City to return funds seized from boy's bank account

Posted: Friday, September 13, 2002

ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage municipal clerk threatened to resign Thursday unless the Anchorage Assembly returned nearly $700 seized from a 6-year-old boy's savings account.

By early afternoon, clerk Greg Moyer got the word: the money will be restored to David Antunes' Wells Fargo bank account. The $672.34 was to have gone toward paying some of the attorney fees of the boy's uncle, Robert W. Hayes, an Assembly candidate who unsuccessfully sued the city and Moyer last spring over an election dispute involving the winning candidate, Brian Whittle.

"I was not making an idle threat," Moyer said of his notice to resign. "I won't be part of something that is not right."

The cash seizure was disclosed late Tuesday night when Hayes, holding a photo of the boy, spoke to the Assembly at its regular meeting. Hayes said the funds were targeted because he is a trustee for his nephew's account.

"I was very angry," Hayes said Thursday. "An innocent child's life savings was stolen. It's not my money. It's his money."

In April, Hayes ran for an East Anchorage assembly seat, coming in a distant third. Later that month, he sued in Superior Court, contesting Whittle's eligibility to run because redistricting had moved Whittle's longtime neighborhood to a new district. The city charter mandates that a candidate live in a district for at least a year.

The Alaska Supreme Court sided with Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski in rejecting Hayes' challenge. In June, Michalski awarded $1,426.66 in attorney fees to the municipal clerk and Assembly, calling Hayes' lawsuit frivolous. Including collector fees, Hayes owes the city $1,721.

Assembly chairman Dick Traini said he directed Assembly attorney Tom Klinkner to collect the fees. A process server discovered the Wells Fargo account through an assets search on Hayes, according to Klinkner. He said only Hayes name and Social Security number turned up on the Wells Fargo account. No one knew it was a child's account until Hayes told the Assembly.



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