Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Did Knowles Forget? VECO owner Bill Allen led his 1994 transition team

Tony Knowles recently proclaimed himself squeaky clean of VECO influence. I doubt that Tony really forgot but maybe a few Daily News clips can refresh his memory. When Tony was elected he appointed VECO owner Bill Allen to head up his transition team.

Bill Allen helped raise over four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000.00) for Tony to use as he saw fit and Tony gave VECO’s clients a lease on a multi billion dollar oilfield without the requirement of competitive bid.

In an article printed in the Anchorage Daily News, October 18, 1998, that made reference to me (Ray Metcalfe) for blasting Tony Knowles for giving away Alaska’s resources in exchange for oil company favors, the Daily News said the following about Tony Knowles:

* “Within weeks of his 1994 election, he traveled to the corporate headquarters of Arco, Exxon and BP in Los Angeles, Houston and London. He took with him members of his transition team, including Bill Allen, chairman of VECO Corp., the oil field service company that years later won contracts to build production modules for Arco's Alpine field and BP's Northstar. VECO publishes the Voice of the Times.”

On January 16, 1995, the Anchorage Daily News said:

* “VECO also has the ear of Gov. Tony Knowles. The company and people affiliated with it gave Knowles' campaign $8,500.00 and VECO chairman Bill Allen is a member of the Knowles transition team.”

Then there is the story of “the Governor’s Fund.” reported in the Anchorage Daily News December 23, 1995:

· “Oil companies and lawyers were the biggest spenders earlier this month at an event that poured more than $161,000 into a political fund that Gov. Tony Knowles can tap at will. …..The Governor's Fund is a Democratic Party account that was set up primarily for Knowles' use. The figures released Friday also show that, so far this year, $375,000 has been deposited into the Governor's Fund and about $105,000 has been spent…. More than three-quarters of the $160,000 donated at the event would be illegal under a proposed ballot initiative to reform Alaska's campaign finance laws. The initiative, which supporters hope to get on next fall's ballot, would bar contributions to parties from companies, political action committees and labor unions.”

The Governors Fund didn't account for what had already been contributed to Tony’s campaign. It was in addition to his campaign contributions.

Immediately following the events described above, Tony Knowles arranged to give British Petroleum a completely rewritten lease. The Lease was conveyed in a manner intended to avoid the competitive bid process and given free of charge to BP even though Governor Knowles’ own advisers told him that the lease could possibly sell for as much as $225 million if put out to competitive bid on the same revised terms Tony was giving BP for free.

When Governor Knowles proposed his dirty deed, on April 19, 1996, the Anchorage Daily News said the following:

* “Ever since the Northstar deal was announced, several legislators have questioned whether it would be wise, or even legal, to alter leases that originally were purchased 17 years ago in a competitive-bid sale. Others have complained that the agreement has too many ''weasel words,'' especially in the nonbinding local-hire provisions.”

As soon as the deal was done the following companies put additional $59,000 into the “Governor’s Fund.” October 7, 1996, BP $20,000.00 and ARCO $10,000.00. On October 17, 1996. BP, an additional $10,000.00. October 30, 1996, ARCO, an additional $4,000.00. On November 5, 1996, VECO gave $15,000.00.

In an Anchorage Daily News article published May 30, 1998: Fritz Pettyjohn, a former Republican legislator from Anchorage, was quoted as he emerged from a closed-door meeting of the Republican Party Central Committee. The Committee had elected to show a united front, rejecting a proposed withdrawal of Party support, from John Lindauer. John Lindauer was the Republican Party’s Nominee for Governor, and he had repeatedly been caught lying about his candidacy.

Placing his loyalty to party and unity over his loyalty to ethics and honor, Fritz Pettyjohn, described John Lindauer as a “pathological liar” to an Anchorage Daily News reporter. After doing so, he then said “But, hey, he's our guy” and went on to explain that in the spirit of party unity, they had decided to hang tough with Lindauer.

Parties and party leaders will face credibility problems until they choose to place loyalty to honor and ethics above their loyalty to party unity and a united front.

I invite the Democratic Party to take a hard look at the above and do with Tony Knowles what the Republicans should have done with John Lindauer in 1998.

From Ray Metcalfe


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