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Thread: Will another GOP gov fall? Major scandal headed toward Sarah Palin?

  1. #46
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoAmI View Post
    Rush and his dittoheads think she's the Second Coming no matter what she does. So that segment of the vote is locked up. He also says Jindal is a genius, though, so he could move the votes to that camp should he decide to.
    Yeah, that's probably true. Rush will probably start to pretend that she never existed.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhoAmI View Post
    She has to have done something really serious to scare off the dittoheads. Eating arugula? Going out without lipstick?
    What about going without blush? She must buy a shitload every year.

    ------

    I went back and read some of Andrew Halcro's posts from '07 and early '08 on this topic. Boy, he really did some great work connecting all the dots. It makes much more sense as the "long simmering embezzlement" thing. If this scandal does break, the media will have a long cast of figures to talk about. Yeah, it may not be simple for her fantard base, but I envision long tv segments on national tv describing what happened. (Plenty of fodder for the 24-hour news cycle) Lots of newspaper articles too. The media will jump back up to Alaska. Apparently there was a Vanity Fair reporter up there in May. Probably not for a flattering cover story. And given how many people are involved in this, that may be what tipped off other people because if there's an investigation into this there would be many more people than just the Palins being investigated.

    What stood out to me were three things:
    1) Palin fired two boards and only replaced one of them. (I can't remember if the Daily Kos article remarked on this or not.) Palin appointed her cronies to the Agriculture board which formerly oversaw the creamery board. The new people on the Ag board called themselves the creamery board, or something like that. Palin choose not to implement the previous layer of oversight. Definite liability for that.

    2) Palin appointed Kristen Cole as chair of this new board. Cole is her tight bud from high school. Cole's mother was either recently convicted or charged with embezzling $700,000 from real estate companies. (I can't remember which of the two it was.) Guess embezzling runs in the family. Cole is also in charge of Palin's "legal fund." Bet the press will jump all over that connection like a kangaroo.

    3) Tom Irwin, the Commissioner of Natural Resources. He oversaw the Ag board and creamery boards. He also worked at this state dairy in some sort of management role for at least a couple of years before Palin was governor and appointed him to his current position. So he was at this dairy while it was running efficiently and legally. Palin's new board gets installed and suddenly he's accusing the old management of mismanagement, even though the old management involves him? Since he once was involved in the management of this dairy, he can't suddenly claim that he didn't know what he was doing when overseeing this board as commissioner. I don't think Irwin fits into Palin's group of friends & cronies. I saw a picture of him and he looks much older than Palin, so I assume he didn't go to high school with her. Irwin reports directly to Palin, so did she pressure him to get what she wanted like she tried to do with Walt Monegan? The only reason Palin stopped inquiring/pressuring Monegan on Trooper Wooten is that Monegan told her what she wanted was illegal. Pressure was exerted through Todd and other people afterwards though. There's no way given Irwin's past history with the dairy that he would be excluded from some sort of indictment; he's not going to get away with claiming ignorance. Could Irwin go for some sort of plea deal if he testified that Palin pressured him into allowing this ponzi scheme to go on? Sounds like a good possibility.

    From Andrew Halcro's blog (Nov 4, 2007):
    Nov 4: You be the Judge. Is Palin's Mat Maid team misleading Alaskans?

    On Friday, November 2, 2007 DNR Commissioner Tom Irwin and Creamery Board Chair Kristen Cole appeared on a local talk radio program hosted by Dan Fagan, to answer questions about the state's trouble dairy Matanuska Maid. During the show, Cole anaounced the dairy lost $170,000 during the month of September.

    Due to the time constraints of the talk radio format, many of Irwin's and Cole's statements didn't get the proper cross examination they deserved. I have posted some of the highlights of the discussion below as well as posted a link so you can hear the interview in its original format.

    Dan Fagan (DF):
    Commissioner, Senator Lyda Green has ordered an audit on Matanuska Maid, what's your take?

    Commissioner Tom Irwin (CI):
    In August, the Creamery Board came to the governer and me and appropriately asked for an audit. On August 31, I drafted a letter to the legislature asking for an audit.

    We highlighted several things about the significant cost changes leading up to 2007. We asked for things like why were there so much travel by management, why were select buyers of water products given discounts during a period of losses and why sales opportunities including Kaladi Brothers and others missed?

    Fact:
    The water portion of Mat Maids's business was the only profitable segment of their portfolio. Discounts were given to remain competitive against low cost competition. In addition, most of these concerns (Kaladi Brothers and travel expenses) were voiced before the Irwin's Board took over in June, so why the 2.5 month delay?

    Coincidentally, I had an unscheduled and contentious debate with both Board Chair Kristen Cole and Governor Palin on August 29th on live talk radio where I pointed our several flaws in their excuses regarding Mat Maid. (link below)

    Two days later they asked Irwin to do an audit of previous management to deflect attention away from their own mismanagement.

