Anti-tax crusader Tim Eyman has reached a settlement on the charges that he stole a $70 rolling chair from a Lacey Office Depot earlier this year.
The agreement, a stipulated order of continuance filed Tuesday in Thurston County District Court, means that the theft charge will be dismissed if Eyman doesn’t commit any crimes and stays away from the Office Depot for nine months.
And while it is not an admission of guilt, if Eyman violates the agreement he will have what’s called a “stipulated facts trial.” Such a trial would consist of the court reading the police report against Eyman and would not allow Eyman to question or call witnesses or present any evidence of his own. Eyman also agrees to the “accuracy and admissibility” of the police report.
Eyman declined to comment Thursday. He previously said the whole thing was an honest mistake, caused in part by a phone call that Eyman received when he had returned to the store, after wheeling the chair out.
The charge, a gross misdemeanor, carried a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
In February, Eyman was caught on surveillance video wheeling the chair out of the Office Depot without paying for it.
In the video, Eyman, wearing a bright red shirt saying “Let The Voters Decide,” can be seen circling the store’s lobby, peering in various directions. He walks through the store’s anti-theft devices into the vestibule and sits in a rolling office chair that was displayed there. He reclines, spins around three times and then stands up and wheels the chair out of the store.
About a minute later, Eyman returned to the store, where he printed and scanned some documents, exchanged a printer and bought two new ones for $249, according to the police report.
“He acted wary when I told him I would help him take the printers out to the car,” a store employee told police. “When we got to his vehicle, he insisted I leave the printers on the ground next to his vehicle.”
A few days after the incident, Eyman filmed his own video in which he tries to return the chair, calling it a misunderstanding. The store manager tells Eyman that he cannot pay for or return the chair and that the matter is being handled by the police.
Eyman’s video continues at the Lacey police station, where Eyman wheels the chair in question into the lobby and proceeds to take a seat, while he waits for detectives. Detectives tell him to leave the chair, to be logged as evidence.
“At the end of the day, it was my screw-up. At the end of the day, I will do everything I can to try and make sure it’s right,” Eyman tells the camera after leaving the police station. “But at this point, my priority is, I want a chair.”
He then returns to Office Depot and buys a new chair.
Eyman, who has been filing anti-tax initiatives for more than two decades, will have another one on the ballot in November — a proposal to cut car tab taxes to a flat $30.
But he’s being sued by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who alleges that Eyman has used money donated to his initiative campaigns to enrich himself. His company, Watchdog for Taxpayers, has been held in contempt of court and fined $500 a day for more than a year for not handing over documents relevant to the lawsuit.
He also filed for bankruptcy late last year, claiming that the lawsuit and legal costs had pushed his finances to the breaking point.