Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc, in Seattle, Washington, USA

Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc, in Seattle, Washington, USA

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This editorial web page contains our opinions of:

Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc
in Seattle, Washington, USA

Craigslist Spammers

Unsatisfactory Marine Boat (outdrive Mercruiser) Repair Work
by Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack,
Seattle (Ballard) Washington

located at
Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Dry Stack
5350 30th Ave. NW, Suite C, Seattle, WA., 98107
By the Chittenden Locks

Chris Ackerman, Birchard and Agee Business Card, Seattle

Having owned a rescue tugboat company for many years, we were accustomed to doing our own repairs on tugs, runabouts, self-powered barges -- any type of vessel one might imagine. In our "retirement years", however, we felt we could afford to have SOMEONE ELSE work on our pleasure craft and light-duty work skiffs. Indeed, we discovered that while we could afford the COST, we couldn't afford the INCOMPETENCE.


You could call this a "Allison Marine, and Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Dry Stack SUCKS site", if you were so inclined:

Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc, in Seattle, Washington, USA, 19 foot Fiberform


We bought a 19 foot Fiberform runabout several years ago (2006), to be used as a tender for our retirement project, which is a marine salvage and rescue consultation service. After a lifetime of actually doing this type of work, we're now old and tired and scared, and we only work with insurance underwriters. The boat turned out to be a nightmare of poor maintenance. We ultimately took the vessel to a backyard mechanic (our opinion) in Kent, Washington, called "Allison Marine", for a new engine and outdrive, and a great deal other work. We were soon to discover that dealing with Allison Marine was a mistake. Over the course of several months and many thousands of dollars, we ran into more disagreements and problems with this outfit than we could have ever imagined.

For instance, when installing the new engine, Allison Marine was advised in no uncertain terms that we did not want any carb problems from an engine that had been sitting for a year (it was a rebuilt long block from Waterhouse). We wanted a NEW carb at any expense. Allison said they understood. When we finally took delivery of the boat it wouldn't idle. It ran fine under load and at higher RPM, but wouldn't idle down less than about 1400 RPM without coughing and dying. The symptoms were classic: Clogged idle circuit in the carb. We've all seen it a million times; in fact we once had it happen on an airplane engine. We simply climbed until we got near the airport, then landed dead-stick.

We went back to Allison Marine with this problem and were advised that the malfunction was most assuredly NOT their fault. Even though they had not installed a new carb as we had ordered, Allison Marine was adamant that the problem lie with the fuel line. It was quarter inch line, instead of three-eighths. Of course this was a ludicrous assertion since a fuel restriction, even if it existed, would show up at higher RPM and under load, not at idle. We argued with Allison about this for perhaps a week. Finally we disassembled the carb, found it clogged, and sent it back to Allison for a credit. We then installed a new carb and the engine ran like a Swiss watch. This was typical of the oddball work that Allison exhibited throughout our entire months-long interaction with them, but that's for another website and another lawsuit, assuming we're not beyond a civil statute of limitations.

We ran the boat on Allison's engine/outdrive install for about 50 hours, at which time we began hearing a heavy thudding noise coming from the rear of the engine. We took the boat in to an outdrive shop that occupied the address shown above, for Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc, but which was not Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc. They diagnosed the problem as a worn gimbal bearing. That was odd, because the gimbal bearing was new, installed by Allison Marine only 50 hours before. But we took them at their word and didn't ask for any further diagnosing. We had this shop pull the outdrive and replace the gimbal bearing. They found numerous other problems, as is nearly always the case with any outdrive, and repaired and upgraded the drive train to the tune of about $2400. We needed to get the boat back to work, and with this expenditure, we were good to go.

Unfortunately the thudding noise was still present and we ran it about 15 more hours, until we could tell for sure that it was getting worse. We took it back to the above address, intending to ask the outdrive repair shop to take another look. Unfortunately, that outfit had gone out of business, but B&A had taken their place in the very same shop. That seemed convenient, so we had Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc pull the outdrive in order to diagnose the problem.