    The truth is the first two months they were in control, Cole and others did an extensive audit of Mat Maid's management. they turned over every paper clip and reviewed every travel expense and found no problems.

    In fact in August, Cole told outgoing CEO Joe Van Treek, "You've passed the test."

    Board Chair Kristen Cole (KC):
    We've hired Mikundra-Cottrell for $27k and they started on October 27.2007.

    DF:
    But you've had control for how many months now?

    KC:
    We took over on June 19, 2007.

    DF:
    Why didn't you order it initiially?

    CI:
    We asked the legislature's budget and audit committee. (According to Irwin's earlier response, he didn't formally ask for the the audit until September 4. So again, why did they wait almost four months?)

    DF:
    Board Chair Kristen Cole, for all practical purposes you are running Mat Maid, is that fair to say?

    KC:
    No, that is not fair to say, I'm not the CEO of Mat Maid.

    DF:
    So where does the buck stop at Mat Maid?

    KC:
    Well, it stops at the Board.

    DF:
    And you're the Chair of the Board?

    KC:
    That's correct.

    DF:
    Does anyone have any experience on the board of running a dairy?

    KC:
    No

    DF:
    If the dairy sells to a buyer who closes the dairy and uses the assets for other means, doesn't that confirm Mat Maid should have been shut down months ago?

    KC:
    We didn't know for sure if the business model was broken. I can tell you that had the milk prices not continued to escalate throughout the summer, we may not be in this situation.

    Fact:
    The previous Board along with Mat Maid's own accounting firm in early June predicted skyrocketing milk costs and continued record losses if the dairy was kept open. In addition, I posted a blog dated June 16, three days before Palin's group took over managing the dairy and predicted higher milk costs.

    "According to the American Dairy Products Institute, "the biggest dairy price spikes are likely to come later this summer in the areas farthest from the Midwest corn and grain fields, which feed most of the country's dairy cattle." With 72% of Mat-Maids milk being imported from west coast producers, the costs and pressure would only continue to grow." andrewhalcro.com 6/16/07

    Irwin and Cole and Governor Palin were well aware of the cost pressures, they simply choose to ignore them to protect their friends and neighbors.

    DF:
    Don't you think the previous Board took into consideration and predicted that milk prices would go up?

    CI:
    When you go in as a Creamery Board and find a whole list of things that should have been cost cut and measures put in place and improving sales volume, your first step as a business man is to immediately start digging into costs.

    Fact:
    After two months of what only could be called a witch hunt audit, the new Board found no signs of mismanagement. In fact, after accusing a Manager at their Palmer plant of theft, they found the equipment in question stored in a shed out back. and after stating they found $1 million dollars in savings, nobody has yet to see an itemized list of those expenses. And again, Board Chair Kristen Cole directly told outgoing CEO Joe Van Treek (after they had gone through every shred of paper work) he had passed the test.

    DF:
    You talked about missed sales opportunities like Kaladi brothers, have you since secured that business since you took over managing the dairy?

    KC:
    "We actually have called those folks", but as you can imagine they wanted guarantees which we aren't able to give them now.

    Fact:
    Dan's questions wasn't "Have you called these folks", it was have you secured that business? Cole is being misleading because the issue of missed sales opporunities with Kaladi brothers had been floated since June 1, giving the new Board plenty of time to sell to the account.

    The reason why Mat Maid doesn't sell to smaller accounts is because of their business model. When was the last time you saw a Mat Maid eighteen wheeler pulling up to a coffee shop or coffee stand?

    The reason for the lack of penetration at smaller accounts is Mat Maid goes through local distributors and the economic reality is their price has not been competitive for years due to higher costs. That's why sales have dropped since June, when the Board raised the price paid to local milk producers in the Valley.

    In addition, the excuse of Mat Maid not being able to give guarantees is nonsense. The new Board tool over over June 19th and as late as August 23rd, the acting CEO Ralph Carney was talking about selling milk to cruise ships in the summer of 2008. In fact, the Board didn't decide on a hard closure date until their October meeting.

    Caller to the show:
    How did the current Board get appointed?

    KC:
    I don't know what the appointment process.

    Fact:
    This is a blatant falsehood. Cole knows darn well that Governor Palin fired the previous Board and handpicked the entire Board without an application process. It was headline news for the an entire week in June.

    In the end, all appointees ended up being Palin's friends and neighbors from the Valley.

    In fact the Valley Frontiersman referred to the Board in August as the “all Mat-SU Valley replacement” (Frontiersman 8/19/07). As Fagan's previous question was answered by Cole, none of these appointees had any experience running a dairy.

    Andrew Halcro (AH):
    I have heard consistently for five months about the mismanagement of the previous Board, including travel costs. I have a very simple and clear question for you; Please tell me how much they were spending on travel.

