Federal Way mayor investigated for theft involving own campaign signs

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by ADAM MERTZ / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 8:08 PM

FEDERAL WAY, Wash --Federal Way’s mayor is under investigation after he removed confiscated campaign signs from a city storage facility, according to Federal Way police.

Surveillance video shows Mayor Skip Priest retrieving his political signs from a gated area last week. A police officer confronted the mayor Tuesday night outside the storage facility.

A spokesperson with the Federal Way Police Department said this could be a theft case. Code enforcement confiscated the signs after they were illegally placed in parts of the city. To get the signs back, candidates are required to pay a fine with the city.

The mayor had a copy of the check he said he gave to the city before collecting the signs. However, the receipt he provided was dated the next day, which was after he was stopped by police. A city employee told investigators the mayor paid for the signs before retrieving them.

"It was about 5:15 p.m., right before the committee meeting. I gave them the check so they processed it the next day," Mayor Priest said.

The mayor acknowledged that he did not know the proper procedure to retrieve his campaign signs.

In an email provided by police, investigators said it appeared the signs were being stolen and it was suspicious because the mayor was picking up the signs at night. It also noted that Priest may have not done anything wrong.

Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell, who is also running for mayor, called the mayor’s actions “curious” and “suspicious.”

Mayor Priest contends he did nothing wrong.

Federal Way Police asked the Washington State Patrol to conduct an investigation.
 
 

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