Eyman lawyers say Office Depot chair removal was accident, but he faces theft charge

Attorneys for Tim Eyman, the anti-tax activist and initiative promoter who is accused of stealing a $70 chair from an Office Depot store in Lacey last week, say it was an accident, not theft.

According to Lacey police, officers were called to the store on Sleater Kinney Road Southeast on Wednesday after employees noticed the chair missing from a display near the front door. Surveillance video showed the suspect, who they identified as Eyman, taking the chair, according to Lacey police Sgt. Jaime Newcomb.

On Tuesday, prosecutors filed a misdemeanor theft charge against Eyman. His arraignment in Thurston County District Court had not been scheduled as of Tuesday afternoon.

In an email, lawyers at Puget Law Group hired by Eyman say they contacted Office Depot “in an effort to return the chair and/or pay for it, as its removal without payment was accidental.”

“We also reached out to the City of Lacey to explain the circumstances of the chair’s accidental removal, but due to the three-day holiday weekend were unable to do so,” they wrote.

According to his lawyers’ email, Eyman thought he paid for the chair and was distracted by a phone call he was on while he checked out.

“I did not ... walk into an Office Depot in Lacey wearing a bright red ‘Let The Voters Decide’ T-shirt, smile for the cameras, and steal a $70 chair just moments before spending $300 on two printers and after getting some life-changing good news. The reason that doesn’t make any sense is because it doesn’t make any sense. It’s ridiculous, it’s insane, it’s completely unbelievable,” Eyman wrote.

Eyman is a controversial figure in state politics.

The state Attorney General’s Office has investigated kickbacks he allegedly solicited and received. Eyman, who filed for bankruptcy and divorce late last year, is being held in contempt of court and fined daily for failing to turn over bank records, according to Olympian archives.

He recently collected enough signatures to send his latest initiative to the Legislature and voters this year. That initiative would cut car-tab taxes.

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Abby Spegman joined The Olympian in 2017. She covers the city of Olympia and a little bit of everything else. She previously worked at newspapers in Oregon, New Hampshire and Hawaii.