The Palin era dairy bailout seemed like such a bad idea back in 2007. Bailing out an industry that couldn't stand on it's own two feet. Appointing unqualified cronies to key positions and then allowing them to give away state agriculture loans without guarantees or proper collatteral. But today, rumors are abound that the FBI has come knocking.
Several of my long time confidential sources stated last week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is knee deep in trying to unwind some of the financial activity surrounding the use of federal government grants awarded to the Matanuska Creamery.
"Something is going on with an FBI investigation regarding the federal grant funds. The FBI has been contacting folks about checks they were given with cash back," read an email I received from one long time dairy source.
"It appears the FBI Investigation is focused on one of the major shareholders," a follow up email read from yet another agriculture insider.
In a phone interview with andrewhalcro.com, Anchorage FBI Special Agent Eric Gonzalez refused to admit or deny that the Bureau was investigating the Mataunuska Creamery. Saying it was agency's policy not to publicly comment, Gonzalez offered nothing by way of confirmation.
But given the number of unconnected individuals who have been reportedly approached by the FBI concerning possible kickbacks from Creamery disbursements, law enforcement's attention appears leveled at the way the fledgling Creamery put their initial grants to use.
While this normally might be surprising, after five years of following this bizarre dairy debacle, not even the FBI's shadow phases me.Halcro's article goes on to give a thorough chronicle of the history of "Dairygate."
Today, Jill Burke at the Alaska Dispatch writes:
Kyle Beus, co-founder and co-owner of Valley Dairy, which does business as Matanuska Creamery, is facing accusations he steered money meant for the dairy operation into his own hands. A six-count indictment filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage charges Beus with wire fraud and false statements used to obtain grant disbursements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
He's accused of pocketing at least $120,000 for his own "personal and discretionary use unrelated to the construction and management of the dairy processing facility," but details enumerated in the indictment suggest the amount may be tens of thousands of dollars higher.
Ice cream and cheese products manufactured by Beus's operation are always a popular draw at farmers markets in Anchorage during the summer.
The government alleges Beus abused his status and relationships with several interrelated companies to facilitate the fraud scheme. Simplified, as a dairy manager with the authority to oversee disbursement of federal grants, prosecutors say Beus used grant-awards and contracted companies as a conduit by which to draw and request cash that was never applied toward the dairy's operations. In some cases, none of the money went toward the dairy's operations. In others, some, but not all of the money drawn was properly used.
In the indictment, Beus is accused of carrying out the scheme by sending false or inflated invoices in support of his funding requests.The Dispatch article notes in conclusion, "Prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing."
Palin is the one that helped orchestrate the sale of Mat Maid to Beus, even though he had defaulted on a previous loan and was under investigation. Essentially Palin's prints are all over this thing, and I have a hard time imagining how she will walk away unscathed.That may well be.
Griffin's commenters, who seem to be salivating over this development, imagine Palin in pink handcuffs, etc.
Will Dennis Zaki's fabled "iceberg" turn end up being made out of ice cream?