UPDATE Updated at 10:30 p.m. with a statement (.pdf) from Seattle school district attorney Ron English in which he says that he had no knowledge of Potter's contracts. English has requested the Seattle School Board to conduct an independent review of his conduct.

Silas W. Potter, Jr.
  • Silas W. Potter, Jr.
Silas Potter, the man wanted for questioning in the Seattle Public Schools financial scandal, blames his immediate supervisor Fred Stephens and district attorney Ron English in an exclusive with the Seattle Times, says he has been "thrown under the bus."

Read the whole story here.

Potter grew the district's small-business contracting center, breaking rules and overseeing the spending of $1.8 million for questionable contracts, according to two audits. He approved contracts to favored businesses and consultants who charged inflated prices for work of little or no public value, according to the audits.

"It's a lot bigger than Silas Potter," he said. "They're trying to minimize their exposure of what they've done and maximize what Silas has done."

Potter denied being the mastermind behind the misappropriation of Seattle School District funds, which has triggered a criminal investigation, state audit and possible firing of the school superintendent, Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

He said culpability lies with two people above him, who demanded that he give school contracts, without bidding, to African-American businesses.

His supervisor at the time — Fred Stephens, the facilities director — controlled and approved how the money was spent, he said. One of the school's attorneys, Ron English, reviewed the contracts and deals, Potter said.

Stephens, now a top deputy to former Gov. Gary Locke at the U.S. Department of Commerce, refused requests for interviews. In an e-mail statement last week, he said he was "deeply troubled" by the state audit's findings and blamed Potter.

"The bottom line was that I followed directions," Potter said. "Everything I did I went through Fred and he asked Ron English if it was OK to do it."

Potter doubts that the superintendent was involved. "The superintendent had no knowledge of this," he said. "I hope she doesn't lose her job."

Bizarrely enough, even though he says he's innocent of any wrongdoing, he says "he's ready for any fallout, even if he gets arrested." "If I have to serve time, OK," he told the Times. Go figure.