Miller faces deadline to respond to borough

Posted: Tuesday, December 07, 2010

JUNEAU - A former employer of Republican Joe Miller is threatening to take its concerns about missing e-mails to investigators or the state bar association if Miller doesn't respond to questions surrounding the matter.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough set a Monday deadline for Miller to provide "any e-mails or any other documents he has in his possession relating to FNSB business." The letter was provided to The Associated Press on Monday under an open records request to the borough.

It's not clear whether Miller even has any such documents. But if there is no response, Assistant Borough Attorney Jill Dolan said the borough will make a decision on how to proceed with the information it has.

That could include going to the "appropriate investigating agency" or the bar, she said in an interview Monday morning. She did not immediately return messages later in the day.

In a letter to Dolan on Monday, Miller attorney Thomas Van Flein sought clarification on the borough's e-mail retention policy. Van Flein has maintained that Miller followed protocol.

He also requested a list or copies of all Miller e-mails that the borough has so Miller "can search any of his archives to see if there are additional ones not on this list."

"As you are no doubt aware, Mr. Miller would sometimes copy e-mails from the Borough account to private accounts in order to work on matters outside the office," Van Flein wrote. "It is entirely possible any e-mail the Borough is seeking could be in such a file. But we need the list of e-mails or copies that you already have in order to start the process."

Van Flein has said Miller printed copies of correspondence related to issues he was working on when he resigned as a part-time government attorney in 2009. Van Flein has accused the borough of trying to make political hay of the issue, raised in a letter to Miller attorneys more than a year after he'd left and while he was in the throes of a U.S. Senate race.

Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto has labeled the inquiry harassing.

The borough claims Miller's inbox was emptied when he resigned. Borough attorney Rene Broker said last week that about 15,000 e-mails had been recovered but she wasn't sure if there were others yet to be found and hadn't gotten a clear answer from Miller on that.

Broker also said she has had e-mails deleted inadvertently but did not know what had happened in this case. She said it's a crime to intentionally delete public records.

Dolan sent Miller's camp a letter spelling that out, and asking that Miller save any e-mails related to borough business that he may have sent on personal accounts.

Van Flein, in a letter to Broker and Dolan, dated Oct. 28, questioned the borough's motivations.

"By transmitting this letter, with the 'threat to accuse' Mr. Miller of a crime unless he acted according to your demands, and deadlines set forth in your letter, you insinuated harm to him and his reputation," he wrote.

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