    CI:
    Actually that's exactly why we wanted to have an audit.

    AH:
    Commissioner, your Board has been in place for almost five months. And you continuously use bad management in labeling the previous Board. (Actually Governor Palin referred to them as incompetent in June) If you are sitting here today, 4.5 months after your Board has had complete and unfettered control of the dairy and you can't back up your statements (allegations). For those of us who have been paying way too much attention to this issue, it highlights the point that this was an exercise in cronyism and protecting a handful of Valley farmers, because obviously you can't give us a clear answer (regarding your allegations).

    CI:
    I think I gave you a very clear answer and we will have the numbers once the audit is done. It's hard to go back and get those numbers.

    Fact:
    Commissioner Tom Irwin is lying when he says it's hard to go back and get historical numbers. This email is from a former Chair of the Creamery Board:

    "The commissioner is lying. When I was Chairman of the Creamery Board we had annual audits by bonded audit firms. All of the financial were submitted to the BAC and the division of Ag. I know that the board that Mrs. Boyle chaired did the same. This information has always been available to Tom Irwin."


    AH:
    Having said what you just said, then why are you and Board Chair Cole continuously blaming the previous Board for misallocation of resources, if you cannot, on this radio program, definitively tell me how much they were wasting?

    For me, after you've been in charge for 3.5 months. that's not the time to do an audit. We understood, the public understood and it was well publicized (Palin's pep rally with Valley milk producers on 6/5/07) that an audit was going to me immediate.

    CI:
    And maybe we're finding more then we could handle with all the other issues. But they're going in the right direction and I feel comfortable with it.

    Fact:
    If Irwin is comfortable with the direction of the Board, that means he is comfortable with almost a half a million dollars in losses since his group took over. He's comfortable with a Board that has no experience running a dairy. He's comfortable with making serious allegations of mismanagement against the previous board even though he pubicly admitted he has no factual support. He's comfortable lying to the public about how he had no knowledge of the finances at Mat Maid.

    KC:
    What I can share with you is that after 30 days when we started requesting documentation that there was more than we could wrap our arms around. Two folks in management at Mat Maid had been spending five to six thousand dollars a month on travel. That's the tip of the iceberg of what we were finding.

    Fact:
    Cole states that thrity days into her term (mid-July) they realized they were in over their heads.So why wait until August 31 to request a audit if you state you were under water in mid July?

    Also, even though all travel expenses were cut in June, losses between July and September have been worse than before. So why are Cole and Irwin blaming past travel expenses when even without them they've accumulated losses of almost a half a billion dollars in three months?

    And futhermore, if Cole realized in July that the financials she was seeing weren't accurate, why did she immediately parade around to media outlets in August proclaiming that Mat Maid had turned a profit in June and predicting a profit in July while taking credit for the miraculous corporate turn around?

    On August 19, the Valley Frontiersman printed this editorial after visiting with Cole:

    “Today, under this new leadership, Mat Maid is running leaner and meaner and is in the black for the first time since 2005...the dairy actually made money in June ($62K) it also expects to show a profit in July.”

    Six days later this was the true story about Cole's claim to profits:

    On August 25th, just six days after the glowing editorial ran in the Frontiersman, the financial figures were released publicly that Matanuska Maid had suffered record losses in July of $300,000. And to add insult to injury, the $62,000 profit in June, because of an accounting error was actually $2,000." andrewhalcro.com / The Incompetence Factor/ 9/1/07

    AH:
    But with all due respect Kristen, it took you less than 24 hours to go around and do a dog & pony show with different press outlets in August claiming you had made $62,000 in June. It really seems (listening to the answers on the Fagan show) these are just more excuses to justify keeping a dairy open that by all legitimate means and all honest economic and factual recommendations by the previous Board, should have been shut down in June.

    Even today, (when you say it was beneficial to keep Mat Maid open and incur losses to buy time for the private sector to take over) what do you have?

    You have a handful of people who have created the Southcentral Dairy Co-Op, the group includes 5 current or past dairy producers with 3 bankruptcies and approximately $4 million state & federal dairy loan losses, plus 1 failed State Agriculture Director and 1 current dairy producer that is the State AG Director's father-in-law with conflicts of interest.

    CI:
    I need to make a comment. We're just not going to agree on this and I respectfully think you're wrong. (Thank goodness for Senator Green's requested audit, Commissioner)

    I need to clarify one thing; do not impinge (impugn?) any ethical issues on my Director of Agriculture (Franci Havemeister appointed by Palin in June). She has recused herself from all issues relating to dealing with her relatives.

    Fact:
    Division of Agriculture Franci Havemeister, that Irwin defends and so readily brags about appointing, has not even filed her APOC statement required by law. She has been repeatedly reminded to get it done or she faces fines if it not received by close of business November 5th.

