When state prisons director Eldon Vail resigned last year after being captured on videooutside a Tumwater motel, he confessed to having a nooner with another state employee and fell on his own sword, saying "This is no one's fault but my own. It's not the employee's fault. It is not my wife's fault." But the wife apparently has found fault with Vail's assignation, having quietly hauled him into Thurston County Superior Court, seeking an end to their 43-year marriage.
Elizabeth Vail, 61, says only that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" and won't comment further, according to her attorney. Eldon Vail, 60, also has no comment, says his attorney.
They apparently have agreed to divide their Olympia property. The wife is seeking maintenance support and attorney fees, according to court records, although her husband says she has the "means and funds" to pay her own legal costs.
The two were married in Pierce County in February, 1969. Eldon Vail began his state career in 1974 as a youth counselor and moved through a variety of Corrections Department posts, including warden at the Washington Corrections Center for Women at Purdy and the McNeil Island Corrections Center.
That job ended abruptly last July when unnamed corrections workers videotaped Vail and a woman (also a corrections employee) leaving the Tumwater Motel 6 on a recent June afternoon, then sent a copy of the tape to KING-TV.
Two hours after KING asked him for comment, Vail quit his $147,000-a-year position.
"Once I became aware of that possibility [that a video existed], I knew I had only one choice, and that was to resign," Vail said."It is inappropriate to have a personal relationship" with a subordinate. "That's [getting caught at it] the only reason I resigned."