State auditor candidate was once accused of theft
Thursday, September 6, 2012
OLYMPIA — The Democratic candidate for state auditor was once accused of stealing artwork from the offices of a company where he previously worked, according to court documents publicized by his opponent Thursday.
That allegation was one of several questionable details raised about state Rep. Troy Kelley in three civil lawsuits over the past 11 years. Campaign workers for his Republican rival, James Watkins, uncovered many of the court documents and posted them online.
In the 2001 court case from Los Angeles County, Calif., Kelley sued The First American Corp. for wrongful termination and defamation. He complained that one company official had told other managers that he was stealing and embezzling from the company.
The company later submitted surveillance footage of a man taking a painting from the company's offices. First American lawyers claimed it was Kelley, though Kelley said he wasn't in the area that day. Shortly after the submission of footage, Kelley dismissed his lawsuit.
Kelley, a Tacoma lawmaker first elected in 2006, said at a meeting with reporters Thursday said the allegations against him were false. He said he did not steal artwork and disagreed with the characterization that he was on security footage.
"It's not me in the photo," Kelley said.
Kelley noted that he was never charged with a crime and said he moved to dismiss his lawsuit because he received a financial settlement from the company.
In another case from 2009, Kelley was sued by one of his clients, Old Republic Title, over how the two worked together. In 2011, the two sides agreed to settle the dispute.