    Additionally, Director Havemeister has been reminded repeatedly to not participate and meet with the local dairy co-op members (the SouthCentral Dairy Co-Op).

    However she continues to meet with them even at the State Division of Agriculture offices.

    AH:
    Commissioner, maybe you could speak to the qualifications of Director Havemeister.

    CI:
    Actually I made that decison and I was the ultimate decider.

    Fact:
    Franci Havemeister, whose resume included stints as a Valley real estate agent (working for Kristen Cole) and a homemaker, was selected by Irwin over a Professor at UAF with a degree in Agricultural Economics and an Agriculture Industry Consultant who had lengthy experience as a legislative aide working exclusively on agricultural legislation.

    So in a time where the agriculture industry was facing a significant loss with the dairy industry, Irwin hired a director with no agricultural experience.

    And one more email from another former Creamery Board Chair who took issue with Cole and Irwin's financial outlook at Mat Maid:

    "The 170,000 that has been reported just can not be right. Based of the amount of information that is not forth coming from Miss Cole. We as the original Creamery Board know quite well that by December Mat Maid would be 2.2 million in the red, as it stands to date we are 3/4s of the way to meeting that projection. With the bills adding up and into Carlisle for 890,000 there is no way the amount being reported can be true."


    And once more for the record, Commissioner Tom Irwin is the guy who crafted AGIA and whom Governor Palin is looking towards to get Alaskans a natural gas pipeline.

    If Alaskans can't get the truth about a $15 million dollar a year dairy, how can we trust him with the largest oil & gas project in the world and Alaska's economic future?

    To listen to the complete audio of Dan Fagan's show:

    http://content.streamaudio.com/podca...faganhour3.mp3

    To listen to a debate over the situation at Mat Maid with Board Chair Kristen Cole and Governor Palin on August 29 (Two days later Commissioner Irwin states Cole asked for an audit):

    http://content.streamaudio.com/podca...faganhour3.mp3
    Nov 4: You be the Judge. Is Palin's Mat Maid team misleading Alaskans? | AndrewHalcro.com

  2. #47
    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
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    "I was the ultimate decider."

    God, I can't wait until SP uses this line in one of her speeches, since she loves to steal other people's words.

    However, since she never takes the blame for anything, she'll probably never utter those words. Bummer.

  3. #48
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    If only we were that lucky. If only...

    Also, this article from Andrew Halcro is from this year. I can't help but wonder if it helped kick off the investigation that may be happening into this.
    The Valley Dairy: Got Fraud? *

    (2/2/09) On August 19, 2007, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, the hometown paper of Governor Sarah Palin blew the victory horn for the governor firing what was an independent oversight board and replacing them with a collection of her high school friends and Valley neighbors.

    "Two months ago, the state-owned dairy was hemorrhaging money and on the verge of closure. Gov. Sarah Palin stepped in, dismissed the entire state Board of Agriculture and Conservation and charged its all-Mat-Su Valley replacement with finding a way to save the 71-year-old company," the editorial trumpeted.

    Today, with Matanuska Maid out of business, its assets taken and put to work in the new private Valley Dairy, Palin's "all Mat-Su Valley replacements" have been busy keeping their Valley Dairy friends afloat and attempting to cover their tracks with fraudulently obtained taxpayer loans for what is one giant Ponzi scheme.
    Welcome to the Bernie Madeoff's of the milk world.
    After less than a year in business, the Valley Dairy has successfully produced 30,000 pounds of contaminated cheese, failed to pay lease and tax payments promptly, mishandled milk waste around the Wasilla Creek and obtained state loans through fraudulent information and insider dealings on behalf of the Director of Agriculture and the Chair of the Agriculture Board.

    Unfortunately all of the state's watchdogs were either hired or appointed by Governor Sarah Palin, and are either high school friends or Valley neighbors of the governor. Quite the circling of Musk Ox if you will.

    The Valley Dairy was made possible by a USDA grant of $650,000, in federal taxpayer money to help fund start up of the privately owned dairy. It was also aided by Palin's decision to allow Matanuska Maid to continue operating for six months too long while her Valley neighbors quickly ginned up a dairy plan and the state quietly fed money to farmers to pay them for milk they weren't producing for sale.

    After the grant was awarded, a complaint was filed by a competing bidder who felt the process was flawed and involved favoritism on the part of the Alaska office of the USDA. Officials from the USDA responded by launching an investigation into the irregularities of the bid award, but dropped the investigation after the bidder that complained, withdrew their complaint.

    The acting State Director of USDA in Alaska at the time was Chad Padgett. He played a role in awarding the Valley Dairy grant under questionable circumstances. Padgett, who recently went to work for Congressman Don Young, had been very vocal years earlier about the questionable lending practices after he was appointed state director in 2001.

