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APOC to consider dismissing Treadwell complaint

Posted: November 4, 2011 - 12:04am

JUNEAU — Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell is asking the Alaska Public Offices Commission to dismiss a complaint over campaign financial disclosures.

The commission, also known as APOC, is scheduled to hear arguments in the case Wednesday and decide whether to grant Treadwell’s request. APOC staff is fighting the request, and seeking a full hearing on the matter. That hearing, if granted, could take place later this month.

The allegations stem from Treadwell’s run for office last year.

APOC staff has alleged that Treadwell’s campaign didn’t punctually and accurately report spending to a law firm, failed to properly amend reports for spending at a restaurant and didn’t accurately report expenditures to an ad firm that APOC staff says provided discounted services.

Treadwell’s attorney, Erin Marston, denies the campaign received any discount and said in legal documents that the campaign timely reported all invoices from the firm, Burkewood Creative.

He wants the matter dismissed without penalty. APOC staff recommended a civil penalty of $9,681.

Burke Wood, the owner of the New Jersey-based ad firm, said in an affidavit that he was hired as a media consultant to the campaign.

He said he included what he described as “courtesy discounts” on some of his invoices to the campaign — even though those weren’t actual discounts.

“I did this so that the total amount for the invoice reflected a commercially reasonable amount based on the market and the amount of work performed,” he said.

In a recorded interview in July, Wood said he understands why APOC staff is questioning the invoices, saying the way in which they were written was “probably not the smartest.”

“If I think a client is willing to spend $5,000 on a project, I’m going for it,” he said, according to a transcript. “If I think I can push him to six by telling them it would have been 10, you know, that’s, I’ll write up the invoice any way I can to, at the end of the day, I just want happy clients and I want to make a little bit of money in the process. And I want them to pay as much as possible without them feeling like they’re getting ripped off.”

He said there were “economies of scale,” and when he looked at all his bills, “I’m like, I can’t bill all this.”

“For instance, one day we did 10 different radio spots in basically a day and a half,” he said. “You can’t bill three or four thousand dollars for each one of those spots,” and he said he didn’t want the campaign to complain about bills getting high.

“I want them liking me, loving me, recommending me, and hopefully I’ll make it up with a win bonus,” he said.

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