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Originally published November 16, 2009 at 10:58 AM | Page modified November 17, 2009 at 12:52 AM

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Clearly Lasik co-founder accused of soliciting murder of partner

The co-founder of Clearly Lasik laser eye-surgery centers was charged Monday with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder in connection with an alleged plot to kill his business partner and a former colleague.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The co-founder of Clearly Lasik laser eye-surgery centers was charged Monday with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder in connection with an alleged plot to kill his business partner and a former colleague.

Dr. Michael Mockovak, 51, of Newcastle, was arrested by the FBI and Seattle police on Thursday morning while he was at a gym, said FBI spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs. The laser eye surgeon was released Saturday on $1 million bail.

Mockovak was rearrested Monday afternoon and is being held on $3 million bail.

His attorney Colette Tvedt said that Mockovak is "anxious" to have the case heard in court so he can be vindicated.

According to a King County Superior Court filing, Mockovak "complained bitterly" to a police informant about plans by Dr. Joseph King to leave their business, Clearly Lasik. Mockovak is accused of offering hit men $25,000 to kill King. Mockovak told the informant that he believed King had a $5 million life insurance policy with either Mockovak or Clearly Lasik listed as beneficiaries, charging papers said.

Authorities say that since Aug. 4, Mockovak provided the informant with a nearly poster-sized photo of King, 42, and his family. He also gave the informant details of King's vacation plans and exercise habits. Mockovak believed the informant was hiring Russian mafia hit men to kill King the court filing said.

King, in a statement released this morning, said he and his family were "shocked and horrified to learn that a business associate was allegedly planning and ordering my murder."

"It is incomprehensible how someone could deliberately plan to take someone's life and completely devastate a family," the statement read.

Mockovak is also accused of soliciting the murder of Brad Klock, Clearly Lasik's former president, according to documents filed by King County prosecutors. Klock was appealing his job termination in court and Mockovak wanted him "eliminated," according to the prosecutor's filing.

Stephen Connor, a Seattle lawyer representing Klock in a civil case against Mockovak and King, said that his client didn't know about the alleged murder-for-hire plot until Monday morning.

"He asked if he was safe and I had some similar questions myself," Connor said.

Klock, who lives in Canada, believes that the doctors owe him hundreds of thousands of dollars for work he did during the less than two years he worked at the company, Connor said.

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Investigators recorded several conversations between Mockovak and the informant in which Mockovak discusses the murder schemes, the court filing said.

In one conversation, Mockovak allegedly told the informant that he didn't feel any "personal vengeance" toward the men, but that each of them "has it coming."

Prosecutors say that Mockovak and King co-own Clearly Lasik, which has offices in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Western Canada.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

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