We were adamant to Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc, specifically to Chris Ackerman who did the work on the boat, that the sound was deep, and solid, and sounded like something in the flywheel/coupler area. We came back a week later for Chris's diagnosis, and he announced that he was positive the noise was coming from worn exhaust flappers. These, of course, are little sheet metal plates, installed in the exhaust systems of all or most inboard-outboards, which in theory prevent water from back-flowing up into the engine during a hard backing of the boat, or other conditions. They're generally coated with rubber to keep them quiet, and if that rubber wears away or is eroded, the sound of sheet metal clacking against the insides of the exhaust system can produce an annoying noise. We didn't think this was the case because, for one thing, the exhaust flappers had been installed new about 65-69 hours prior, and the exhaust system had never been overheated or run without water, which can burn off that rubber coating. That meant that there was really no logical reason for the flappers to be making noise. Additionally, it simply didn't sound like that kind of noise to us. It sounded SOLID, not like sheet metal tapping against aluminum. Chris Ackerman was grilled for some time about this discrepancy, but he swore that he had even removed the starter and had pried this way and that way and every possible way on the flywheel, to be absolutely certain the flywheel and/or coupler weren't loose or broken. He was asked about this many times -- at least six; perhaps nine. His answer was the same each time: He was positive that the only sound coming from that area was due to worn out exhaust flappers. We simply didn't buy it, but the diagnosis was on Chris's head, and we had no choice but to believe him. If he was wrong, we were confidant he'd make it right. He was, we thought, a "nice guy".

While the outdrive was off we discovered that the gimbal bearing was bad yet again. It was replaced by Chris. Total bill for the gimbal bearing replacement and diagnosis of the noise was about $540. Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc was paid in cash, so they voluntarily discounted the bill to about $480. The work was broken down as 2.5 hours of diagnosis @ $110/hr, and the remainder allotted to the changing of the gimbal bearing. We were supplied a receipt for that amount.

The cost of replacing the worn exhaust flappers was prohibitive, since the outdrive and engine must be pulled to replace these $20 parts on this particular configuration. Even then, exhaust flappers ARE prone to wear and failure, and we didn't want to be stuck replacing them every couple of years. We elected to install a complete, new, through-hull exhaust system. That bypasses the Mercruiser flappers once and for all. Over the next weeks that installation was effected by us at a PARTS cost of $1700 and change.

Immediately after installing the new exhaust system, the boat was tested on the launch ramp. Even though the old flappers had been completely bypassed, the exact same, solid clunking was evident from the rear of the engine. Clearly, the problem had not been worn exhaust flappers as Chris Ackerman had so adamantly and insistently diagnosed.

We took the boat back to Chris and scheduled to have the outdrive and engine removed so as to get to the bottom of the problem once and for all. We were given a date about a week in advance. This was becoming a problem, because the boat hadn't been available to work for many weeks.

We did return on the appointed day, to discover that the boat hadn't been touched. We obtained a new due-date and promised to come back in a week, which we did.

Again we found the boat untouched. At that time Chris advised us that he was not willing to do the work on the boat "because of its age". We didn't even bother to argue, but simply picked up the boat and left.

A few days later another mechanic pulled the outdrive and engine. It was discovered that the flappers were in perfect condition. All of the rubber coating was perfectly intact. It was also discovered that only two nuts were still attached to the six studs that hold the flywheel/coupler to the rear crank flange. Those two nuts were completely loose; all other nuts were missing. The flywheel could be moved fore and aft at least half an inch using one finger. Clearly, Chris Ackerman's diagnosis was as wrong as wrong can get. And as a result of following his diagnosis, we had needlessly expended an additional $1700 in exhaust upgrades, and lost perhaps $1000 in missed work, not to mention many hours of our labor to install the new system. Here's what the new mechanic said in his initial e-mail to us:

"…so the cause of all the probs are all but 2 fly wheel nuts are off i can move the fly 1/2 inch side to side. who did your work because i think they were on crack....did any of this come with any guarantee from this shop? i wouldn't let em work on my flashlight lots of shitty work from what i can see...lots of finger tight bolts..."

