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Originally published Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 7:28 PM

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Ex-official of Seattle schools is arrested

Former Seattle Public Schools official Silas Potter Jr. was arrested Saturday and booked into King County Jail on a warrant for failure to appear in court.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Silas Potter Jr., the former Seattle Public Schools official accused of abusing his position to steal from the district, was arrested Saturday after he failed to appear at a court hearing.

A warrant had been issued for Potter’s arrest on Monday after he skipped a hearing in King County Superior Court the previous week.

Potter was booked into King County Jail Saturday afternoon. Jail records indicate he was booked on a $100,000 theft warrant related to the schools case and a $600 warrant out of Kent for driving with a suspended license.

Potter, 60, is the former director of the school district’s small-business program, which aimed to help women and minority-owned businesses win more public contracts.

He is accused in a 42-count court complaint of running a scheme that bilked the school district out of $250,000 by awarding contracts to firms that did little or no work. Potter and two others are accused of pocketing some of that money.

Potter was arrested in Florida in November 2011 and returned to Seattle. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A 2011 state audit and a report for the school district found Potter oversaw spending of $1.8 million in questionable contracts during his tenure heading up the small-business program.

Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff for the King County Prosecutor’s Office, said it was not clear how Potter came to be arrested Saturday but said it may have followed a traffic stop.

Potter will remain in jail until a court hearing on the warrant can be held Monday, Goodhew said. His case is scheduled to go to trial next month.

Messages left for Potter’s attorney were not returned Saturday.

Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or jbrunner@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @Jim_Brunner

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