A day after his federal trial ended in an acquittal on one count and a deadlocked jury on 14 others, state Auditor Troy Kelley returned to work.
Jurors acquitted Kelley Tuesday of making a false statement. They could not agree on the other 14 federal counts brought against him, including charges of theft, money laundering and tax evasion in connection with a real-estate records business Kelley owned before his 2012 election to the auditor post.
Kelley, a Democrat, earns $120,459 annually. He had been drawing pay during the trial, according to the Auditor’s Office. He has said he will not run for re-election in November.
Through Sheri Sawyer, deputy director for the Auditor’s Office, Kelley on Wednesday declined a request for an interview. Kelley was working Wednesday out of the Auditor’s Office’s Tumwater building, Sawyer said.
“As far as we know, he has every intention of serving out his term,” Sawyer said.
Many state officials had hoped he’d be gone. Among those who have called for his resignation were Gov. Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark, Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.
After a grand jury last April handed down a federal indictment against him, Kelley refused those calls and instead took a seven-month unpaid leave of absence to focus on clearing his name.
When talk stirred in the Legislature about impeaching him for taking leave, Kelley made an abrupt return in December to Olympia.
Under state law, felons must vacate elected state offices. In the event of a guilty verdict, preparations had been under way to find Kelley’s replacement.
Inslee — who would be tasked with appointing an auditor until the next election — had been thinking about a replacement last week, according to Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith.
And deputy auditor Jan Jutte, who served as acting auditor during Kelley’s leave, had been working on the details of a transition, according to auditor spokesman Adam Wilson.
Kelley had faced up to 20 years in prison on charges alleging he stole more than $3 million from homebuyers by failing to make refunds to clients of his now-shuttered real-estate reconveyance company, Post Closing Department.