An arrest warrant was issued this morning for Silas Potter Jr., the central figure in the Seattle Public Schools financial scandal, after he failed to appear for arraignment in an alleged scheme to bilk the district out of $250,000.
Potter, who headed the district’s small-business assistance program before moving to Florida, had been scheduled to enter a plea to theft charges filed by King County prosecutors.
Two other defendants, David A. Johnson and Lorrie Kay Sorensen, pleaded not guilty to theft charges during a brief hearing in King County Superior Court.
All three defendants had been summoned for arraignment on the felony charges.
The three were charged Oct. 25 with stealing from the district’s small-business program, which primarily aimed to help women-and-minority owned companies learn how to bid on public projects.
Prosecutors allege that Potter and the two other defendants used a Tacoma nonprofit and a Seattle cleaning company to bill the district for little or no work.
The financial scandal, triggered by a broader range of findings in a state audit, prompted the Seattle School Board to dismiss Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson in March and replace her with Susan Enfield, the district’s chief academic officer, who was named interim superintendent.
Potter, 60, who ran the school district’s Regional Small Business Development Program from 2006 to 2010, is accused of approving payments to the nonprofit and cleaning company in exchange for part of $250,000 they received.