Thursday, March 4, 2010

What a Sham - With Major Update

What a sham our Alaska press has become.

The ex-part-term-governor our press could have exposed as worthless, when she reached her Peter principle level as (quitter) chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission eight years ago, is reaching new levels of banal retention. The Alaska press is missing it.

Our current Anchorage mayor, after being exposed this morning by the ADN's Sean Cockerham as a total fraud, got Cockerham's employer to shut off comments to his article for a long while this morning, because some honesty was starting to accumulate in the rapidly growing comment thread in a fairly damning way.

And now, our most assiduous, truth-seeking Alaska blogger is asking important questions about one of the three finalists for next president of our state's university system.

Retired UAA professor Steve Aufrecht, who has moved to Juneau for the 2010 legislative session, after listening to retired USAF Gen. Patrick Gamble brag about his accomplishments Wednesday at one of the dog and pony shows Steve has noted for their lack of transparency, decided to do what real reporters here are supposed to do, but often (stenography is SO easy!) don't get around to - look it up.

Gen. Patrick Gamble bragged about being commandant of the very dysfunctional USAF Academy during a time when the incidents of sexual assault against female cadets reached a level way beyond epidemic. He didn't quite state his case that way, but Steve helps us out, as he sums up:

The situation at the Air Force Academy during Gamble's reign raises questions about the effectiveness of General Gamble's leadership in an issue that is significant to a large percentage of UAA students and faculty. Remember, he takes credit in his CV for directing

"all training, policy development, dormitory, food service, military classroom education and logistics support"

at the Air Force Academy when 78% of the women cadets reported sexual harassment on a recurring basis.

It's possible that the search committee has carefully reviewed all this and determined that Gen. Gamble's role was exemplary. And I would understand that they might not wish to draw attention to the issue if not asked. So I'm asking. But somehow I doubt this was ever discussed.

I doubt it was either. It is becoming more clear every day, that Gamble, a guy who most recently helped drive the Alaska Railroad into a situation where it is quickly losing revenue opportunities, is Gen. Hamilton's anointed successor.

Could things be worse?

Maybe, but this guy is not qualified to run the company I work for. I'll stake my job on it.

Good job, Steve.

Update - 10:55 a.m: Mel Green has written another great article on what is now being termed by some as Sullygate. Mel has posted it at Henkimaa and at Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis.

The foremost question in my mind, reading through Mel's thorough chronology, regards Anchorage Municipal attorney Dennis Wheeler. It appears to me, that unless he has seen some written document that has not yet been made public, he may have committed a Class B felony by purporting at a public meeting an actual contractual situation between the Sullivan Family Trust and the Municipality of Anchorage existed at the Februaruy meeting at which the vote took place.

However, since the time Mayor Wuerch was strongly advised against continuing an illegal relationship with the Sullivans, by continuing to accept their small amounts of money in return for a later, far larger payout, this relationship has clearly been in violation of State law. Wheeler, by purporting to the Assembly in February that Wuerch's disregard of advice from employees of the Municipality and of Aetna back in 1982 to simply return the money to the Sullivans they then held, constitutes some kind of legally binding contract, appears to me to have been malfeasance or worse. Since Wheeler advised giving Sullivan such a large amount of money - over $170,000 more than the Sullivans had handed over to the municipality, I believe Wheeler's recommendation is the most serious kind of fraud.

Alaska Statute 11.46.180, Theft by Deception, clearly states that:

a) A person commits theft by deception if, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate property of another to oneself or a third person, the person obtains the property of another by deception.

(b) In a prosecution based on theft by deception, if the state seeks to prove that the defendant used deception by promising performance which the defendant did not intend to perform or knew would not be performed, that intent or knowledge may not be established solely by or inferred solely from the fact that the promise was not performed.

(as the pecuniary aspect of this - $170,000 of taxpayers' money - is not "having no pecuniary significance," section (c) of AS 11.46.180 does not apply here.)

Some might argue that Wheeler's appearance before the assembly, and his not objecting to Assemblyman Patrick Flynn's statement about the possibility of a lawsuit against the City by the Mayor, knowing what Wheeler knew if there indeed is not a written contract, also constitutes a violation of AS 11.41.520 Extortion. By not explaining that Sullivan has no basis for a credible lawsuit against the Municipality, Wheeler may have abetted the extortion of $170,000 from the taxpayers, by allowing Flynn's statement to become, as AS 11.46.180 describes it, "A threat or suggestion to perform any of the acts described in (a) of this section includes an offer to protect another from any harmful act when the offeror has no apparent means to provide the protection or when the price asked for rendering the protection service is grossly disproportionate to its cost to the offeror."

The sooner Wheeler is investigated by the State of Alaska Department of Law Office of Special Prosecutions, the better.

There is no legal contract.

There never was, and once Wuerch went against solid advice, and failed to bring the matter back before the appropriate bodies, all subsequent actions may have been clearly illegal.

The money appears to me to have been knowingly extorted from the taxpayers of Anchorage by Dennis Wheeler's intentional misrepresentation of the true nature of the legality of the arrangement between the Sullivan Trust and the MOA. Once the money changed hands, Wheeler was a party to at least two Class B felonies, in my opinion.


Anonymous said...

Augusta Chronicle, The (GA) - Friday, August 26, 2005
Author: Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Hostile attitudes and inappropriate treatment of women persist at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Naval Academy , a Pentagon task force says in a new study.

The panel called for better training of future officers at the academies , saying the value of women in the military should be better emphasized. It said present training regarding sexual harassment and assault issues is inadequate, resulting in misunderstandings by cadets and midshipmen about how to obtain medical care, counseling and legal assistance.

"The sexual harassment and assault training programs at both academies are not effective in conveying key concepts," the task force said in a report issued Thursday. The study's authors included several military officers and experts on sexual harassment and assault issues.

The Report of the Defense Task Force on Sexual Harass-ment and Violence and the Military Service Academies is the latest to deal with sexual issues and cultural attitudes at the military academies after a scandal at the Air Force Academy surfaced in January 2003.

Other studies have focused on the Air Force Academy , and its leadership has been replaced.
But Congress also requested a look at the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.

The new study credited both academies with making progress in addressing some sexual harassment and assault issues. But it called for putting more women in leadership roles and said more women should be admitted as cadets and midshipmen.

"Some research shows that a 'critical mass' can make a difference in creating an environment that has a markedly positive effect on the acceptance and integration of women in a mostly male community, resulting in decreased incidence of sexual harrassment and assault," the report said. "Admissions standards and service needs should not be compromised in this effort."

In March, the military released results of surveys at all three military academies. Women reported they have faced about 300 incidents of sexual assault since they enrolled, a figure the military says is comparable to civilian schools.
Edition: ALL
Section: NEWS
Page: A08
Record Number: 0508260183
Copyright (c) 2005 The Augusta Chronicle

Anonymous said...

I thought he'd sold his almost million dollar house in Anchorage and retired out to Big Lake.

Seems like a nice enough guy but how many failures can you preside over without it affecting your fabulous employment opportunities?

I guess some people just lead a charmed life.

Anonymous said...

Was he the commandant of the Air Force Academy during the time that the right-wing "Christian" officers and cadets were imposing their belief system? Sounds like it.

Philip Munger said...


That has been going on since the 1970s. Part of the reason is the proximity of the Academy to Colorado Springs, a hotbed of dominionist groups.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't our university system had enough of the "General" mentality for now? What the hell are the regents thinking?