At this point we had invested, including new engine and outdrive and many other repairs, tops, electronics and upgrades, $26,400 in a $3500 boat. Clearly it was time to cut our losses and get away from outdrives and those who purport to repair them, altogether, forever. Years before, we had operated a self-powered barge as part of our company's machinery complement, and had gone through eleven (11) outdrives in its twin engine installation over about four years. That should have taught us the outdrive lesson; this DID teach us the outdrive lesson. Just say "no" to outdrives of any age, any manufacture.

Allison Marine had installed the flywheel and coupler to this engine just before we bought it, by their own admission. Certainly the flywheel/coupler nuts could not have been even torqued down properly, let alone Loctite'd. They were simply tightened finger-tight, and forgotten. It was our repeated experience at Allison Marine to witness young, highly inexperienced boys working on the boats and engines, while the shop charged $110/hour for "certified" work and paid them probably minimum wage as "apprentices". This particular problem would have never arisen, had Allison Marine properly mated the flywheel and coupler to the rear crank flange. This is Allison Marine's fault.

We stripped the electronics, tops, etc., and sold the Fiberform to the new mechanic for $1000, representing a loss of about $17,000; we'd had enough of outdrives and outdrive repair facilities. We wanted the boat out of our lives forever with no delay. The new mechanic, now the owner, re bolted the flywheel, and reinstalled the "worn out" flappers. They run silently, of course, because there was NOTHING WRONG WITH THEM, and the boat is in service today, at least to the degree that anyone can ever say an I-O boat is "in service".

We had paid Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack, by their own admission, the sum of $275 for 2.5 hours of diagnosis. Obviously Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack DID NOT PERFORM A USEFUL SERVICE. It's cut and dried. We can find no theory with which to explain Chris Ackerman's assertion that the flywheel "wouldn't budge". It was as loose as loose can get without actually falling off (see photo below), and that's not an "opinion", it's a FACT. We can think of only one scenario which might have caused Chris to think the flappers were worn out, and that is that not all flappers are completely covered by a rubber coating; many are so coated only around their edges, where they meet with the inside of the sealing surfaces in the Y-pipe. If that's the case, Chris is still at fault in our view, as he should have known that some flappers will display bare metal when viewed through a bore scope, even when they are brand new.

On 8-28-09 we wrote an appallingly polite letter to Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack, explaining the situation, and asking for a refund of only $275 -- the amount they charged us for the work they did not properly perform. We felt this was absurdly fair. Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack was PAID to perform a service; Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack DID NOT perform that service satisfactorily; therefore, Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack isn't entitled to keep the money they CHARGED for that service. It's a bloody simple concept. Most gradeschoolers understand this; sadly, not some adults. Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack was politely advised that we would file against them in Small Claims court in Seattle if they did not refund that amount.


When we wrote that letter and sent it by registered mail, we were still willing to cut Chris Ackerman and Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack some slack. We liked Chris a great deal, and we didn't yet believe that Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack was a dishonest and/or incompetent business.

Unfortunately, Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack has steadfastly refused to reply to us in any way whatsoever, and we are now forced to file suit against them. We are undecided as yet if we will file in Small Claims and ask only for the $275 figure, or if we should bring them into District court and ask for that plus some portion of the money and time we invested in a new exhaust system which was never needed. And there's the issue of lost revenue.

Had Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack replied to us with reason or logic, or even common human courtesy, and explained their position, as indefensible as it is, we might have been inclined to try to find a way to work with them. The fact that they have simply thrown us under the bus tells us what kind of business they are: the lowest kind.

We no longer have any respect whatsoever for this outfit or for Chris Ackerman.