    After President Bush was elected in 2000, USDA regional investigators came to Alaska to review the Palmer office books, resulting in a transfer of all loan activity from Alaska to the regional office located in either Idaho or Utah.

    In October of 2006 at a state agriculture meeting, Padgett told of the improper and illegal conduct the Palmer office had been conducting. "USDA in the past in my agency has gone around the rules. It's illegal. It's unauthorized. We're not going to do it," he said, according to meeting minutes. What he was referring to was the lending practices of the previous state director.

    The state director before him was Karen Lee Olson. After losing her dairy farm in the 1990's and defaulting on a $2 million government loan, she was appointed as USDA's state director of agriculture.

    During Olson's tenure, she issued questionable loans to farmer friends by declaring a "disaster" thereby getting them extra money. Many farmers could not afford the payments, so many of them defaulted.

    The borrowers in question had various issues to address, but the primary problem was that a Olson had granted a number of USDA loans that had been illegally issued…by the lender…citing an “emergency situation” as the basis for qualification.
    Today, Karen Lee Olson is one of the owners of the Valley Dairy and a recepient of a USDA grant.
    Ironically, after acknowledging that bad loans were made by his predecessor Olson, and under his leadership his department wouldn't follow the same course, Padgett helped facilitate the $650,000 grant to people who had a proven track record of taking government for a ride.

    To start the dairy, Olson teamed with Kyle Beus and Rob Wells, two names familiar with agriculture in the valley. Beus familiar in the sense that he, like Olson, had stiffed the government years ago on a $2 million dollar loan.

    Wells was the President of the Alaska Farm Bureau MatSu Valley Chapter, Karen Olson was employed as executive director or secretary. Wells met and collaborated often with USDA’s Padgett while he was Director of the Division of Agriculture. Olson assisted Wells writing the USDA GRANT proposal.

    Wells had originally partnered with Robert Gottstein in order to secure a financial “match” for funds requested in the GRANT, which carried a significant weight in the USDA grant award process.

    Sometime late in 2007 (October-December) Gottstein announced that he was withdrawing from the agreement. This situation would have left Wells without his match as required by the USDA GRANT.

    But then Wells/Olson partnered up to become Grantees of USDA Rural Development Award. They received approximately $475,000. They then teamed up with Beus who planned on operating and ice cream production business with the approximately $175,000 of the GRANT proceeds.

    Industry watchers say that Padgett facilitated the $650,000 federal grant because several valley farmers were on the verge of defaulting on their loans to USDA if they didn't have a dairy to sell their milk. He didn't want his department to look bad, so by putting the grant into the hands of the dairy, it would eventually go to the farmers for producing and selling their milk.

    The Start Up

    In March of 2008, the Valley Dairy kicked off a plan to generate start up revenue by offering cheese futures to willing buyers. The 20 pound blocks of cheddar cheese were to be delivered in early June. The dairy sold $250,000 worth of cheese futures.

    According to an April 9, Mat-Valley Frontiersman article, the cheese was the first product made at the dairy. By the end of the day, dairy founder Kyle Beus said he expected three tons of the stuff would be sitting in the creamery’s cooler.

    In July, DEC issued an order prohibiting the sale of any of the cheese. According to the DEC, after testing the cheese three different times, including sending a sample to an FDA approved lab in Washington, the cheese was found to contain levels of e-coli, listeria and staph.
    The reason for the bacteria; the initial production of cheese was done with raw milk
    According to Amy Moore, a former Milk Room Supervisor, after DEC had tagged the cheese as contaminated, some valley farmers rushed to the dairy to take back the cheese to feed to their animals. According to Moore, local farmer Wayne Brost said, "It's my cheese, it came from my cows."

    Stretched Thin

    In September, word began circulating that the new dairy was deep in debt and would be applying for a state loan. On September 26, 2008 we posted a blog here at andrewhalcro.com that warned of the impending ask by the Valley Dairy.

    "Is the State of Alaska on the verge of yet another dairy bailout?

    After last years debacle with the Palin administration stepping in to save the state owned Matanuska Maid Dairy. When many had warned for months about the bleeding of cash and the need to shut the dairy down. It appears that the new dairy -the reason why Governor Palin said she kept Mat Maid open to help farmers transition - is now in serious financial trouble just months after opening." andrewhalcro.com 9/26/08

    On September 27, Valley Dairy owner Karen Olson sent an email to her fellow owners: "It appears from reading the Halcro blog that everyone knows of our troubles." (to see email click attachment)

    Olson went on to say that the publicity could cause an "ever widening investigation" and that she was thankful that "Valley Dairy has none of our assets may be the best thing for the dairy farmers in the coming maelstrom."
    Again, a clear indication from Olson that this group has created nothing more than a shell company to shield dairy owners from any recourse.
    It is apparent from this email and others (attached) that she learned well from her last government loan default and her time as USDA acting State Director on how to avoid being financially responsible.

