LACEY, Wash. -- Anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman has been charged with misdemeanor theft after taking an office chair from an Office Depot store in Lacey without paying, but he says it was an accident.
Surveillance video showed Eyman sitting in the chair in the store's entryway last Wednesday, spinning it around a few times, and then walking it out to the parking lot. Police say he then returned, exchanged one printer and bought new ones.
Through his lawyers, Eyman issued a written statement Tuesday saying it would be ridiculous for him to have stolen the $70 chair while wearing an easily identifiable, bright red shirt featuring his motto, "Let the voters decide." He had just testified before the Legislature when he stopped at the store.
Eyman said he intended to pay for the chair, but received a call on his cell phone, became distracted and forgot.
Eyman's attorney released the following statement on behalf of his client:
I, TIM EYMAN, do declare under penalty of perjury as follows:
I am over the age of eighteen and competent to speak to these matters.
I did not, shortly after giving legislative testimony in Olympia, walk into an Office Depot in Lacey wearing a bright red “Let The Voters Decide” t-shirt, smile for the cameras, and steal a $70 chair just moments before spending $300 on 2 printers and after getting some life changing good news. The reason that doesn’t make any sense is because it doesn’t make any sense. It’s ridiculous, it’s insane, it’s completely unbelievable.
As the video shows, I went back into the store to pay for it. That’s right, rather than hopping in my car for a daring get away after my successful bank heist, I walked back into the store and inserted my debit card into the chip reader (Jesse James I’m not).
It’s gratifying to learn that the legacy media is not dead. I find it encouraging that they can still speak loudly and with one voice when they want to. Thank goodness it wasn’t over things like Inslee’s tax hikes or politicians’ massive salary bonuses - no, it was about me and a $70 chair.
Last Wednesday, February 13, while wearing that same bright red “Let The Voters Decide” t-shirt, I testified in front of the Senate Government Operations committee opposing their bill to continue to exempt legislators from the Public Records Act.
After it was over, I drove up to the Lacey Office Depot to have them scan and make copies of a partial summary judgement motion I needed to file with the court that day and buy some office equipment.
As everyone knows, for the past six years, I’ve been investigated and sued by the State. Last November, I filed for Chapter 11. The legal costs and liability from the Attorney General’s lawsuit was more than I’d ever have. I learned later that, with the State my only creditor, my bankruptcy had empowered them to veto any paid legal counsel.
I’ve been doing my best to be my own lawyer in the case but I desperately need legal assistance. On Feb 5 and 6, I endured two days of depositions at the hands of three attorneys with the AG’s office without legal counsel to advise me (those were the seventh and eighth times where I was questioned under oath by the State). They asked me about attorney-client communications, my opinion of my supporters’ opinions of me, and questions where I had previously pled the 5th. I subsequently learned that all these questions were completely inappropriate but I didn’t know any better so I answered as best I could.
The bottom line is I desperately need legal assistance in this case but the State can object to anyone paid to represent me.
Which brings us back to last Wednesday. While I was waiting to check out, I got a call from the prestigious Institute of Free Speech out of Virginia about representing me for free. A drowning man got a life preserver.
As we talked, I went through the process of paying (this weekend I checked it out - my cell phone records show our phone conversation started before and ended after the purchase). As I left the store, I thought all was paid for and was focused on the phenomenal news that I might finally have legal counsel the State couldn’t veto. I was ecstatic.
I then drove to Thurston County Superior Court and filed my partial summary judgement motion that I had just copied.
Early Friday morning, me and members of my family flew to Florida for a long ago scheduled, long weekend vacation. As we were landing later that afternoon, I started getting text messages about this. At first, I had no idea what they were talking about. After a couple of calls, I was told I had no choice but to
“lawyer up” to deal with it. And I couldn’t respond until after my attorneys connected with the appropriate city officials (government offices were closed Sat-Mon).
But even during this darkness, there was light. I’ve been getting a steady stream of emails and text messages and voicemails from friends and family saying “I know there’s another side to this”, “keep your chin up”, “don’t let the bad guys get you down”, “this makes no sense”, and my favorite: “If you need a chair, you can have mine.”
I also got an email from a friend from college, Dan Gerl with Puget Law Group, who along with his partner Casey Arbenz, generously offered to help me pro bono on this. I’m so grateful for their assistance. As with anyone accused, Dan and Casey advised me to not say anything at this time. But due to the special treatment I always get with almost all aspects of my life, I insisted I speak for myself in a sworn declaration.
This Friday, Feb 22, I’ll be arguing before Judge Dixon about the partial summary judgement motion (yes, the same one copied that day). After that, I’ll be making a huge announcement. Hope to see you there.
I, Tim Eyman, do declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of Washington that the foregoing is true and correct. (RCW 9A.72.085)