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November 18, 2009

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Neo

The figure it must be the Dragons or the Liberty .. is this a trick question ?

daddy

Mark Begich Update:

The Report by the Anchorage Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler to determine if Senator Mark Begich, while Mayor, intentionally withheld essential financial info from his City Assembly Personnel is out.

He did.

City Attorney "Wheeler said in an interview he believes Begich violated the city charter but said other people might come to different conclusions. Begich's behavior was not within "the range of competent administration of the municipality's budget."

Key graph in the findings of the 60 page PDF:

"We conclude that Mayor Begich knew that revenues for the 2008 and 2009 budgets were reasonably certain to be less than appropriations and that the shortfall would have significant impact on the municipality's financial well-being, but did not timely report this to the Assembly."

That story">http://www.adn.com/mark_begich/story/1018683.html">story and the related ">http://media.adn.com/smedia/2009/11/18/16/Wheeler_report.source.prod_affiliate.7.pdf"> 60 page PDF is here.

Don't know what will happen next, nor whether it crosses into the area of unethical behavior or willful criminality or merely gross incompetence. If only he were a Republican that determination would be front and center and trumpeted by all the State Media sources and on CNN etc, and I could tell you what to expect next.
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Begich being a Democrat however, and the Media here being extremely Pro-Dem and Pro-Begich, judgement is being withheld, and it's turning into "he-said, she-said" coverage, with immediate responses by Begich and his crony's on the Nightly News Shows to poo-poo this report as Political "got'cha-ism." Begich BTW knows Political "got'cha ism", as that is what enabled him to defeat falsely prosecuted Senator Ted Stevens in last years election by 3,500 votes.

For folks interested in this, I will spend time tomorrow listening to my odious local Talk Shows trying to find out what, if anything, happens next, but since IANAL, hopefully some of you Legal guys can take a few minutes to peruse this stuff and see what you think.

BR

Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies.

BR

Like a scene from one of those British regimentals-in-India movies, where the bully is made to run on all fours with his pants down while being chased with barbecue forks or something, that's what this biased press deserves :)

daddy

Simply as a recap to the Begich above.

While Mayor, after having won Steven's Senate seat and just before leaving for DC, Begich decided to use the majority Lib City Assembly Board to bestow new lavish contracts on a number of his City Union constituencies; Fire Fighter's Union, Police Union, etc. Some of the New Contracts did not need to be done at the time, and the remarkable new lengths (5 years) of the Contracts, meant that the next Mayor (whom Begich probably expected to be a Republican) would be unable to do anything about the contracts except figure out how to raise taxes to pay for them during the new guys 4 year term.

Shortly before the Contract votes, Begich received a memo from Weddelton, his Chief Financial Officer, specifically telling him the City was in bad financial straits, that a hiring freeze should be instituted immediately due to budget shortfalls, and that these contracts would put the City between 30 to 100 million in the hole.

Begich hid that info from the Assembly Members voting on the Contracts, encouraged them to vote for the contracts, and successfully encouraged tabling of motions that would have allowed Conservative Assembly Members to have increased access to the actual state of City Finances. Neither he nor Weddelton ever provided that memo or that specific info to the voting Assembly members. His excuse after the fact, was in essence, that they all knew about that stuff via bits and pieces anyway, and it should have been their job to put all the pieces together, so it's their fault, not mine, and I did nothing wrong, etc.

As a result the Union contracts passed, Begich left town, and shortly afterwards the shortfalls came to light. Again that was very poorly covered by our miserable news media, until the election of our current Fiscally Conservative Republican Mayor, who refused to raise taxes, and instead started eliminating City Services and pay raises to cover the 30 million dollar shortfall. By doing that, this riled up our miserable Press and the Lib Assembly members so much that finally coverage of the origin of the shortfall was publicly demanded and reluctantly undertaken. In Public hearings the Lib Assembly members tried to squash any investigation, but Public anger fomented by local Talk Radio was so vehement at these disingenuous Lib Assembly Members intent on covering it up, that 1 flipped during a vote to squash an investigation, and as a result City Attorney (Wheeler) was appointed to investigate the Begich matter, tho' I believe he was refused requested subpoena power of all relevant documents. That last I will try to verify.

Anyhow, his 2 month long report is what has just been released in the 60 page PDF linked above, and that's where we now sit.

If nothing else, at least now you know that Senator Mark Begich has a track record of trying to get you to support or vote for something while lying to you about how much it will cost the taxpayers. But you already knew that.

I doubt any of you will see this about Begich anywhere on your local or National News, but if you do I'd love to know about it. FWIW, 90% of this is from Talk Radio interviews with the Assembly members, because it's just not decently covered by our local Press.

daddy

Hi there BR,

"where the bully is made to run on all fours with his pants down while being chased with barbecue forks..."