FACT: Birchard & Agee Marine Services charged us for a service;
FACT: Birchard & Agee Marine Services didn't satisfactorily perform the service;
FACT: Birchard & Agee Marine Services refuses to acknowledge our complaint in any way;
FACT: Birchard & Agee Marine Services refuses to refund money paid for a service they did not properly perform.


This is an arrogance that we will never tolerate. In fact, this peculiar brand of arrogance enrages and disgusts us far in excess of merely being bamboozled out of some cash. There are honorable businesses who make mistakes, and there are dishonorable businesses who make mistakes. The former at least makes an effort to settle a matter before being dragged into court; the latter's sense of honesty is so putrid that it simply DOESN'T CARE if it makes a mistake. We submit that, in our view, Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack is of the latter type.

We'll append the outcome of Birchard & Agee Marine Services & Drystack's trial. We are thoroughly disgusted by any company that acts this way, and companies are made up of PEOPLE.



We see that this scurrilous outfit has taken up a regimen of mercilessly spamming the "Boats for Sale" section of Craigslist, meaning that they advertise their "services" under "boats for sale". That kind of nonsense by unscrupulous businesses is ruining Craigslist. They've been flagged off countless times and they've been made aware of the Craigslist rules which expressly forbid them to do this, but it's clear that Birchard and Agee simply doesn't care. We've noted that very often when a local business is reduced to schlepping spam-ads on Craigslist, it means that business is desperate. Businesses usually find themselves in a state of desperation due to poor or inept management. We feel that, to label Birchard and Agee as "ineptly managed" would be in our view a gross understatement. As most Craigslist users already know, Craigslist is quickly becoming unusable for the purpose it was intended, because too many greedy, desperate little businesses have taken to spamming the private "for sale" sections with spammy ads for commercial services. "Some" of these stupid louts will hammer a "for sale" section 25 or 50 times per day with absurd advertisements for commercial services. Craigslist provides a section exactly for this called, oddly enough, "Marine Services", but these skunky enterprises seem to think THEY are "just too special" to follow the rules imposed on everyone else. This has the effect of pushing legitimate users away. These companies are absolutely killing Craigslist, but like any other Goddamned parasite, they're too stupid and/or amoral to care, and who wants to trust their boat or their car or their dollars to a stupid or amoral business? No one. Here's just one of Birchard and Agee's obnoxious ads, plastered yet again into the "Boats for Sale" section where it is expressly forbidden. Note that, at the end of their spam-ad, Birchard and Agee has chosen to display the comment: "it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests". It seems Birchard and Agee thinks it's perfectly ok to spam the living Jesus out of the regular users of Craigslist, yet THEY don't want to be bothered by spam themselves. We call these folks "human garbage".



Date: 2010-07-19, 9:51AM PDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

DRY STACK BOAT MOORAGE. Enhance your boating pleasure and have peace of mind knowing your boat is safe and in a dry stack rack. Convenient, economical and smart. Dry-Stack is the way to go, Launches, in and outs are free. In water moorage, no launch delays. Just call ahead & your boat will be in the water waiting for you. Convenient parking in secured facility. On site repair service. Introductory offers. Call Bridgett at 206 213 9999.


Please check our website out for additional information

  • Location: BALLARD / SEATTLE
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 1851217368


UPDATE 12-20-2010:

We never did sue these sons of bitches. Time gets short. Victims want to forget. We've tried HARD to forget our experiences with Birchard & Agee Marine, but they seem determined to remind us and to inflame our anger. After nearly two years of trying to forget our losses at the hands of this miserable company, we are suddenly contacted by their "attorney" as follows:


Bill De Voe
I’ve received a message in a very roundabout way that you have tried to contact me through a [restaurant] in Seattle.
What’s up?


