Trial reveals commissioner as informant

Former Department of Corrections official named in Tom Anderson case

Posted: Monday, July 02, 2007

ANCHORAGE - A former deputy commissioner of the Department of Corrections was revealed as a government informant during the corruption trial of former state Rep. Tom Anderson.

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The name of Don Stolworthy came up in testimony Friday.

Frank Prewitt, a former Corrections commissioner and later a consultant for Cornell Industries, Inc., a firm that develops and operates private prisons, testified that he worked with Stolworthy in 2004 to develop a compromise on competing legislative bills to build a new prison.

One measure could have led to a Cornell prison in Whittier. The other, supported by the administration of then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, pushed a state-run prison in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Prewitt testified that Stolworthy told him he was worried about losing his job because of union opposition to a private prison.

Prewitt said he assured Stolworthy that "people would be there for him" if that happened. Prewitt told jurors that Stolworthy eventually sought money as a sort of insurance policy if he lost his job.

Stolworthy did so because the FBI asked him to, FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez said Saturday. Stolworthy was working for the FBI as a "cooperating witness," he said.

"We approached him out of the blue," Gonzalez said. "We asked for his help and he said he'd be glad to help us."

Stolworthy "was squeaky clean," Gonzalez said.

Stolworthy's association with the FBI was not revealed at the trial Friday.

Prewitt testified that he was shocked that Stolworthy asked for money and that he read him state ethics laws in response.

The FBI will not discuss what evidence it collected on Prewitt through Stolworthy. In his opening statement Wednesday, federal prosecutor Joe Bottini said that Prewitt may have tried to improperly influence a state Corrections official.

Prewitt is a star witness in the corruption case against Anderson, a former state representative.

Anderson was arrested Dec. 7 and charged with single counts of conspiracy and bribery, three counts of money laundering and two counts of interfering with commerce, a charge connected to a demand for payments.

Defense attorney Paul Stockler on Friday cross-examined Prewitt about possible illegal activities in his background and pressed him on whether he was just testifying against Anderson to save himself. Stolworthy could not be reached by the Anchorage Daily News.

When the state announced Stolworthy's resignation in January 2005, it said he accepted a job for the U.S. Justice Department as a prison warden in Iraq.

Anderson's trial resumes today.



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