"It's a lot bigger than Silas Potter," says Silas Potter to The Seattle Times after being tracked back to his secret lair in Tampa, Fla. The linchpin in the epic Seattle Public Schools scandal that's unfolded in the last week and a half, Potter has been holed up in a "modest apartment" in the Florida city since October. Cornered, he's finally talking about his role in the debacle. His verdict: It's everyone's fault but Silas'.
Potter is implicated in a laundry list of shady dealings, but the mismanagement hardly stops with him, and the scandal has already claimed the heads of Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and Chief Financial and Operations Officer Don Kennedy.
Potter himself is hardly apologetic, claiming "I've been thrown under the bus" to the Times.
"They're trying to minimize their exposure of what they've done and maximize what Silas has done."
Potter blames his former boss Fred Stephens, now working for the Obama administration under U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and school-district attorney Ron English, for either ordering his deceptions or ignoring them.
He says he was simply being a "good soldier" by only giving contracts out to black-owned businesses, as Stephens had told him.
"They're trying to minimize their exposure of what they've done and maximize what Silas has done . . . The bottom line was that I followed directions," Potter said. "Everything I did I went through Fred [Stephens] and he asked Ron English if it was OK to do it."
As for the $35,000 check to the school district that somehow appeared in a private business owned by him? Potter says it was a clerical error. An error he only agreed to correct after a police report was filed about it.
Despite all the O.J. Simpson-esque move-to-Florida-blame-the-world business, Potter did admit that he may soon find himself in prison. And when the time comes, he swears he'll "man up to it."
"If I have to serve time--OK," he says.
No doubt there are plenty of folks who'd like to hold him to that.