State Auditor Probe Focuses on Employee in Auditor’s Office
The name Jason Jerue is so unknown in the Washington State Auditor's office, most employees don't ever remember seeing him there. That could be because the part-time technical writer telecommutes from California and has done so since the beginning of 2013.
Sources, including the Tacoma News Tribune and the political website Crosscut.com, are now reporting the federal investigation into Auditor Troy Kelley is focused on records kept by Jerue. Kelley refused to meet with reporters Monday, and instead released a statement about the recent federal investigation into the office. According to crosscut.com:
“I have fully cooperated with their investigation and remain puzzled by their interest. I do not know any specifics about their inquiry, despite repeated requests for information, and cannot comment further. … I can assure you that all my actions over the years have been lawful and appropriate."
So why did federal treasury agents search Kelley's home recently, and subpoena numerous documents of his and Jerue?
Prior to becoming Washington State Auditor, Kelley owned a real estate document business, Port Closing Department, and Jerue was the firm's vice president. In 2010 Port was hit with a lawsuit from a client named Old Republic Title, charging breach of contract and misappropriation of $1.2 million dollars. The suit ended in 2011 with a closed settlement, although Kelley denied the allegations.
According to the News Tribune, a former employee of Port Closing says Jerue destroyed documents associated with the business once those legal troubles began.
While there's been no evidence of any wrongdoing within the Auditor's office itself, critics say such a federal investigation brings a cloud of doubt upon not just the office but the 360 people who are charged with overseeing the books and records of Washington state.
U.S. Justice Department officials will not publicly discuss the investigation, or acknowledge it's even happening. But the search of Kelley's home, subpoenas for documents and other visible evidence show this is one of the most poorly disguised investigations in our state's history.