UPDATE: Mockovak pleads not-guilty. Details after the jump.
Dr. Mockovak allegedly wanted Russian Mafiosos to "take care" of his Clearly Lasik co-owner.
In the spring of 2008, Daniel Kultin, a Russian emigre and IT guy for Clearly Lasik in Renton, got a weird request from his boss. Dr. Michael Mockovak, a 51-year-old eye surgeon from Newcastle and co-founder of Clearly Lasik, wanted to know if Kultin had any Russian mafia contacts. The reason: Mockovak wanted to "resolve his issues" with a former employee currently suing Mockovak.
Kultin laughed off Mockovak's question. But a year and a half later, what started as a joke has now turned very serious, according to King County prosecutors.According to Kultin, Mockovak's beef was with Brad Klock. The former professional hockey player and president of Clearly Lasik sued Mockovak for wrongful termination after he was fired in 2007.
Kultin told investigators that Mockovak would get angry anytime the doctor had a court date or had to pay an attorney's bill. Once, Mockovak cornered Kultin in the break room to tell him Klock would be traveling to Germany and that it would be the perfect time and place to have him "eliminated."
It was around this time that Kultin decided he'd best rat out his boss.
Clearly Lasik Mockovak was planning on killing Joseph King while the doctor was on a family vacation in Australia.
Kultin began meeting with a Seattle FBI agent. The agent told him to use a trip to Los Angeles as a pretense to talking to Mockovak about those Mafia connections he was interested in. That's when things got even weirder.
When Kultin met Mockovak at his office the doctor asked to talk outside. There, in the parking lot, Mockovak told him that it wasn't just Klock who was rubbing him the wrong way; Mockovak was also having problems with his business partner, Dr. Joseph King.
King and Mockovak had married a pair of sisters. But after Mockovak's divorce their relationship had been strained. Now they were talking about splitting the business.
Mockovak told Kultin that there was a $5 million dollar life insurance policy out on King. If King became a "stumbling block," they could not only eliminate him, they'd also get rich in the bargain since Mockovak was the sole beneficiary.
From there, Kultin, advised by the FBI, told Mockovak that a boyhood friend had connections with a Russian Crime group who, for $25,000 could arrange to have King murdered in what would look like a carjacking "gone bad."
At a November 6th meeting at Maggiano's in Bellevue, Mockovak told Kultin he wanted the assassination to take place while King was on a family vacation in Australia. He said King usually jogged about five miles every day. In Australia he'd probably run on the beach, said Mockovak, and an ocean drowning sounded like a "not bad" way to get rid of him.
Invesitagors arrested Mockovak last Thursday morning while he was at a gym. He was released Saturday on $1 million bail then rearrested Monday afternoon and is being held on $3 million bail.
King and his family recently returned from their trip to Australia. Investigators say they're now living in an area hotel where they're, understandably, still fearing for their safety.
UPDATE: Clearly Lasik's eight offices brought in $17 million in revenue in 2007 but "only" $10 million in 2008.
Mockovak and King also apparently only live blocks from each other in Newcastle. The two were so close, charging papers say, they knew each other's alarm codes.
Which just begs the question: If Mockovak's Russian Mafia hitmen scheme had actually gone off without a hitch, how long did he think it'd take cops to start looking at him as the prime suspect?
UPDATE: Mockovak's lawyer asked for a reduction in bail so the good doctor could get back to work. The judge declined.
Mockovak is being held on $2 million bail. If he makes it, he has to stay at least a half mile away from any Clearly Lasik, King's home or the schools that King's kids attend.
In other words, since Mockovak and King live only a few blocks away, it might be best for everyone if the surgeon stays in the slammer.