Let the Troopergate Fallout Begin.

14 10 2008

The second Troopergate investigation is still underway, but the karmic returns of the events which brought about the whole mess to begin with have started to manifest.

The rumor mill is churning, and the news today is all bad for Governor Palin. 

Trooper Mike Wooten is none too pleased at having his name dragged through the mud by the Palins.  What might be on his mind these days, we wonder?

Wooten, the state trooper, is prepared to sue Palin, her husband, and the state for spending the past three years trying to get him fired from his job, according to John Cyr, the executive director of the Public Safety Employees Association, the union that represents state troopers.

Also, a top Alaska State Trooper official who works with Wooten said Wooten has told several close associates that he will soon file a multimillion lawsuit against Palin. The official requested anonymity because Wooten, who has declined interview requests, did not clear him to speak about the plans.

“Trooper Wooten intends to sue Gov. Palin, her husband, and some people in her administration for slander defamation of character, and civil rights violations,” the official said. “His attorneys are considering filing in state and federal court.”

And what about Walt Monegan, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety – one of the most highly respected public servants in the state, and an ex-marine that Palin said has a “rogue mentality” and committed acts of “outright insubordination?”   He has engaged the services of crackerjack Anchorage attorney Jeff Feldman.  Mr. Feldman has asserted that Palin’s charges have damaged Monegan’s reputation, and has laid the groundwork for a lawsuit by submitting a complaint to the State Personnel Board:

“Mr. Monegan does not challenge the Governor’s right to discharge him as the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety,” the complaint said. “But the Governor is not entitled to make untrue and defamatory statements about her reasons for discharging a cabinet officer.

“Gov. Palin’s public statements accusing Mr. Monegan of serious misconduct were untrue and they have stigmatized his good name, severely damaged — and continue to damage — his reputation and impaired his ability to pursue future professional employment in law enforcement and related fields. This damage thus implicates his constitutionally protected liberty interests.”

Monegan’s attorney signaled that a lawsuit was in the offing, stating that “Mr. Monegan requests that the board declare, or secure a declaration from the Attorney General, that Mr. Monegan has exhausted his administrative remedies and may assert his claim in Superior Court.”

And last, but not least, the people of Alaska are not amused.  Yes, her support here remains strong, but the process of erosion has started.   A recall petition is now being explored… More details to follow.

Advertisements




Mudflats Chat!

14 10 2008

The Mudflats Forum team has been busily researching the best way to hold live chats. They have found a way to chat live via the Forum itself!

You can join in by going to the Forum (permanent link in sidebar), and then click on “Live Chat Now” available 24/7 right here” in the top right hand corner of the screen.

Click HERE to join in!





Son of Troopergate.

14 10 2008

Let me start by saying we know nothing yet. However.

The “other” Troopergate probe into Sarah Palin’s abuse of power in trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired, is taking an interesting turn. The investigation, sanctioned by Palin herself, stems from the Personnel Board. This board is composed of three people, all governor-appointed, two by the previous Republican governor Frank Murkowski, and one re-upped by Palin.

The Legislature, of course, had its own investigation and concluded that Palin was, in fact, guilty of abuse of her power as Governor. But Palin has been decrying the Legislative investigation as a “partisan circus” and a kangaroo court. The REAL investigation, she says, comes from the Personnel Board. So convinced of this was Palin, that she herself is the one who filed the ethics complaint against….herself, just to make sure this Board had the final say.

Timothy Petumenos was appointed as the independent investigator for the Personnel Board. The buzz around town is that he’s a good guy, a competent and aggressive trial lawyer, a straight-shooter, and will do his job well. Then came the awful revelation…Timothy Petumenos is…..a Democrat. (loud ominous chord plays on the Mudflats organ) And not only a Democrat, but one who had contributed to Tony Knowles 2006 gubernatorial campaign when he was running against Palin! (loud, slightly higher on the scale chord plays on the Mudflats organ)

Palin, who said she would cooperate with the Personnel Board’s investigation, is scheduled to be questioned by Petumenos next week.

We took a gamble when we went to the personnel board,” said a McCain aide who asked not to be identified discussing strategy. While the McCain camp still insists Palin “has nothing to hide,” it acknowledges a critical finding by Petumenos would be even harder to dismiss.

But wait, there’s more.

We learned, in the wee hours of the morning, that Timothy Petumenos’ job has gotten a little bigger. The nets are cast wide, and there are more fish than we thought.

The state Personnel Board investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing of Walt Monegan has broadened to include other ethics complaints against the governor and examination of actions by other state employees, according to the independent counsel handling the case.

Indeeeed….

Two other ethics complaints involving Palin are known. One, by activist Andree McLeod, alleges that state hiring practices were circumvented for a Palin supporter. The case is not related to Monegan’s firing. The other, by the Public Safety Employees Association, alleges that trooper Mike Wooten’s personnel file was illegally breached by state officials.

John Cyr, the PSEA executive director, said Monday the union plans to amend its complaint to be sure the board investigates “harassment” of Wooten as well.

There’s no way of knowing how long this will take, or what the results will be, but we may be in for some more surprises before this is over.





