Politics & Government

Federal agents serve search warrant at state Auditor Troy Kelley’s Tacoma home

Agents from the U.S. Treasury Department served a search warrant Monday at the Tacoma home of state Auditor Troy Kelley, according to information obtained by The News Tribune.

The nature and purpose of the search were unclear Wednesday. Searches of federal court records found no sign that Kelley has been indicted or charged with anything illegal.

The News Tribune and The Olympian contacted Kelley’s office about the search.

Kelley emailed a statement Wednesday evening regarding the incident.

“I have been out of the state on family vacation since Friday night,” he said. “We were not there when our home was reportedly searched and have not yet returned. I have not been served a search warrant and have not been informed of any reasons for a search.”

Search warrants are recorded in federal records, but they typically don’t appear until the return of the warrant has been filed.

Agents clad in bulletproof vests spent five hours at Kelley’s home, from 9:25 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., said Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool. Police were notified that the search would take place.

Such notifications from outside agencies are routine, Cool added, saying federal authorities did not request assistance from local police.

Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle, said her agency could not confirm or deny any investigation involving Kelley.

Kelley, 50, was elected to the auditor’s office in 2012. His current annual salary is $116,950. Before that, he served three terms in the state House.

A lieutenant colonel in the National Guard, he ran a business that processed and tracked mortgage title documents. The venture led to an acrimonious federal lawsuit, though Kelley was not charged with any crime in connection with it.

The lawsuit ended in 2011 when he paid an undisclosed settlement to his company’s former client, Old Republic Title.

Old Republic had contended Kelley kept $1.2 million in fees that should have been refunded to Old Republic’s customers. Kelley later told reporters he collected fees properly for work he did.

In defending himself against the lawsuit, Kelley answered questions under oath about why he had moved $3.8 million among multiple bank accounts, and whether he paid taxes on that money.

Kelley said he would pay taxes when told to do so by an attorney advising him.

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