Corey Rossi, the director of the Alaska Department of Wildlife Conservation, has resigned after he was charged Thursday with a dozen misdemeanor counts related to illegal bear kills allegedly made during hunts he guided in 2008.From what I know, there is probably going to be more hanging over Rossi than a dozen misdemeanors. For one thing, how often does this happen in misdemeanor charges:
Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokesperson Nancy Long says Fish and Game Commission Cora Campbell accepted Rossi's resignation at 5 p.m. Thursday. Long said the incidents outlined in the charges happened before Rossi's employment with the state.
Alaska State Troopers say the charges against Rossi, 51, include one count of permit hunt report violations, three counts of making false statements on black bear sealing certificates, two counts of unsworn falsification, one count of illegal possession of an illegally taken bear, and five counts of unlawful acts by an assistant big game guide.
Troopers made it clear they did not act on their own.The Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals is the main source of attorneys and investigators in the realm of white collar crime. They don't normally do misdemeanors Or a dozen of them.
"Charges were filed by the Department of Law, Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, following an investigation by the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Wildlife Investigations Unit after learning of the offenses through an unrelated out-of-state operation conducted by another agency," the trooper statement said.
Here's part of the scam I think they're going to go after Rossi on, perhaps holding it over him, to get at people involved in kickbacks:
Rossi has also been active with the organization Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, a somewhat controversial hunter advocacy group. Guide Aaron Bloomquist, who has a business relationship with Rossi, was recently handed coveted, special permits from the wildlife division for bison, Dall sheep and musk ox. He is to take the permits to the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake in February where they are to be auctioned to raise funds for the organization.If I write more, I might get whacked. But this line in Craig Medred's Dispatch article on the bust is surely the understatement of the day:
While this has been going on, Rossi has been lobbying to try to expand the wildlife director's authority over those permits to gain the power to change state hunting rules. Some in the department say he appears to wish to make it possible for the people who pay thousands for such permits, sometimes as much as $100,000, to obtain easy access to their hunts by means of helicopters.
The charges against Rossi were expected to send a shock wave through the state's hunting community and make him even more controversial.