Prosecutors in King County, Wash., are reviewing a state audit that alleges a drainage district commissioner and his wife withdrew more than $400,000 in public funds from the district to support their farm, pay property taxes and for other personal uses.
The Washington Auditor’s Office released the report May 22.
The auditor’s report did not name the couple, but public records, media reports and details in the auditor’s investigation identify “Commissioner A” and his wife as Enumclaw dairy farmer Allan Benjamin Thomas Jr., 66, and Joann Elaine Thomas, 64.
The audit results, as well as an investigation by the Enumclaw Police Department, have been sent to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for possible charges.
The auditor’s office says it found $413,323 had apparently been misappropriated from King County Drainage District 5 between May 2012 and December 2017. The audit tallied another $66,035 in what is described as “questionable transactions.”
The drainage district has an annual budget of about $75,000 and collects assessments from 765 parcels, according to the auditor’s office.
Efforts to reach the Thomases were unsuccessful.
Allan Thomas had been on the drainage district’s board for 35 years. He and the only other board member, Ken Leon Olson, 63, of Enumclaw resigned from the board this month. The third position was vacant.
Olson, who had been on the board for seven years, told auditor’s office investigators that Thomas and his wife handled the district’s finances. Olson told the Capital Press on May 23 that he was cooperating with the investigation and that he had been advised by his attorney not to comment.
Police began investigating the district’s finances in late 2017. The probe was completed in early 2019 and found the district made apparently fraudulent payments to a business owned by the Thomases’ 27-year-old son, according to reports.
King 5 News and the Enumclaw Courier-Herald have previously reported on the district’s finances.
The son told the auditor’s office he did two jobs for the district in 2012, but none since then. He said he never withdrew any money from the account.
The auditor’s office found the drainage district received $500,510 between May 2012 and January 2019. Of that, $413,323 was paid to the son’s business.
“Commissioner A and his wife withdrew personal payments from that account, ...” according to the auditor’s report.
The auditor’s office detailed where the money apparently went:
• $142,358 for livestock feed.
• $115,867 for personal farm business.
• $71,445 in cash withdrawals signed by commissioner A’s wife.
• $48,273 in bank transfers to commissioner A and his wife’s personal bank account.
• $24,019 in checks paid for commissioner A and his wife’s property taxes.
• $12,100 in checks paid to commissioner A.
• $3,000 in checks paid to commissioner A’s wife.
Auditors also found that it couldn’t tell whether $11,192 spent on sand and gravel was for the district or the commissioner A’s farm. Some $54,843 was paid to another business for drainage services, but auditors were unable to determine what the business did. The business and owner are unidentified in the report.
The owner has stopped responding to requests for an interview, according to the auditor’s office.