from NWTM Jan 7 still waiting. I have ordered from them in the past, usually around a month for delivery. Don't think I will order again.
    There be fish in that there creek by'

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    ximmy (17th March 2016)

  12. #10
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    Re: Northwest Territorial Mint in Federal Way Washington loses a defamation lawsuit

    Where is thread discussing NWTM having filed for Ch 11 Bankruptcy

    $55 million owed, including stiffing Pan American Silver?

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