Catherine Stevens to Testify, and Emails to Be Turned Over to Prosecution…

14 10 2008

With the nation’s eyes on Palin and the Presidential race, Alaskans have not forgotten the importance of the other races to be decided on November 4th. Indicted senior Senator Ted Stevens is holding his own in the polls against Democratic challenger, and mayor of Anchorage, Mark Begich. Stevens is an institution who is as much a part of Alaskan history as the gold rush. Frankly, there are plenty of Alaskans who wouldn’t hold it against Uncle Ted even if he did “get a little something extra” for himself. They almost feel he deserves it, even though they might not say it out loud.

The presence of Palin on the ticket this year will bring out many Republican voters who may just cast their vote for Ted while they are there. So, the outcome of this trial is pivotal to Alaska’s chance of sending a Democrat to the Senate.

Here’s the latest on the Stevens trial.

WASHINGTON – Sen. Ted Stevens’ wife, Catherine Stevens, is tentatively scheduled to testify today or Wednesday in her husband’s corruption trial, although the senator’s lawyers haven’t said whether she will.

Stevens himself is at the end of the list, as a potential final witness. It’s not clear whether he will testify either, however, and the judge reminded Stevens – out of the presence of the jury – that he was under no obligation to do so.

“It’s your choice, you don’t have to say anything,” said U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan.

Tuesday morning, Judge Sullivan ruled that thousands of e-mails sent by Stevens’ wife, Catherine, will be turned over to federal prosecutors, who had first asked for them more than a year ago.

Communications between Catherine Stevens and her husband “will be relevant to show the material elements of the charges in the indictment, including defendant’s knowledge, intent, and motivation for concealing the benefits he received from VECO,” prosecutors argued.

They added that “in particular, we anticipate that certain documents at the time of the renovations will reflect that both Catherine Stevens and defendant knew they had not paid for the VECO work, and documents thereafter will reflect that Catherine Stevens and defendant took steps in 2004 to mislead the press when the media was investigating the costs associated with the renovations.”

Judge Sullivan said he saw no reason for prosecutors not to have the documents and ordered Stevens’ lawyers to turn them over.

The 84-year-old senator is on trial for lying on the Senate financial disclosure forms he’s required to file each year. He’s charged with accepting gifts and home renovations worth more than $250,000, chiefly from Veco Corp. and its former chief executive, Bill Allen, who was the star witness for the prosecution.

The renovations in 2000 and 2001 doubled the size of the Stevens’ home in Girdwood, expanding it from a small, A-frame cabin into a two-story retreat with multiple decks, a Jacuzzi tub and a Viking outdoor grill. Prosecutors have been laying out a case that much of the work, including the decks as well as plumbing and a complete electrical overhaul, was paid for by Veco.

In another interesting development, while the legal limit for gifts is $250, the communication the prosecution asked for includes documents relating to anything of value given to Stevens, his wife Catherine, and his daughter, Lily, including “any documents relating to diamond earrings.”

I have a feeling those diamond earrings weren’t the under $250 kind.





The Obama Sign Cam Hits the Big Time!

14 10 2008

CNN Video Click Here!

Remember Mudflatter TeachKids, and her son Preston? They’re the ones who had their Obama sign stolen from their front yard in Oregon. Twice!

Preston had the brilliant idea of putting a web cam on the yard sign to catch the thief.  TeachKids mentioned it on Mudflats and presto! A round-the-world community of sign watchers was born! Mudflatters flocked to the sign and chatted the night away, and the day away, and the next night, and so on for the last month, 24/7!

They’ve been on the local news, and the video above was on CNN! Congratulations TeachKids and Preston!

To visit the Obama Sign Cam live, right now, click HERE!





Bed Time in Alaska Open Thread – Brenda?!

14 10 2008

Apparently the irresistable siren song of the swing set has lured Brian the moose back to the yard. And as we have established that Brian is really more of a grand idea, than any one particular moose, you will notice that this one is sans antlers, and therefore a female. Brenda?

After the original Brian got the swingset tangled in his antlers and dragged it into the woods, we retrieved it, and set it back in place. Now, it seems obvious that the appeal, whatever it is, crosses the gender gap. Brenda rubbed her head all over the bars and played with the swings for a little while – long enough for me to snap this picture.

Never a dull moment in Alaska.

**************************************************************

More sidebar toys!  If you look on the sidebar, you’ll notice a few additions. 

  • There is a very cool electoral college widget that has the current state of the electoral college race. 
  • There’s also a link to the Mudflats Amazon Store!  I’ve double checked the WordPress rules, and I’m permitted to have “one discreet link” to an Amazon store, so there it is.  In it you’ll find “Mudflats Recommended” books, and DVDs, and lots of fun election and Alaskan stuff.  Hope you enjoy it!
  • I’ve also moved the Blogger’s Choice Award widget to the top of the sidebar.  Voting ends on October 16, and Mudflats is now in the top 3!  I’m amazed!  Thanks to all who have voted.
  • And finally, there is a Mudflats Twitter feed on the blog.  For those of you who don’t know what Twitter is, it will let me post little messages of 140 characters or less from a cell phone or computer to get information out quickly.  I’ve been meaning to get it up there for a while now.  For those of you who are on Twitter, you can follow me.  The name is Mudflats!

Chatter on Mudpuppies. See you in the morning.