Thank you for following up.  I would like to talk with you about Birchard & Agee Marine.  Please give me a call or let me know how I can call you.
William D. DeVoe
Holmes Weddle Barcott
Wells Fargo Center, Suite 2600
999 3rd Ave.
Seattle Washington, 98104-4011


De Voe
If this is regarding the website review of my experiences with them, then no, and I’ll direct you to cease and desist attempting contact, especially through third parties with whom I am not associated and who have no interest in hearing from you. The website was cleared through our First Amendment attorney. The website is fully documented. We’re more than prepared to defend the content in court. My opinion of that incompetent shop hasn’t changed. The business was notified via registered mail of the website nearly two years ago.
Anything else you’d like to discuss?


Things got off track a while ago because there was no face to face or voice to voice communication.  I am offering to do that with the hope of clear communication between the two of us.
William D. DeVoe
Holmes Weddle Barcott
Wells Fargo Center Suite 2600
999 3rd Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 292-8008
(206) 340-0289 Fax


If you are unwilling to communicate with me over the telephone or in person, will you please provide me the name and contact information of the first amendment attorney. 
William D. DeVoe
Holmes Weddle Barcott
Wells Fargo Center Suite 2600
999 3rd Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 292-8008
(206) 340-0289 Fax


My original reply to you stands.
That’s enough.
We’re still as angry as we can get with regard to that outfit, and you have enraged us further with unwanted contact.
Cease and desist contacting us.


This webpage is like whale blubber. The more Birchard & Agee Marine wants to chew on it, the bigger it'll get. Try to imagine the sheer gall and insolence of a company that treats folks as they treated us, and then rather than stand up straight on their own cloven hooves and apologize for their reprehensible business practices, they send their attorney after us nearly two years after the fact. We rest our case. Further contact will elicit an instantaneous criminal complaint of harassment, and ALL future developments in this case will be painstakingly detailed below. We're sick to effing death of screw-ups who somehow feel that all they have to do is pull a few sleazy legal stunts to get their screw-ups hidden from public view. It. Won't. Work. Here.

This guy, De Voe, perhaps wanted to try to intimidate us into pulling this page. The best have tried to intimidate us -- we stand by the truth to the death. Hewlett Packard learned that after they'd spent a reported $60,000 trying to intimidate us into shutting down our review of them and their products. Many others have spent lesser amounts.

Or, De Voe might have thought he could offer us what we feel Birchard and Agee owes us in return for dropping this page. While we'd be happy to append a mention of any payment to us to this page, it (the page) cannot be purchased for any price, and for the record, we'll no longer accept the two hundred odd dollar amount as restitution -- we want that amount plus the $1700 for parts, plus our time.

Or, De Voe may think he actually has a case here. We would be MOST heartened if he'd try to file suit. It'll cost him time and money, and it'll cost Birchard and Agee time and money, and the page will stand, albeit inflated in size many times because of the added court documentation, and all of that will please us greatly.

By De Voe's very mention of wanting to contact our 1st Amendment attorney, he has tipped his hand -- his purpose is not to try to set this matter right; his purpose is to try to affect the dissemination of this information. And that's about as sleazy as it gets.

Restitution would be nice, but honestly, this isn't about the money. It's about people who do the right thing, and people who will go to their bloody grave steadfastly refusing to do the right thing, and it's about how these two diametrically opposed trains of thought affect the very fabric of American society, and it's about whether or not this country can even survive when nearly every Goddamned business seems to be out for what it can get with no moral compass whatsoever.

We're constantly amazed at the skullduggery of louts who will never, ever simply stand up for their own actions. An APOLOGY appended to this page (and a check) from this outfit would go a thousand times farther in restoring their public credibility than any il-conceived 1st Amendment court case they are stupid enough to think they can win. But human nature is what it is, and folks will forever scheme to beat or trick the system instead of owning up to their imbecilic mistakes. Most kids back on the farm or ranch learn these simple, basic lessons by about the age of eight. When you screw up, don't hide it. Stand up! Say, "I screwed up, and I'm sorry, and I'm willing to make restitution, and I will try harder next time not to screw up again." That's it! Then, people say, "Thank you! You screwed up. You took it. You are trying to make it right. That shows at least a basic concept of honor and decency. Maybe I'll give you another try sometime. Or maybe I won't. But at least I won't go the rest of my days thinking of you as human sewage."


