Sealaska shareholders should have more say

Posted: Monday, March 03, 2008

I am one of many Sealaska shareholders who wonder why in the world Sealaska will have its annual meeting in San Francisco?

Most of us cannot afford to fly to San Francisco and rent a motel room just so we can attend the meeting. Is the meeting in California so that Sealaska board members can make new decisions - such as the decision to add new shareholders - without the majority of shareholders to have a say about it?

I could swear that when Sealaska was first started, it was decided that we shareholders would will our shares to our kids, so they could become shareholders too. Now that Sealaska board members have added all these new shareholders, some of them own more share than the original shareholders, such as myself.

I also work on the Alaska Marine Highway System and have a chance to talk to many shareholders. They tell me they voted against adding new shareholders because our dividends are so small compared to other Native corporations.

I was under the assumption that Sealaska was owned by the shareholders and not by the board members and their immediate families, who seem to be the only ones helped and hired by Sealaska.

Mike Pavao


Editor's note: The original letter to the editor in Monday’s Juneau Empire incorrectly stated the percentage of Sealaska Corp. shareholders that live in Southeast Alaska. Of 19,000 shareholders, a little more than half live in Alaska. The author also wrote about board member bonuses in the letter, but the organization’s board members do not receive bonuses, according to Sealaska officials. This version has been corrected.

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