Topic: James Watkins
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December 3, 2012 at 5:05 PM
A Public Disclosure Commission review has determined that state Auditor-elect Troy Kelley violated a handful of minor regulations while disclosing his finances as a state representative.
But the commission also found that other allegations made by Republicans during a nasty campaign for state auditor were unfounded.
PDC Chairman Amit Ranade has scheduled a hearing for Thursday to settle the case and potentially determine a punishment. The maximum fine is $500.
The PDC review found that Kelley, a Democrat from University Place, failed to file a revision to his personal financial affairs statement in a timely manner. It also found that one of Kelley’s financial statements failed to disclose a set of required facts about a company he partially owned, the mortgage document-tracking company, United National, LLC.
“The PDC staff is recommending a minor violation,” Kelley said through a spokesman. “I’ve been working with the PDC staff to ensure everything is filed correctly.”
Indeed, PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson described the allegations as minor.
They came to the agency’s attention from a lengthy complaint filed in September by Republican State Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur. At the time, Republicans were seeking to highlight a variety of financial issues in Kelley’s past, including a 2010 case in which he paid an undisclosed settlement to a business customer who accused him of ”fraudulently transferring funds, intentional spoliation of evidence, shady business schemes, tax evasion, and hiding from creditors” $3.8 million in newly formed accounts.
Kelley beat Redmond business-development consultant James Watkins 53 percent to 47 percent last month.
November 9, 2012 at 10:02 AM
James Watkins, the Republican candidate for state auditor, conceded the race to Democratic Rep. Troy Kelley on Friday.
“It does not appear that I will prevail in my run for State Auditor,” Watkins said in a statement. “It is my sincere hope that Troy Kelley has a successful term and capably fills the vacuum left by Brian Sonntag.”
Sonntag, the current state auditor, is retiring.
Kelley, D-University Place, was ahead of Watkins, 52 to 48 percent, in Thursday’s vote.
The auditor’s office conducts financial and legal compliance audits of state and local government, and also tries to find efficiencies in state government.
October 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM
A new Elway Poll finds Washington’s gubernatorial contest remains tight, but suggests Republicans are doing better with women voters.
The latest survey shows Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna with a two-point lead (47 to 45 percent) over his Democratic opponent Jay Inslee. The poll surveyed 451 “likely voters,” which pollster Stuart Elway defined as people who’ve voted at least once in the past four elections. It has a 4.5 percent margin of error, plus or minus. The poll was conducted Oct. 18-21.
A KCTS 9 University of Washington poll released last week showed Inslee with a 47 to 46 percent lead over McKenna. That poll surveyed 644 likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.
Elway’s poll found a shift among women voters. In September, the poll showed 52 percent of women identified themselves as Democrats and 20 percent as Republicans. This month, 39 percent said they were Democrats and 31 percent said Republican. However, Elway changed his methodology for this poll, surveying only likely voters. Last time, he surveyed registered voters.
There were some other interesting tidbits in the survey. While 58 percent of Inslee’s voters said they considered him to be the better candidate, more of McKenna’s voters, 66 percent, said he was better.
Also, 16 percent of Inslee voters said the main reason to vote for him was their dislike of McKenna. But 11 percent of McKenna voters said the main reason to vote for him was their dislike of Inslee.
In other races:
Attorney General: Democrat Bob Ferguson was leading Republican Reagan Dunn 38 to 36 percent, with 25 percent undecided.
Secretary of State: Democrat Kathleen Drew was tied with Republican Kim Wyman at 34 percent with, with 32 percent undecided.
Auditor: Democrat Troy Kelley was leading Republican James Watkins 34 to 29 percent, with 37 percent undecided.
Lt. Governor: Democrat Brad Owen was leading Republican Bill Finkbeiner 42 to 32 percent, with 26 percent undecided.
All the ballot measures – same sex marriage, marijuana legalization, charter schools and Tim Eyman’s initiative to restate a two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases – were leading. But none of them had support over the 50 percent mark.
October 1, 2012 at 6:31 PM
Ever since the news broke that state auditor hopeful Troy Kelley settled a potentially embarrassing lawsuit last year, the candidate has been trying to downplay the incident.
“This is standard business practice,” Kelley said last week in an endorsement interview with The Seattle Times editorial board, referring to the suit, which accused him of “fraudulently transferring funds, intentional spoliation of evidence, shady business schemes, tax evasion, and hiding from creditors” $3.8 million in newly formed accounts.
But Kelley has so far declined to say how much he paid to settle what he calls a “nuisance lawsuit,” citing the settlement’s confidentiality agreement.
Now, the business customer that got money in the settlement says it’s willing to revoke the confidentiality agreement and make the details of the deal known — if Kelley agrees.
Scott Smith, a Seattle attorney representing Old Republic National Title Co., sent a letter to Kelley last Friday asking if he is willing to waive the confidentially agreement.
“Troy Kelley has been commenting that the lawsuit was frivolous, that this happens all the time — implying the lawsuit is without merit,” Smith said in an interview with The Seattle Times. “If that’s true, then he ought to be interested in disclosing to the public what the (settlement) amount was. Old Republic Title is willing to do that.”
Kelley, the owner of an escrow-services company and a three-term Democratic state representative from University Place, received the letter Friday, according to campaign spokeswoman Cynara Lilly. He hasn’t yet decided whether or how to respond, she said.
“Beyond Old Republic and Troy Kelley, there were multiple parties involved in the lawsuit in question. Some of those parties would have to waive confidentiality as well to make any release, which is highly unlikely.” Lilly wrote in an email. “And in any case, the terms of the settlement are under a confidentiality agreement designed to protect the privacy, and in some cases, the personal information, of all parties involved and thousands of individuals.”
“The important thing here is that the underlying business dispute in question was resolved long ago and has no bearing on the race for auditor,” she added.
Kelley’s Republican opponent, Redmond business development consultant James Watkins, is seeking to make it an issue in the race. He has repeatedly brought up the lawsuit, along with another suit in which Kelley won an undisclosed settlement, as evidence that Kelley is unfit to serve.
Watkins won the August primary, although Kelley and two other Democrats split a majority (54 percent) of the vote.
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