UPDATE 12-21-2010:

Within 72 hours of sending their junkyard dog after us, Birchard and Agee is back spamming the "Boats for Sale" section of Craigslist with ads for SERVICES and STORAGE. To us, this defines the character of that business once and for all:

Birchard and Agee Dry Storage and Marine Services


UPDATE 1-15-2011:

As unbelievable as it seems, there has been yet another development in this otherwise and heretofore simple, basic case. On 1-14-11 we were notified that this attorney, DeVoe, had actually gone sniffing around and contacted YET ANOTHER personal acquaintance of ours who is not now, nor has ever been, involved in this case in any way. At this point, we see DeVoe's behavior as unwanted and obnoxious, bordering on the legal definition of harassment and stalking. We sick of it. Now we;re angry. We're looking for reasons to take formal action against the guy. Enough is enough. Birchard and Agee is apparently approving these scurrilous moves, and by that approval one could draw the conclusion that this is the kind of stupid, counter-productive tactic they prefer -- hence, the reason we're at odds with them in the first place! They appear to be incapable of acting appropriately in any context at all.

As it happens, the person DeVoe contacted this time, is an old friend of ours, and an attorney we used years ago on many First Amendment issues, Elena Garella. Why did DeVoe contact her? We've no clue, except that we've seen sleazy attorneys pull this stunt in the past and it has always been undertaken as a form of harassment, in hopes of costing the victim a few bucks in attorney's fees to get it stopped.

But there's a twist in this particular case: Elena informs us that she believes DeVoe 'is not an evil human being' (not a direct quote but that's the gist of her sentiment). If true, that would be nearly a first in our experience. Elena tells us that she believes DeVoe is simply doing the best he can for his client -- which is, what? To cause us grief and cost us money and to try to intimidate us into.....what? --Removing our legally posted editorial review disseminating our experiences with Birchard and Agee and our opinions of those experiences?

Elena suggests we go ahead and talk to Devoe. We're thinking about it. To do so would be, for us, akin to kneeling down in the mud and trying to hold a conversation with a slug. Yes, Elena suggests he's not evil, and Elena's opinion carries great weight with us. But by God this is asking a lot. Here's a guy who seems to be working overtime to attempt to strip us of our Constitutional right to free speech, even running around contacting our PERSONAL FRIENDS, and we're supposed to make nice with him? To Hell with that.

What could De Voe possibly want to talk about?

Here are some possibilities:

He wants to ask us nicely to take down this page, saying that the company now feels "real bad" about how we were treated and has vowed to never screw another customer. Well, who cares? The damage is done. Maybe they WOULD never screw another customer, but they sure as hell screwed US, and that's now part of their permanent Karmic record! You can maybe atone for it, but you can never erase it! We lost a small fortune due to their stupidity. Our sense of humanity in general suffered GREAT damage when they wouldn't grant us the simple human dignity of a simple reply. But a long time has passed now. We've choked down our losses, both financial and social and we've moved on. We frankly don't want to think about these pieces of human feces ever again. DeVoe has ALREADY done us a huge disservice by even mentioning them to us in passing. We don't believe this company has learned a single Goddamned thing from this experience. They ignored us for a year and a half. Why do they want to talk at this late date? We suggest that it's not to massage our bruised sensibilities because it's the RIGHT thing to do -- they want only to try to get the truth about them un-disseminated because it's embarrassing and perhaps it's costing them revenue. Too bad! They cost US revenue! And they didn't give a damned shit about it for a year and a half! Why on God's Green Earth should WE care in return?! It's just tough cookies! Too bad! We. Don't. Care!That's our view on this. If Birchard and Agee didn't want people to talk about their actions, they shouldn't have partaken of those questionable actions. It's simple cause and effect. We're sorry they never learned that. Most three year olds have figured it out.