    She went on to say in her emails that Beus had run the dairy into the ground. "The revelations of the past week have crystallized for me that the agreement was simply a way to divert our grant money into a grandiose plan that has not worked."

    What's telling is that she refers to the $650,000 in federal grant money as "our grant money." In addition she proposes to the other owners to allow Beus the opportunity to "run the milk operation and pay us to stay out of it and to forswear the possibility of profit."

    Olson’s email comments about “booking” the balance of the Wells/Olson assets ($285,000) as a “long term liability behind the more pressing current liabilities” most likely speak to the unpaid moneys due under the lease/fee program that Wells/Olson negotiated with Valley Dairy.

    Under the requirements of the GRANT, 100% of the assets purchased from those funds would need to be on Wells/Olson’s financial statement until USDA approved any transfer.

    Asking for a handout from taxpayers

    Faced with growing debt and angry creditors, the owners of the Valley Dairy realized they had to ask the Agriculture Board for a loan to help them survive.

    How bad was the dairy hurting? In a September 24 email to the owners from their office administrator, she forwards an analysis from their bookkeeper detailing how much in back taxes for federal payroll taxes and federal unemployment taxes they owed.
    "At the time there wasn't the $ available to pay them so he (Beus) put them on the back burner. As you can see it has grown to a significant amount," wrote Del at Carrier Bookkeeping.
    Due to the urgency of needing cash but the lack of any assets or financial strength, Olson told her former Office Administrator Kay Schaugaard, the she would have to "manufacture" the necessary financial documentation.

    The loan process

    In order to get the urgently needed financial aide from the state, the Valley Dairy had to convince the Agriculture Board that they were a worthy credit risk to receive money from the Agriculture Revolving Loan Fund.

    Under any other governor, this might have presented a reasonable safeguard, but not under Palin. Not only had she stacked the board with "all Mat-Su Valley replacements" but her Director of Agriculture, Franci Havemeister's father in law was a local Valley farmer who stood to suffer or gain greatly depending on the outcome of the loan application.

    The board's Chair is Palin's close friend and stauch supporter Kristen Cole, who's own family ties include a mother who was recently charged with embezzlement of $700,000 from real estate companies. The rest of the board is also comprised of friends and neighbors of Palin.

    On November 13, 2008, the Valley Dairy appeared before the Agriculture Board and sought two loans from the state -- a short-term, one- to three-year loan for $150,000 to help with cash flow, and a long-term, 20-year to 30-year loan for $430,000 to help with paying back debts incurred in getting the business up and running.
    The Board voted to grant the dairy a $630,000 loan as long as the board of the Valley Dairy( DBA Matanuska Creamery) would provide signatures personally guaranteeing the loan.
    During the hearing, the discussion centered around the personal guarantee. Assistant Attorney General Robert McFarlane said that the personal guarantee puts the individual shareholders on the hook if there is a default by the Valley Dairy.

    The board's Vice-Chair Ben Vanderweele stated that he supported the guarantee because it was common practice. The board voted 3 to 2 against eliminating the personal guarantee provision.

    After the vote, Wayne Brost from the Valley Dairy and a local farmer, said that if the dairy failed he'd have to kill his cows and he felt that asking him to put forth a personal guarantee was an "insult." (Again, I'd refer you to the attached email from Olson saying that it was a good thing for the owners and the farmers that the Valley Dairy had none of their assets.)

    After Brost's comments, Chair Kristen Cole asked if any member wanted to reconsider their vote. None did, and the personal guarantee requirement stayed.

    It is critical to mention that this loan never should have been approved, even with the personal guarantee clause.

    According to a review, the Board approved the Valley Dairy loans requests with an incomplete loan application and no State Loan Officer analysis with recommendation.
    After a senior ARLF loan officer informed both Chair Kristen Cole and the state's attorney in an e-mail that the application was incomplete and should be denied, the loan officer was immediately replaced and removed from any further reviews regarding the Valley Dairy.
    Both the State AIDEA and Division of Investments refused to review the ARLF loan requests, but somehow this board approved the same application.

    Insider dealings and conflicts of interest

    Shortly after the November 13 board meeting, Amy Moore, the former Milk Room Supervisor said that the Director of Agriculture Franci Havemeister (whose father in law is a dairy farmer and sells milk to Valley Dairy) strolled into the dairy and told Beus that if the Valley Dairy wanted to get the personal guarantee requirement lifted, "We have to pull our last two strings; Kristen Cole and Sarah Palin."

    The Franci Havemeister story is in a nut shell the story of this administration. Her resume which is limited to a stint as a Valley real estate agent (working for Kristen Cole) and a homemaker, was selected over a Professor at UAF with a degree in Agricultural Economics and an Agriculture Industry Consultant who had lengthy experience as a legislative aide working exclusively on agricultural legislation.

