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School board president Tony Moore arrested in alleged tire theft scheme
Federal Way School Board President Tony Moore was indicted in Oregon on seven counts of felony theft and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted.
Moore is accused of scheming with a tire company employee in Portland, Ore., to steal more than $150,000 in semi-truck tires in 2011. A grand jury indicted Moore on Aug. 23.
Moore was arrested Sept. 17 at SeaTac Airport as he boarded a plane to Amsterdam on a trip sponsored by the school district. He was released from King County Jail on Sept. 20 after posting a $50,000 bond.
On Tuesday, Moore told The Mirror that the allegations are false, and that he will remain on the school board. He has hired an attorney. The date of his arraignment is unknown at this time.
"I am innocent of the accusation and charges so I'm going to do what innocent people do and defend myself," said Moore, 49. "I have been accused of a crime that I did not commit."
Moore is owner of William A. Moore Jr. Inc., a tire wholesaler based in Federal Way.
Tracy E. Holmquist, Moore's alleged co-conspirator who worked at GCR Tire Centers in Portland, pleaded guilty and was convicted on seven charges of aggravated theft, according to Multnomah County officials. He is serving a 19-month prison sentence.
Moore said his company stopped doing business with GCR in 2011. In their relationship, Moore salvaged used tires from the store's junk pile and would retread the tires for his business. Moore is accused of stealing newer tires outside of the junk pile between March and October 2011 through an arrangement with Holmquist.
The alleged scheme was discovered after a tire dealer in southern Oregon reported seeing "test tires" specific to GCR that weren't meant to be on the market, according to Multnomah County Sheriff Detective Ken Yohe. Upon taking a closer look at the company's inventory, GCR discovered a large amount of missing tires that were allegedly sold by Moore.
For now, Moore said he has no plans to resign from the school board. He was appointed to the board in 2008, and was re-elected in 2011.
"I do not want to become a distraction to the great work that's being done in Federal Way," Moore told The Mirror. "The moment my issue becomes a distraction, then I will resign without hesitation."
Moore, a Republican, narrowly lost to Tracey Eide (D) in the 2010 race for State Senate. In 2012, he ran for District 30 state representative, but lost in the primary.
At the time of his arrest, Moore was about to embark on a taxpayer-funded trip to Europe with Superintendent Rob Neu and three other school board members. At a cost of $50,000, the trip included stops in England, Scotland and Finland as part of the school district's Global Initiative Project. According to Neu, "this initiative will ensure our students are prepared for a more competitive, diverse and interconnected world than the one we grew up in." From April 10 through May 1, Moore and Neu traveled to China at a cost of $33,350.
Neu sent the following statement to The Mirror:
"We were recently made aware of the situation involving Tony Moore. We’ve been informed that the allegations do not involve Tony’s responsibilities as a board member in the Federal Way School District. We have no further information regarding this situation at this time."
Mirror staff writer Greg Allmain contributed to this report.