Maybe Devoe wants to try to scare us into removing this content by threatening us with a lawsuit. He would know beyond all doubt that he could not possibly win it, but he could cost us ten grand to beat him. Maybe that's all he wants -- to cost us ten grand. Maybe this is about nothing more than revenge by this scurrilous bag of fucking rats at Birchard and Agee. We're ready to go to court. We WILL go to court. We WILL beat these miserable apes and the court proceedings documents will inflate the size of this website by 8000%. We've seen it before. Court proceedings for the SIMPLEST of conflicts generate thousands and thousands of pages of legal nonsense (that's how attorneys make money). All will be posted here, duly converted to searchable text. That ploy by DeVoe accomplishes nothing but to make the page appear that much larger on the radar of the national consciousness. In fact, it will go from being a single page, to being an entire website unto its own.

Or maybe DeVoe's thinking he can find a crooked judge to rule against us in Seattle? Surely a judge like that shouldn't be too hard to find. We've seen some doozies -- Seattle is famous for it. But there are always appeals, and there is the fact that we will defend our right to say truthful things and to voice our opinions based on facts with our dying breaths. We don't mean that figuratively; we mean it literally. Our right to free speech is truly the only real right we have left in this country. Without it life is not worth living. Period. So what would DeVoe and Birchard/Agee have to gain by suing us? The worst they can do is cost us ten grand -- and themselves ten grand (or more likely thirty), which is, we're sure, just fine with William De Voe. The page will survive it. THEIR costs would be unimaginably higher if by some crooked fluke they won. Neither DeVoe nor Birchard/Agee can benefit here. Oops! We're wrong! DE VOE can benefit! Win or lose, he still gets paid! And that is the very backbone of today's American legal system. It is predicated on amorality and sleaze. Law school teaches it. Law school teaches that if it is even remotely, technically legal, it must automatically be therefore moral. Nothing could be further from the truth, but lawyers who don't really subscribe to any recognizable doctrine of morality greedily glom on to that philosophy and run merrily through their careers sleeping just fine. --Makes you hope even more fervently for a "judgement day". Most attorneys these days DON'T KNOW if they can ACTUALLY win a case, and they DON'T CARE! Why should they? Either way, they still get paid!


Perhaps DeVoe wants to offer us some money to remove this page. If he is actually so stupid as to believe he can buy our morality, he can go fuck himself with a cactus. Sorry for the visual, but strongly-stupid actions require strongly offensive descriptions. Our deep sense of right and wrong has never been for sale. It is not for sale now. And it would not be in this man's best interests to insult us by insinuating he thinks our morality MIGHT be for sale. Few things would enrage....incite....and motivate us more than such an insult. Want to see us wearing sandwich boards at the entrance to Birchard and Agee's driveway adjacent to the Chittenden Locks? Insult us one more Goddamned time.

So what does DeVoe want? In our opinion, he wants to feed his client a song and dance about how he's "pretty sure" he can get this page removed by some trickery and deceit in the courts, and thereby keep the cash moving towards himself for his ongoing efforts. We don't believe he knows a damned thing about First Amendment law (he's a maritime attorney). We believe he will probably tell his clients just about anything to keep the cash flowing from them to him. And besides, even if he did get "this" page removed, it would only reappear at the hands of others who are so disgusted by the chicanery of this company that they would take it upon themselves to post their OWN websites in other countries using this same material. Believe it or not, some people really are offended by skullduggery and will act against it. Not every preppy yuppy in America has lost their spine -- only most.

