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What do you all think of this KTUU story tonight re Mark Begich?

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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-01-07 10:19 PM
Original message
What do you all think of this KTUU story tonight re Mark Begich?
Edited on Wed Aug-01-07 10:19 PM by Blue_In_AK
Is this just a legitimate concern, a matter of Alaska being too small and interconnected, or is it Disco Ray just trying to be an equal-opportunity shit-stirrer?

Begich played role in archive land buy

by Jason Moore
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Questions surfaced today about an Alaska politician who's mixing business and politics, and about his financial disclosures.

The questions were not directed toward a member of Alaska's congressional delegation; rather, they were to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

Begich played a role in a Midtown land deal now under the microscope because of an appropriation by Sen. Stevens that benefited his former business partners.

Turns out the senator and Begich shared the same business partners.

The land deal involved an eight-acre parcel off of Denali Street near the Z.J. Loussac Public Library. It was purchased by the National Archives and Records Administration, courtesy of a Stevens' earmark, and bought from developers John Rubini and Leonard Hyde.

Rubini and Hyde are former business partners with the Alaskan senator. They sold the property for more than double what they bought it for after owning it for only one year. The value shot up after the property was rezoned from residential to commercial.

Ray Metcalfe, a longtime Stevens' critic, has been complaining about the deal and the benefits it reaped Alaska's senior senator

"They rezoned it so the appraisal would go up, so they could successfully sell the property here behind us for $3.5 million, which they purchased one year earlier for $1.3 million," Metcalfe said.

Metcalfe is also sounding off about the involvement of Begich.

When Begich was on the Anchorage Assembly in 1998, he helped reject the former owners' bid to rezone the property commercial. Once becoming mayor, Begich's position changed. He said it was because park supporters also backed the rezone.

"The supporters of the Midtown park ... in 1998 they didn't support it because it was a speculative rezone with no sight of what it would be, no special limitations. They came forward with a solid agreement signed by the potential purchases of this property with special limitations and I supported again the Midtown park users," Begich said.

Begich advocated for the zoning change, but at the same time, he too was a partner with Rubini and Hyde in the Calais building. The mayor bought a stake in 2002 and sold it last year for a $20,000 profit.

But when the mayor advocated for the rezoning to increase the value for Rubini and Hyde, he did not disclose his business relationship with the two.

Metcalfe said the federal government didn't need the zoning change to build its archives building -- it was only to benefit Rubini and Hyde.

"They needed the rezone so the appraisal would go up, but the only reason to rezone it was for the appraisal for the owner," Metcalfe said.

Begich said there was not a conflict of interest on his part.

"I would say it's a bunch of bull. The fact is -- and you can see this by my consistency on this -- I have supported the park users on this," Begich said.

Park users benefited, too. One of the special limitations on the property they demanded was to share 20 percent of the profits if the land was sold to the federal government.

Another special limitation stipulates that if a construction permit is not issued in five years, the land reverts back to residential zoning.

The clock expires in 2009. The Federal Archives are waiting for another federal appropriation to build on the property.

Begich called the omission on his financial disclosure form a simple oversight and notified the clerk's office to amend his report. He also said the zoning change passed unanimously at the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Assembly.

Contact Jason Moore at
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snowbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-02-07 03:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. The mayor is on KUDO right now...

Saying that Ray Metcalfe is full of shit.

I just got home a little while ago, and when I read this thread.. I thought, hmm.. I wonder if Shannyn is talking about this. I just turned the radio on about 2 minutes ago, and the mayor is actually ON with Shannyn discussing it right now!

Ok, going to go tune in...
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-02-07 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Be sure to fill us in.
I've been over at the Bartlett Club meeting at eastside Denny's listening to Diane talking about "Campaigns, Finances and Corruption." She was outstanding as always and got a standing O. Tony, her finance chair, says the campaign is looking good, lots of money coming in and they think they'll be able to get a permanent campaign office much sooner than they were projecting, so they're real happy about that.

I am real anxious to learn more about this Ray allegation, so don't forget to report back.
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snowbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-03-07 03:10 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Sounds like Mark is mighty pissed!
Edited on Fri Aug-03-07 03:15 AM by larissa

I only caught part of Shannyn's show, so I'm not sure how much I missed..

The mayor stated that he's proved Metcalfe wrong on every allegation he's made of him, but that Ray keeps spouting off to everyone except for the mayor.. (He's sending Mark e-mails, but he won't respond to the ones he gets back)

Mayor B said that one of the allegations Metcalfe is bitching about.. is how he failed to file a financial disclosure one year on some property he owned. The mayor said that he had filed the year before and the years after, but that there was an oversight and he did miss one filing. He added that he had notified the city clerk of the error, that the info was ammended, and it was taken care of appropriately.

Mayor B also said that Ray is going to the media with his lengthy set of complaints, yet that he refuses to provide the complaints to the public.

Evidently, Ray phoned into the "Bob & Mark" show ----> ..and while on the air, the mayor called in and finally pinned him down


The whole thing sounds confusing to me!! But Mayor B will be on CC or Aaron's show tomorrow (I forgot which one they said.. ) and he'll be available for anyone who wants to call in with questions.

Shannyn also said that the mayor has been responding to threads over at the politics blog over on the adn. Daring guy.. that place is too nuts for me!!

I'm not sure if Metcalfe has a valid beef or not, but I tend to agree with the mayor that he's doing all of this now for his upcoming "Ted or Don" run.

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