Tim Eyman allegedly stole a $70 chair from an Office Depot

Surveillance video shows him rolling the chair out the door. He says he can explain.

Professional ballot-initiative sponsor Tim Eyman, who has been battling the state of Washington over alleged campaign-finance violations and recently filed for bankruptcy, is under investigation for a theft from an office supply store in the city of Lacey, near the state capital.

He allegedly left an Office Depot store on Wednesday with a $70 chair without paying. Surveillance video released by the Lacey Police Department clearly shows Eyman, dressed in a red shirt bearing the words “Let The Voters Decide,” rolling the chair out the front door from the vestibule, where it was on display.

In an emailed statement Friday, Eyman seemed to imply that the alleged theft was a misunderstanding.

“I just called the Lacey Office Depot who referred me to the Lacey Police Department,” Eyman wrote. “I am expecting a call from the officer in charge to explain what happened. I will cooperate fully in this process and will do whatever is required of me.”

Lacey police, who said they had been unable to reach Eyman, confirmed that he called and said investigators intend to interview him.

A police report released Friday says a misdemeanor theft case has been referred to prosecutors.

Eyman, who has promoted tax-cutting ballot initiatives for many years, is now promoting a measure on the November ballot, Initiative 976, which would reduce vehicle license renewal fees to $30, among other changes.

In the police report, the investigating officer wrote that Eyman came to the Office Depot to exchange a printer, purchased at a different store, for two other printers. A clerk who helped Eyman told police that he was busy for a time helping another customer when Eyman left the store with the chair.

In this photo taken Feb. 13, anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman (center) waits before speaking during a public hearing of the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations, and Elections Committee at the Capitol in Olympia. Eyman is under investigation for the theft of a $70 office chair from an Office Depot store in Lacey later in the day while wearing the same shirt he wore for his testimony before the committee. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In this photo taken Feb. 13, anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman (center) waits before speaking during a public hearing of the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations, and Elections Committee at the Capitol in Olympia. Eyman is under investigation for the theft of a $70 office chair from an Office Depot store in Lacey later in the day while wearing the same shirt he wore for his testimony before the committee. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Eyman allegedly returned to the store to pay for the two printers and a print job, and the clerk used a dolly to take the printers to Eyman’s car.

“When we got to his vehicle … he insisted I leave the printers on the ground next to his vehicle because he needed to rearrange a few things,” the clerk said in a written statement to police. “I gave him my Office Depot business card and went back inside.”

Eyman was a longtime Mukilteo resident, but a shipping label for the first printer, included with the police report, shows a Bellevue address. When he revealed in November that he was filing for bankruptcy, Eyman said he and his wife were getting a divorce.

His legal troubles began with a lawsuit filed in 2017. The state attorney general claims Eyman secretly moved campaign money between two initiatives in 2012 and that he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a signature-gathering vendor. A trial date has been set for January 2020.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield contributed to this story.

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