So what to do? Take Elena's advice and talk to DeVoe? Or ignore his nonsense and just wait for the suit? We would never, ever talk to him in person, or by any means involving voice communication. Lawyers are slippery. Lawyers LIE. Maybe DeVoe doesn't, but how do we know? We like things IN WRITING. We don't want to be put to the trouble and expense of a transcription. We don't like misunderstandings and "he-said, she-said" BS after the fact. Does DeVoe have a proposal not mentioned above? Something we haven't thought of? Then he should submit it straight-up. He has our e-mail address. We'll grant him ONE more contact before we call the police. We suggest he make his pitch a good one. What we REALLY want here is to never think about this miserable Goddamned company again. No amount of money would convince us that this outfit has grown one single morality cell in their tiny reptilian brains. We would suggest that if DeVoe TRULY wants his client to benefit in some way, he find some way to convince us his client is worth even a molecule of worm spit and that they have TRULY changed their ways. We don't believe he can do that. We don't believe he WANTS to do that. But because of our immense respect for Elena Garella's opinion of DeVoe, we'll grant him one last chance. DeVoe's reply, if any, will be appended below.


UPDATE 1-25-2011:

We received NO RESPONSE from William De Voe to the above offer.
However, during a dinner with Elena Garella it was suggested that we offer De Voe one last (last) opportunity to respond and resolve this case. On 1-25-2011 we did make that offer, politely and professionally, in writing, and we promised conditional confidentiality of that offer and for any response. Our offer to communicate expires close of business on January 28, 2011. We do not expect a productive response from William De Voe.


UPDATE 1-28-2011, 1812hrs Pacific:

Again we've received no response whatsoever to our second and final offer (above) to communicate and/or negotiate with William De Voe re the Birchard and Agee case and that offer is now herewith withdrawn. In our view, this second refusal to negotiate the matter proves beyond all doubt that neither B&A nor De Voe had any intention of trying to resolve this case at any time. They've been given two opportunities, in writing, to either accomplish a resolution, or at least attempt one; they have blown off each offer. Clearly, at this late date, their only interest in sending an attorney after us a year and a half after the fact was to cause us grief, and hopefully money, as punishment for lawfully disseminating our experiences with them. This is exactly as we had surmised in the beginning, and it's why we were loathe to even enter into a dialogue with William De Voe. We've watched many, many companies attempt this very same sleazy tactic, using some amoral and/or gullible "attorney" as a hired gun. This outfit seems to have held true to form. In conclusion, we offer this: Once a skunk, always a skunk. These folks can no longer claim in any legal setting that we refused to negotiate. Further unwanted contact by either of these entities, B&A, or De Voe, whether directly, indirectly, by telephone, email, letter, smoke signal, telepathy, carrier pigeon, including the pestering of our friends, employees, employers, or acquaintences, whether directly, indirectly, by telephone, email, letter, smoke signal, telepathy, carrier pigeon,will earn B&A and/or De Voe a formal antiharassment complaint in Seattle and a letter to the Washington BAR (which will accomplish less than nothing, but at least it will be on record).

Elena had suggested that it is sometimes possible for a company to learn from its mistakes, and that sometimes a company should be given some slack when it does. She cited an almost identical problem she had with an antique camera shop near the University District that so offended her, she wound up in front of that business with a huge banner describing the problem. We took her tale to heart, and allowed that perhaps, just perhaps, though we doubted it, Birchard and Agee "could" be capable of learning. Unfortunately, we've now abandon that hope.

Good effing grief.


FINAL UPDATE 3-23-2011:

Birchard & Agee has made an offer through our attorney of $2000 in exchange for our removal of this page. Unfortunately, that amount does not even fully cover our actual cash expenses due to their faulty work, nor does it begin to address our labor, loss of revenue, attorney's costs, loss of value and wasted time. The offer was declined and our attorney was instructed not to accept any further communications from this outfit or its attorney(s). It seems that any interaction with this company is just one knock in the head after another. Enough is enough.




Birchard and Agee Marine Service Inc, in Seattle, Washington, USA