Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, September 08, 2005

State rejects Stevens recall application

ANCHORAGE - An effort to recall the president of the Alaska Senate over conflict of interest charges over his consulting work for an oil company has been rejected by the Alaska Division of Elections.

Elections chief Laura Glaiser said Wednesday she rejected the recall application for state Sen. Ben Stevens, the 46-year-old son of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, on the advice of the Department of Law, because it lacked sufficient factual and legal grounds required by law.

Stevens refused to comment Wednesday night.

The application claimed Stevens as a state senator had a conflict of interest with his consulting work for VECO Corp., an oil field services company.

VECO in 1999 supported a campaign seeking voter permission to use Alaska Permanent Fund money for capital projects, the application said. Voters rejected the proposal with an 83 percent vote.

KTOO holds Katrina victims fundraiser

JUNEAU - KTOO-FM Radio Juneau will conduct a live, on-air marathon to raise money for the American Red Cross efforts to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, the station announced.

The fundraiser is 8:30 a.m. to noon Friday. A series of guests will discuss their experiences and perspectives on the disaster along the Gulf Coast. Red Cross volunteers will staff a phone bank at the station to accept donations.

The program is called "Katrina: Juneau Responds," and is part of a nationwide effort on all public radio stations. National Public Radio typically is barred from conducting fundraisers for nonprofits, but received an exemption from the Federal Communications Commission.

Ex-soldier admits defrauding Permafund

ANCHORAGE - A former Fort Richardson soldier has admitted that he defrauded the Alaska Permanent Fund of thousands of dollars in dividend payments, the U.S. Attorney's office said Wednesday.

Paul Kent, 38, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court on Tuesday. Sentencing was set for Jan. 4. Kent faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the wire fraud charge. He also may be ordered to pay restitution to the state.

According to prosecutors, Kent defrauded the state of over $17,000 in dividend payments for his family.

Kent, who had been stationed at Fort Richardson in the late 1990s, was arrested May 6 in Atlanta.

Permanent fund dividends generally are paid to full-time Alaska residents, with certain exceptions, including those on active duty service in the armed forces.

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