Tim Eyman steals a chair from Office Depot
Tim Eyman steals a chair from Office Depot

Dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman has made a deal with the City of Lacey to resolve the mis­de­meanor theft charge that was filed against him after he was caught steal­ing a chair from the Office Depot on Sleater Kin­ney Road in Feb­ru­ary — an inci­dent that result­ed in a mas­sive round of neg­a­tive pub­lic­i­ty for Eyman.

Eyman’s chair theft was immor­tal­ized on video by a store secu­ri­ty cam­era. The footage shows Eyman sit­ting down in a Bren­ton Stu­dios May­hart chair in the store’s vestibule, spin­ning around, then stand­ing up and wheel­ing the chair out of the store to his vehi­cle with­out first tak­ing it to the counter to pay for it.

Eyman and his attor­neys have laugh­ably tried to char­ac­ter­ize the theft as “a mis­un­der­stand­ing” and “an hon­est mis­take”. Eyman has (not cred­i­bly) argued he did­n’t pay for the chair because he was on the phone and dis­tract­ed after he returned to the store. He has nev­er explained why he did­n’t sim­ply just walk over to the counter and buy the chair pri­or to going out to his car.

Eyman was charged by the City of Lacey with theft the fol­low­ing week.

Eyman ini­tial­ly pled not guilty to the charge.

The max­i­mum penal­ty for the crime Eyman com­mit­ted — a gross mis­de­meanor — is up to one year in jail and a five thou­sand dol­lar fine.

Eyman’s set­tle­ment allows him to avoid jail time, but he was required to pay a fine to set­tle the case, which he did before leav­ing the courthouse.

The terms of the deal stip­u­late that the theft charge will be dis­missed if Eyman stays out of trou­ble (mean­ing, more specif­i­cal­ly, that he does­n’t com­mit anoth­er crime) dur­ing the next nine months. Eyman is also required to stay away from the Lacey Office Depot — but, pre­sum­ably, he can do busi­ness at oth­er Office Depots.

(Records filed with the Unit­ed States Bank­rupt­cy Court for the Dis­trict of West­ern Wash­ing­ton show that Eyman has been mak­ing pur­chas­es at oth­er Office Depot loca­tions with­in the past few weeks, includ­ing in Bellevue.)

Eyman also acknowl­edges the “accu­ra­cy and admis­si­bil­i­ty” of the report of his chair theft pre­pared by the City of Lacey’s police department.

Should Eyman vio­late the terms of the agree­ment, there would be a stip­u­lat­ed facts tri­al, where­in the facts against Eyman would be pre­sent­ed in Thurston Coun­ty Dis­trict Court through the read­ing of the police report by a judge. Eyman would be barred from intro­duc­ing evi­dence of his own or call­ing witnesses.

Eyman remains a defen­dant in the State of Wash­ing­ton’s prin­ci­pal mul­ti-year cam­paign finance enforce­ment law­suit against him and his asso­ciates. He is also work­ing to final­ize his divorce from his wife Karen in Sno­homish County.

Eyman moved out of his Muk­il­teo fam­i­ly home in Decem­ber, accord­ing to doc­u­ments filed with the bank­rupt­cy court, and into a con­do in down­town Belle­vue owned by his soon-to-be ex-wife’s sis­ter Car­ol Williams.

Eyman has an ini­tia­tive on the Novem­ber 2019 bal­lot, Ini­tia­tive 976, which would wipe out trans­porta­tion fund­ing at the state, region­al, and local lev­els. The Keep Wash­ing­ton Rolling coali­tion (of which NPI is a mem­ber) is work­ing to defeat I‑976. Eyman is also cur­rent­ly try­ing to qual­i­fy a mea­sure to the 2020 Leg­is­la­ture that would slap a one year expi­ra­tion date on future rev­enue reforms. Eyman failed to qual­i­fy an iden­ti­cal mea­sure for the 2019 bal­lot three weeks ago.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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