I was thinking Tar and Feather's but I like your suggestion just as well:)

BR

Unlike Atlas Shrugged, on our island, we'll have an adjacent island where we'll keep all the biased press porkies (transported there on our pirate ship, Clarice cutlass in hand) and occasionally we'll row over there and have luaus and pig-on-a-spit barbecue parties.

BR

Must have been telepathy, didn't know you're still awake :)

daddy

Actually I am asleep, it's just my anger that's still wide awake. Grrrrrr!

BR

What shall we call it? Point-of-no-Return Island? What's that island where convicts used to be sent to? Not Australia, the French one in Papillon?

BR

During CBSgate, the motto was "Bloggers Never Sleep"!

BR

Btw, did you see my response to you in the Gods Must Be Crazy thread? When I saw this one, I was licking my lips, ahhh, another man-talk thread to decode :)

daddy

Sorry BR,

I never got past your photo-link to that island of nude volleyballers. If there were words attached I didn't notice 'em.

BR

Oh, okay, this helps me in my further decoding. I'll inform my fellow Pleiadians to speak in visuals during conversions.

peter

There's some connection between Bruce Ratner, the developer who is getting a sweetheart deal to pull a Kelo style eminent domain basketball arena on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and Progressive Insurance, which supports hard left politicians, but I don't have the time to research it all. But if the Nets are losing, I don't lose sleep over it. Nor do I lose sleep if the Knicks, with Spike Lee and Woody Allen in the front row seats never win another game.

hit and run

Be of good cheer New York sports fans.

At least the Giants stopped their streak of consecutive weeks of losses at four!

Not by winning,of course,by using the bye week.

They resume their quest of consecutive games lost this Sunday,hosting the also 5-4 Falcons.

In other NFL news, Andrea Kramer filed a Sports Center report on the Patriots. Regarding players questioning Belicheck's decision to go for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter against the Colts,she said no one on the team is "going rogue".

Kramer was off camera at the time,so no indication whether she winked when she said it.

daddy

Begich update points from local talk radio:

Begich refused to take verbal questions during the investigation by Wheeler. He only took written questions, and he only answered the ones he cared to answer. Apparently the investigating Attorney did not have power to compel all responses to his questions. This is not mentioned in the ADN or other print stories.

This is not verbatim, but to the extremely pertinent question which was essentially (Mister Begich, after you received the memo from Weddleton telling you about the 30-100 million dollar budget shortfall and recommending an immediate hiring freeze, what did you say in response?), Senator Begich choose not to respond. This is not mentioned in the ADN story.

Chief Financial Officer Weddleton in a near contemporaneous e-mail or memo following the budget shortfall disclosure, asked Begich if he wanted her to try to "cover up the shortfall cosmetically", by in essence cooking the books, without using the terminology of "cooking the books". Talk Host said Begich choose not to answer that question. Again not reported in ADN story.

In a while the host will have on as guests the investigating Attorney (Wheeler), and Conservative Assemblyman Starr,both integral to this investigation.

Opinion seems to be that Begich definitely violated the City Charter by mis-performing his duties as Mayor, but that punitive action to deal with that mis-performance is not currently covered in the City Charter. Speculation is that an Assembly vote would have to be taken to warrant bringing in the State Attorney General to do a more thorough investigation with subpoena power to get to the bottom of the case. Currently the Assembly sits at 1 more Liberal than Conservative, so it appears if that if that is the avenue that is to be taken, 1 Lib Assembly-person would have to flip and join the minority Conservatives to allow such an Investigation to go forward. I doubt that will happen.

If anyone cares, I will post updates and clarification after the host interviews his 2 guests later in the show.

daddy

Assemblyman Bill Starr (Conservative) says that after reading the in depth 60 page PDF, it really illuminates to him how much true financial info was available to Begich and and when it was available to Begich, and how it reinforces his opinion that that info was intentionally hidden from the Assembly and that in many questions at various Assembly meetings, Assembly personnel did ask the exact proper questions about particular finances, and were intentionally deceived by Begich and/or his CFO, who instead provided false rosy scenarios about the true status of finances, apparently in order to achieve the yes votes for the Union Contracts.

As to Begich ignoring particular questions, Starr says that Begich carefully scripted and micro-managed how discussions went in various Assembly meetings, so he dfoes not believe Begich's current excuses and believes Begich is intentionally not answering those particular questions in order to keep his actions hidden.

Starr says Page 48 of the PDF relates to anachronistic re-editing (meaning going back and changing entries that had previously been made) bu Financial Officers of the ledger books in late December (before Begich left) which cooked the books and allowed extra spending by Begich without having to go to the Assembly to publicly and openly ask for more funds, and that that should absolutely be investigated for criminality. Hopes an investigation happens, says I needs to happen, but doesn't know if it will happen.

