Top lobbyist admits conspiracy scheme

Bobrick faces 2 to 2½ years; his cooperation could modify sentence

Posted: Friday, May 18, 2007

ANCHORAGE - A prominent lobbyist will be sentenced after the trial of the former lawmaker he's accused of conspiring to bribe.

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Lobbyist Bill Bobrick, 52, admitted in federal court Wednesday that he conspired to bribe former state Rep. Tom Anderson, an Anchorage Republican.

Bobrick for years claimed a long list of private clients who did business with the municipality of Anchorage, including development and retail companies such as JL Properties, Wal-Mart Stores and Marlow Development Corp.

The five clients he lobbied for this year have dropped him because of his legal troubles.

Bobrick in court accepted responsibility for a scheme to funnel payments to Anderson through a sham company in exchange for the legislator's assistance to a private corrections company. Details of the company in court filings match a description of Cornell Companies Inc. of Houston, Texas, which has tried and failed to win support for a private prison in Alaska.

According to charging documents, the conspiracy to commit extortion, bribery and money laundering started in July 2004 and continued until March 2005.

Bobrick has agreed to testify against Anderson, who was indicted in December on seven charges including bribery, extortion and money laundering. Anderson has pleaded not guilty.

Anderson last year chose not to run again for his east Anchorage seat in the state House. Anderson's trial is scheduled to begin June 25.

Bobrick faces 2 to 2½ years under sentencing guidelines. His sentence could be modified based on his cooperation.

"The judge was pretty clear today," said Doug Pope, Bobrick's defense lawyer, after the hearing. "It's a serious crime. He might give you a sentence that is more than the government recommends. That is a risk that Bill decided to take because he wants to do the right thing. He is really trying to move forward."

U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick asked Bobrick whether he was suffering from any condition that could impair his judgment. Bobrick said he was being treated for depression and that he takes medication and receives counseling. The condition does not affect his ability to move forward, he said.

Bobrick did not comment after the plea. He now must be ready for "continuous cooperation with the government," Pope said. "It's out of my hands."

Bobrick was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond. With permission of a federal probation officer, he'll be allowed to travel out of state. His wife is a medical student in Minnesota.

According to court papers, an FBI informant working for the corrections company paid $24,000 to Bobrick's Pacific Publishing. Bobrick gave $10,828 to Anderson and kept the rest, the documents say. Anderson later complained he was not receiving enough and was paid another $2,000 by the government informant, according to the indictment.

Pacific Publishing was to publish a Web site about Alaska government and politics that Anderson would write for. In reality, the company was created to get money to Anderson and hide the real source, according to prosecutors.

In a secretly recorded conversation July 21, 2004, Bobrick told the informant that he and Anderson were "pitching a bunch of people" to try to get money for Anderson. If the corrections company paid up, Anderson would be "our boy in Juneau," Bobrick told the informant.

Between August 2004 and March 2005, Bobrick was aware of "multiple official acts" that Anderson took to benefit the government informant, the charging document said.

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