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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Mysterious Figure In Troy Kelley Case Takes Stand At Trial

Keith Tyler
Wikimedia -
File photo of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Tacoma, Washington.

Jurors in the trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley heard from Jason Jerue, a witness who is testifying under a grant of immunity from the federal government. He took the stand Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Tacoma.

Jerue was operations manager for Troy Kelley’s former real estate services firm, the Post Closing Department. Later, Jerue went to work for the state auditor's office on a part-time basis from California after Kelley was elected in 2012.

Jerue testified that in August 2006, while working for the Post Closing Department, Kelley called him sounding stressed and ordered him to issue a round of refunds to escrow company clients. Jerue said that Kelley didn’t tell him why he wanted the refunds issued, but that Jerue should write as many refunds as he had company checks on hand.

Kelley is accused of pocketing millions of dollars in homeowner fees that should have been refunded.

Jerue will continue his testimony Thursday. Kelley’s defense team hopes to convince the jury that he is not a credible witness.

Separately, the Washington Attorney General’s office is conducting an inquiry into Kelley’s hiring of Jerue in the state auditor’s office.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."