APOC disappoints

Posted: Sunday, December 11, 2005

If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it. I attended the recent Metcalfe versus Stevens hearing as the Alaska Public Offices Commission board totally blew off the sworn testimony of Adak Fisheries owner Kjetil Solberg who testified in Superior Court that he had paid $300,000 to Ben Stevens for political influence.

After reviewing Solberg's sworn testimony with the APOC, Ray Metcalfe reminded the board that "it is a felony" for Sen. Ben Stevens to receive payments for political influence.

However, the APOC board went on with their discussion as though they were discussing a traffic ticket. Metcalfe then handed them an affidavit from a former member of the Purse Seine Vessel Owners Association stating that his association had been paying Ben $5,000 per month which Ben had not reported to APOC. The affidavit stated that he (the maker of the affidavit) had been present at a meeting of his fellow vessel owners when they discussed the logistics of using a "little convoluted accounting" to keep one half million dollars in payments to Ben Stevens off their books.

That got APOC's attention. Chairwoman Sheila Gallagher, (a Randy Ruedrich appointee) immediately sought to strike the Vessel Owners affidavit from the record.

APOC was once considered Alaska's guardian of the public trust. But, at the Metcalfe-Stevens hearing, it seemed more like an alibi for corruption.

Al Sundquist


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