Developer files $2 million suit - El Dorado County Named
A Sandpoint developer is suing the states of Idaho and California, and various public and private individuals for alleged constitutional rights violations.
Daniel Jay Tonnemacher is seeking up to $2 million in damages, according to a lawsuit filed in Idaho’s U.S. District Court on Friday.
Public records here and in California paint starkly opposing portraits of Tonnemacher. One image portrays Tonnemacher as a disgraced developer with a criminal record, while the other portrays him as victim of government persecution and corruption.
Tonnemacher, 63, said in the suit that he was falsely accused of an unspecified felony offense in El Dorado County, Calif., about a decade ago and was unlawfully coerced into entering a plea of guilt.
Tonnemacher’s allegation appears to coincide with his prosecution in California in 2004 for grand theft, forgery and practicing architecture without a license.
Tonnemacher argues he was “legally kidnapped” by being forced to travel from Idaho to California to face the underlying criminal charges and later alleged probation violations, which he contends were unfounded.
Tonnemacher said in the suit that his probation in the California criminal case was transferred to Idaho and he was made to do “illegal and immoral” remodeling work at the Bonner County Jail as part of his community service. Tonnemacher further contends he was secretly flown to California and became involved in a shooting incident while being driven to the jail in Placerville to face the alleged probation violations.
Bonner County Magistrate Court records indicate Tonnemacher was jailed for resisting arrest when he was picked up on a warrant for the alleged probation violations in 2009, but the charge was dismissed in light of his ongoing prosecution in California.
Tonnemacher alleges that he was tortured in California and his right to due process was repeatedly trampled during his ordeal. He lived on the streets of South Lake Tahoe and Southern California when he wasn’t incarcerated with unreasonably high bail, the suit said.
Tonnemacher also contends the stress of his ordeal may have contributed to the death of his father and court officials in Bonner County have violated his mother’s civil rights in civil proceedings.
Tonnemacher asserts that states are unable to “police themselves.”
“The only way we can get the states to follow the Federal Law is to sue them in Federal Court. We should not have to do this, but if I don’t, no one will,” Tonnemacher wrote in the suit.
Tonnemacher is acting as his own legal counsel because he is bankrupt, although he is seeking the appointment of a taxpayer-funded attorney to help him pursue his claims.
Idaho defendants in the suit include the sheriff’s office, Sandpoint Police, district and magistrate court judges, attorneys and probation officials.