`Charming' Former Con Man Now A Seafair Commodore

A "charming" man police once considered the region's top con artist is now a member of a different elite: the Seafair Commodores.

Kenneth Mahmood, sentenced to 10 years in prison for theft and fraud in a phony oil deal in 1983, surprised law-enforcement officials recently when he was interviewed on a local radio station as a representative of Seafair.

"He's the best con man I ever worked on, and I worked on a bunch of them," said King County Police Maj. Larry Mayes.

As a member of the Commodores, Mahmood is one of 60 volunteers who greet and escort celebrities during Seafair and serve as special festival representatives at other parades in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Mahmood refused to discuss his Seafair work, or to say what line of work he is in today.

"If I said I was Santa Claus, you'd smear it," he said.

Seafair spokeswoman Naomi Anderson said the organizers cannot screen backgrounds of all the 5,700 volunteers who help out in the annual festival. She said Mahmood is a relatively new volunteer and she knew nothing about his criminal record.