An early-morning FBI raid of Allan Thomas’ home is the latest update regarding the investigations into King County Drainage District 5 and allegations of public corruption.
Witnesses reported the Enumclaw Police Department helped federal investigators block off state Route 410 near the Griffin Avenue intersection at around 6 a.m. on Friday, July 19, before FBI officials spent several hours removing items from the residence.
Allan Thomas is being investigated for allegedly stealing at least $413,000 from roughly 600 taxpayers who reside in Drainage District 5, a special purpose tax district formed in 1895 and charged with maintaining approximately 18 miles of drainage ditches in the north-eastern portion of Enumclaw.
Thomas was elected to the three-person board of commissioners of Drainage District 5 in 1988, although few — if any — elections have been held since then, as he allegedly skirted Washington state law regarding special purpose tax district elections.
The city of Enumclaw began an investigation into Thomas late 2017 after officials realized the company he supposedly hired to perform ditch maintenance — A. Conservation Services — was registered to an unoccupied home owned by Thomas.
The investigation revealed that A. Conservation Services was formed and operated by Thomas’ son Alex, and folded in 2013 after two jobs. However, Thomas continued sending invoices from the business to the King County Treasury Department through 2017.
A Washington State Auditor’s Office report, published late May, appeared to confirm Thomas misappropriated $413,000, and that an additional $66,035 in tax revenue was used in “questionable transactions” between May 2012 and January 2019.
Before the report was published, Thomas and the other Drainage District 5 commissioner had resigned, with both saying it was in the “best interests” of the district. The commissioners of two other drainage districts, District 6 and 13, also resigned, even though they were not under investigation.
After a short nomination period, three new commissioners for each drainage district were sworn in on July 10, but there was little news regarding possible charges against Thomas.
During a June 25 town hall meeting, Dunn told Enumclaw and unincorporated King County residents that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office would make a decision regarding charging Thomas in the next two weeks, but the unofficial deadline came and went with no new announcements.
Dunn, frustrated, contacted King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg on July 17 and asked for an update.
“A little over three weeks ago, I asked you about the status of this investigation and the timing of the charges. You indicated that you expected your office to take action within the next two weeks… it’s now more than three weeks later and no charging action has been taken by your office. Would you be kind enough to share your latest thinking on the matter?” Dunn wrote. “I believe the public requires assurances that there will be prosecution action taken, in what appears to be a significant public corruption matter.”
Satterberg replied with an email a day later.
“The [U.S. Attorney’s Office] wants to file this case. We are coordinating with them,” he wrote. “[U.S. Attorney] Brian Moran is aware of it and knows we want to move quickly, but Federal prosecutors work at their own pace.”
According to U.S. Attorney’s Office Communications Director Emily Langlie, these sorts of public corruption cases tend to be handled by federal prosecutors, since they have more experience in these sorts of cases.
“We work closely with state and tribal prosecutors to determine which cases are appropriate for federal prosecution,” Langlie wrote.