Key Figure in Seattle Schools Scandal Pleads Not Guilty

Friday, December 16, 2011

The former Seattle Public Schools employee at the center of a criminal investigation into a contracting scandal has pleaded not guilty to felony theft charges filed against him.

Arrested Nov. 9 in Florida, Silas Potter, Jr. appeared in King County Superior Court Thursday morning to face felony theft charges against him in the wake of a contracting scandal that cost the district superintendant her job.

Potter, who ran a $1.8 million contractor-outreach program for the district, has been accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the program. While the ensuing scandal cost Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and the district's chief financial officer their jobs, only Potter and two alleged accomplices have been criminally charged.

An arrest warrant was issued for Potter in early November when he failed to show up for his first court appearance. He was arrested the following day in Tampa, Fla., and is jailed on $100,000. His codefendants -- David A. Johnson, 48, and Lorrie Kay Sorensen, 45 -- previously pleaded not guilty to felony theft charges and are currently free.

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