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Inslee ‘deeply concerned’ after auditor Troy Kelley fires key staffers following trial

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Troy Kelley

SEATTLE (AP) — Indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley has fired two staffers and ordered another to stop working, just a week after his federal fraud trial ended with a hung jury.

Kelley this week demanded the resignations of his chief of staff, Doug Cochran, and deputy communications director Adam Wilson. Both told The Associated Press that Kelley gave no explanation for the firings.

Kelley also ordered that Thomas Shapley, a part-time special assistant to deputy state auditor Jan Jutte, stop working pending his retirement late this month.

“I am deeply concerned about the removal of these hard working employees who have worked diligently to maintain the high standard of the office during the turmoil created by your extended absences,” Gov. Jay Inslee wrote in a letter to Kelley dated Friday.

In the letter, Inslee asked Kelley for details on any resignations he’d asked for, and the basis for those actions.

“Forcing these employees out of their jobs will make it increasingly difficult for the office to focus on its important work, and I therefore encourage you to rethink this action,” Inslee wrote.

After deliberating for several days, a federal jury in Tacoma said April 26 it had failed to reach a verdict on 14 of 15 charges against Kelley, which included possession of stolen property and money laundering. Prosecutors accused Kelley of pocketing $3 million in fees he should have refunded to homeowners when he ran a real-estate services business a decade ago.