    In a radio interview shortly after Havemeister was hired in 2007, DNR Commissioner Tom Irwin stated that Havemeister "had recused herself from all issues relating to dealing with her relatives."
    Not true.

    Havemeister has been intimately involved in the Valley Dairy, including paving the way for the dairy's state bailout.
    Havemeister reportedly met with the USDA's Chad Padgett regarding the ARLF loan & USDA guarantee for the Valley Dairy. Her conflicts are many including that she lives on the Havemeister dairy farm and if the creamery fails, it impacts her dairy producing and Valley Dairy Inc. shareholder in-laws. In fact, the Havemeister Dairy stood to receive $50,000 if the dairy was bailed out by state taxpayers.

    A Change: Getting rid of the personal guarantee clause

    Within days, an announcement was issued for another Agriculture Board meeting called for on November 21, 2008 to revisit the issue of the personal guarantee clause.

    According to the November 21 meeting minutes, Wayne Brost, milk farmer and investor in Valley Dairy stated he'd never seen where a personal guarantee has ever been asked for on a loan.

    Dairy owner Karen Olson stated the personal guarantee was "a killer for them and they believe the dairy has come a long way without help from the state." This comment shows how Olson is either delusional or just plain ignorant.

    The dairy was aided by state help from the equipment taken from the Matanuska Maid Dairy, which Olson didn't bother to make lease payments on until the media started asking questions. The governor kept Mat Maid open for months, while allowing Olson and her gang to get their act together. And valley farmers were paid with state funds, inappropriately, according to a recent state audit, for dumping their milk while waiting for the start up of the new dairy.
    During the meeting, Chair Kristen Cole gave the most asinine reason for doing away with the personal guarantee:
    "If there was a default and if the loan was not satisfied and additional funds were needed to satisfy the loan, the Attorney General's Office would have the opportunity to go after one or all of the folks who signed the personal guarantees. In her personal view after everything has been sold and there is a default, only the people with money would be responsible for repaying the loan."
    For God's sake...isn't that the reason for a personal guarantee; so the state has recourse to get repaid the money it lent?
    Cole went on to argue that having a security in the fixtures and equipment and a security in the receivables was enough.

    Security in the fixtures and equipment? It's clear that Olson didn't put in the Vally Dairy's loan application what she put in her 9/27 email to her fellow owners: "Valley Dairy has none of our assets."

    The board ended up voting unanimously to remove the personal guarantee requirement, with even Vice Chair Ben Vanderweele, who had argued earlier that a personal guarantee was part of his every day business life in borrowing money.

    A few weeks after their loan was approved in November without any form of personal guarantee, the Valley Dairy owners were back in front of the Agriculture Board asking for a modification to their loan terms. They asked, and recived a modification that extended their lease payments from a one year note to a 3 year note to make the payments more comfortable.
    At the January 22, 2009 meeting, the Valley Dairy owners were back for the third time in as many months, this time asking for a delay in making any lease payments for one year.
    Owner Kyle Beus gave a somber speech saying that although sales are great...he now has built his business so large that he does not have enough milk available to fill all his orders.

    The last time Beus was falling behind on his government loan, he asked for a grace period on making his loan payments. After the eight month grace period expired, Beus defaulted.

    The Valley Dairy operations

    There is no question that the Valley Dairy is being run by people with a track record of defaulting on government loans. Between Kyle Beus and Karen Olson, they've defaulted on $4 million in loans.

    This past fall, after discovering that Beus had made a draw of $15,000 from the dairy's account, Olson was heard by her former office administrator saying, "we're all F--ked...probably doing some jail time," as she paced the floor.

    According to the former Milk Room Supervisor, the dairy has continued to dump milk in their septic system as well as spilling milk behind the dairy, after promising DEC that it would be cleaned up before it drains into the Wasilla Creek.
    Beus has been seen by employees making cash sales to customers in the ice cream room and pocketing the money, as well as paying employees in cash.
    In December, Office Administrator Kay Schaugaard was let go after voicing concerns about Olson's derogatory language concerning her religion. "We're not hiring any more f---ing Mormons," Olson said a number of times. After Schaugaard was let go she filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission for wrongful termination.

    On January 3, 2009 at 1:30, Amy Moore, the Valley Dairy's Milk Room Supervisor, told Beus that she had been contacted by the Human Rights Commission to testify in the case of Schaugaard. She told Beus that she was going to have to talk about the things that have been going on in the creamery, including the repeated derogatory comments by Karen Olson.
    One hour later, Moore was handed a letter of termination by Olson.
    "We regret to inform you that you position, Milk Room Supervisor, has been eliminated in our new continuing efforts to build a sustainable company. Today is your final day of work."

