Kookesh apology letter meets the requirements

Posted: Thursday, March 18, 2010

An apology letter from Angoon Sen. Albert Kookesh to the city of Craig has met the Ethics Committee's requirements, committee staffer Joyce Anderson said in an e-mail Wednesday from her Anchorage office.

In Kookesh's letter, he continued to deny having intended to use his power as a senator to "obtain a favorable outcome" while endorsing a Sealaska lands bill before the Craig City Council.

Kookesh, also chairman of the board of directors of Sealaska Corp., noted that the city's capital spending requests to the Legislature would be heard by both himself and another Sealaska board member, Rep. Bill Thomas, a Republican from Haines.

In the letter, Kookesh apologized for a "poor choice of words." City representatives told the Empire Tuesday they accepted the apology.

Kookesh, a Democrat, represents Senate District C, which include many of Southeast's rural communities, including Craig.

The Ethics Committee's Senate subcommittee found probable cause that Kookesh's comments were a violation of ethics laws.

In response, the committee instructed Kookesh to write a letter of apology for the poor choice of words, and send it to Craig, other Alaska senators, news media in his district, and "any other individuals who request a copy."

Requests by the Empire to Kookesh's office failed to produce a copy of the March 4 letter, but one was provided by Anderson on Wednesday.

"The apology letter met the requirements as determined by the committee," Anderson said.

"The public distribution requirements were met as well: the officials of the city of Craig, to the members of the Senate, and to members of the media from Senate District C. She did not say how she confirmed the distribution requirements had been met.

"There could be many reasons," why Kookesh's office failed to provide a copy to the Empire, she said.

The committee is relying upon Kookesh to comply with the distribution requirements, Anderson said.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 586-4816 or patrick.forgey@juenauempire.com.

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