Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Don Young Going Green?

Not Likely....

But the Associated Press ran a story today about Young's golf links to ex-Veco CFO Rick Smith, and benefits Smith apparently arranged for Young at the Anchorage-Fort Richardson golf course, Moose Run. It turns out the Feds recorded some of the phone conversations between Young and Smith. The papers here haven't carried the story yet, because it came out after they printed Wednesday's edition. No doubt, the ADN will tee off with it tomorrow. It has some good stuff, like:

Moose Run manager Gary Sanford said he recalls the tournament being held about three times over the past several years. About 16 to 24 people played, mostly Anchorage businessmen, at maybe $100 each, Sanford said. Smith made the arrangements, handled the money and doled out the cash prizes, Sanford recalled. Sanford said he was sometimes around when prize money was handed out and said he doesn't remember ever seeing Young receive cash he didn't win. Sanford said he doesn't know whether records were kept. VECO attorney Amy Menard said she hasn't seen any documents related to the tournaments and Smith's attorney, John Murtagh, did not return messages seeking comment. The events were normally held in August, shortly after Young's annual pig roast fundraiser, which has also attracted FBI attention. Smith organized that event, which drew up to 400 people and cost up to $15,000. The events, which Smith organized for years, were lucrative. The day after the 2006 event, Young's campaign reported nearly $45,000 in donations. After the investigation surfaced, Young amended his campaign finance reports to show he reimbursed VECO founder Bill
Allen about $38,000 for event expenses.

At a recent corruption trial, defense attorneys suggested Smith laundered money by cashing golf tournament checks at a bar under what he called a "phony account."

Dang! Young's people will probably be busy in the morning, dealing with the flak from his collecting green on the greens experience. I'm going to be calling Meredith Kenny, his communications director at 0500 in the morning to see if I can get a statement of support out of Young regarding the plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez class action lawsuit, as I prep for my coverage of it on KUDO this Friday between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. I'm sure Don would normally comply, but now Meredith will have to tell me my congressman is too busy. Looking more and more like Don's gonna be hooking in the sand trap for a long time, unless the Feds give him a Mulligan...

I've also requested statements in support of the plaintiffs from the three Democratic Party candidates vying to run against him, Diane Benson, Ethan Berkowitz and Jake Metcalfe.

November 15 early morning Update: KTUU TV's Megan Baldino covered this story yesterday in the 10:00 p.m. news. The Anchorage Daily News, and not for the first time, seems to have missed an important story about Don Young's connections to Veco. Maybe, like last summer's Wall Street Journal story about Young, it didn't meet their standards. Check today's ADN Newsreader about 10:30 a.m. to see if the AP story gets some mention...

I called Meredith Kenny, Young's communications director early this morning, and left a message. Hopefully, she and Representative Young will come up with a strong statement in support of the tens of thousands of Alaskans still in limbo because of Exxon's negligence.

November 15 early afternoon Update: ADN Newsreader writer Terry Carr posted this statement this morning: The story is linked here, but the AP version will not run in the ADN print edition because of a policy regarding stories based on anonymous sources.

I find that consistent with the position taken by the paper in regard the the WSJ story referenced above, that they were similarly hesitant about last summer. KFQD radio, in their 9:55 a.m. local news gave the AP story their lead, before special session coverage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's the statement from Ethan Berkowitz:



Exxon’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is just another example of the company’s repeated failure to treat Alaska like a respected partner. Thousands of Alaskans are still waiting for the money they are owed. All this in spite of the billions and billions of dollars in profit Exxon has taken off the North Slope. It’s too bad that we’re no longer surprised when Exxon has the audacity to lobby our legislators in Juneau for tax fairness, stall in the D.C. courts and leave Alaska twisting in the tide. The Palin Administration did the right thing filing a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of the state and making sure Alaska stands up to Exxon.