Starr says that on more than 9 and closer to 12 different occasions, at Official Assembly meetings, Begich had the financial info and the opportunity to present that true financial info to the Assembly, but he did not do it.

Starr says in his opinion the PDF shows a pattern of deception and a conspiracy by Begich (Starr's word) to deceive the Assembly.

Next Assembly meeting not for a further 2 weeks when this will be discussed, so my guess is the media will let it lapse dormant, and if public pressure is not still heightened at that meeting and we remain distracted by Health Care and any other insanity happening in Congress, cover will have been provided sufficient to allow the Assembly to kill further investigation.

The Investigating City Attorney still to come.

daddy

Fagan reads some comments from the 60 page PDF about how junior level Financial Controllers said contemporaneously that they were not allowed to do the anachronistic re-editing of the City Ledger books that they were being told to undertake and that was eventually undertaken. None of this was in any of the ADN story's.

See what a good job the ADN is doing of letting us know only what they want us to know? I hope this comes across as a perfect example of why I hate our local Alaska Media, and specifically the Anchorage Daily News.

Wheeler up sometime in the next hour.

Jack is Back!

daddy,

New slogan for Alaska Economic Development Agency:

"What is said or reported in Alaska, stays in Alaska (unless daddy decides differently)."

Expect sexually aroused high-rollers to flood Anchorage.

daddy

City Attorney Dennis Wheeler was appointed about 2 months ago, following a split Assembly vote in favor of conducting a prelim investigation without subpoena power of the Begich affair, and to determine if the Union Contracts were legal, or if illegally pushed thru, whether they should be ready for a do-over.

Wheeler said that Begich violated the City Charter.

What should happen next asks the Host Fagan?

Wheeler recommends that the new Mayor and the current Assembly should update the City Charter so that in future such a situation will not recur. He makes no recommendation to push this on to the Attorney General nor to any other body. His assignment is completed and the ball is now back in the Assembly's court. He is a very precise speaking, logical cold fish---decent, but passionless and definitely trying to not be seen as taking sides of any kind, and not recommending any further investigation...simply stating that what happens next is the purview of the Assembly.

He believes the Union Contracts are legit and should stay in effect. He does not explain why, nor does the Host pursue the question in the limited time.

He said Begich sideways addressed in some form or variety all the questions even tho in the PDF he says Begich did not specifically answer in writing the 2 crucial questions, as detailed in the 60 page PDF

He says he asked CFO Weddleton if Begich had advised her what to do following sending Begich the memo with the bad but real financial data and that she responded Begich did not tell her what to do. Wheeler said he had asked a similar question of Begich, but Wheeler somewhat sidestepped the particulars of the answer to that question, and did not go into any details or specifics. He said eventually all answers to his questioning would be available on line. This interview was brief and I do not know Wheeler's political affiliation.

Attorney Wheeler was questioned by Fagan about the assistant financial controller who in the PDF comments had said contemporaneously that she thought the re-editing of the City budget ledger, (after the budget shortfalls were already known by Begich and the Chief Financial Officer) was wrong, and Wheeler acknowledged that she said so because she thought to re-edit them would constitute deception. Wheeler also acknowledged that she thought it would be dishonest.

Wheeler said Begich specifically broke the City Charter because Begich knew that revenues were reasonably certain to be less than appropriations and that the shortfall would have significant impact on the municipality's financial well-being, but did not timely report this to the Assembly. He says this is evident using a reasonable man criteria, but he does not assign any motives to Begich, nor will he comment further upon that.

Wheeler did not have subpoena power, but if the Assembly does vote to have him or someone else continue the investigation in future he considers subpoena power important, and acknowledges to Fagan's questioning that if some higher Legal Authority like the State Attorney General be empowered to investigate further, he should have subpoena power to compel testimony, including the testimony of Senator Begich.

With that the interview ended, and in my uneducated opinIon, we are looking at another example of successful political chicanery accomplished. I believe enough cover was provided to the Lib Assembly members by this investigation, that with the aid and abetting of our local paper and Media, intent on sweeping this under the rug, they will have the necessary fortitude against public anger to vote, 2 weeks hence, to squelch any further investigation, including at the Attorney General level where this investigation rightly should continue. But IANAL, just a Taxpayer who has been well and truly screwed by Begich, so take that for what its worth.

Too bad. So sad. Will see.

TM, Thanks and apologies for my using so much of your bandwidth. I do hope this extravagant pursuit of local minutia on my part did not offend. Feel free though to come join me now for a desperately needed drink at The Moose's Tooth---I'm buying.

Ann

Thank You, daddy! We need more patriots reporting the news of the day. I feel like I am in China but want to be in Alaska at The Moose's Tooth right now.

daddy

Thanks for that Ann,

Name your poison. Bartender...

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