    So after inflating her middle managers resumes to boost their application for their state loan, one by one, Karen Olson let them go without reason and reportedly forged Beus's name on their dismissal forms.

    From what both Moore and Schaugaard have stated in separate interviews, they have provided proof to the Human Rights Commission that Beus signature was forged on their dismissal forms. The reason the signature was forged they believe; Beus is Mormon so it looked like he fired them, any claim of discrimination couldn't possibly hold up.

    When Moore asked Beus at church about why she was let go, Beus told Moore, "they have a gun to my head."

    You can see evidence of the friction between Olson and Beus in the emails attached. Notice, Beus is not copied on either communique.

    Tying up the loose ends

    Since Governor Palin and DNR Commissioner Tom Irwin appear content to look the other way while the Agriculture Board uses taxpayer money like it's their own, the state legislature needs to ask for an audit of the loan process undertaken by the Ag Board.

    There are internal emails that will clearly show that this loan should have been denied given state statutes and prudent lending practices. Reviewing the attached emails from Karen Olson, shows a group of people who have a proven track record of defaulting on government loans and are doing all they can to protect themselves at taxpayer expense.

    This time around, they have a helping hand with friends and neighbors in high places and on the Agriculture Board who are only concerned about keeping a money losing dairy afloat at taxpayer expense.
    Ironically, the Valley Dairy, which is a private dairy, has asked for more help from the state in three months than the state owned Matanuska Maid did in twenty three years.
    The USDA needs to investigate the grant and subsequent support of the Valley Dairy, including the actions of Chad Padgett and Dean Stewart who facilitated this loan. The original loan $650,000 loan called for a match, which was Robert Gottsteins Palmer water bottling plant. Gottstein pulled out, but yet the loan was still awarded.

    DEC needs to investigate the milk spillage behind the dairy, the dairy's practice of dumping milk into their septic system and the removal of tainted cheese after it was tagged as contaminated.

    The Human Rights Commission is already investigating the dismissal of Amy Moore and Kay Schaugaard.

    If Governor Palin was at all honest about open and transparent government, she would have never appointed such an incestuous group of people to manage the purse strings of Alaska's agricultural community.
    But then again what did we expect?
    After falsely accusing the prior Matanuska Maid management of corruption and mismanagement in order to justify getting rid of them, is it a surprise that she has allowed her friends and neighbors to get fat off the government trough?

    TO READ KAREN OLSON'S EMAILS TO OTHER VALLEY DAIRY OWNERS CLICK LINK BELOW:
    http://www.andrewhalcro.com/files/valleycreamery.pdf
    * We were incorrect stating in our original post that the Valley Dairy did not have a valid business license. They have a current license under the name Matanuska Creamery.
    The Valley Dairy: Got Fraud? * | AndrewHalcro.com

    Could it get anymore corrupt?

  4. #49
    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Yup, this is bad, but will have no impact on Palin - it just doesn't matter that everyone she appoints/fires/replaces is corrupt and a criminal. Unless some of those grant or loan funds are going into her pocket, they won't get her for this.
    If i hear one more personal attack, i will type while drunk, then you can cry! - Bugdoll
    (716): I'd call her a cunt, but she doesn't seem to have the depth or warmth
    Quote Originally Posted by shedevilang View Post
    (Replying to MontanaMama) This is some of the smartest shit I ever read

  5. #50
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Palin has a new spokesperson for the governor's office:
    Gov. Palin selects new spokesman

    Bill McAllister forced out after less than one year

    By Pat Forgey | JUNEAU EMPIRE

    The turnover continues in Gov. Sarah Palin's public relations staff, with her top spokesman, Bill McAllister, forced out after less than a year in the position.

    Replacing McAllister is David Murrow, an author of Christian books who lives in Chugiak.

    McAllister moves to a newly created position as communications director of the Department of Law.


    Murrow said he was too busy to talk to the Empire on Friday, but earlier told the Alaska Budget Report Newsletter he began the job June 10 and is paid $103,716 annually.

    The governor's office has not publicly announced the new appointment, and has been slow to announce the hiring of the last three communications directors.

    Murrow told the Budget Report that he owned a media production company that once did work for a Palin campaign, and is also author of two books on Christian men and church.

    According to the American Library Association's Booklist, "Murrow advocates injecting a strong shot of testosterone into the proceedings to restore the masculine spirit to the church," in his first book, "Why Men Hate Church," published in 2004.

    In 2008 he published "How Women Help Men Find God."

    McAllister, a former reporter at the Empire, was working for Anchorage's KTUU-TV covering Palin and the Alaska Legislature when Palin hired him to be her top spokesman last July.

    His nine-month tenure as Palin's spokesman was highlighted by an antagonistic relationship with Alaska's news media.

    At one point Anchorage Daily News Executive Editor Pat Dougherty posted on his Editor's Blog an open letter to Palin suggesting a meeting to improve relations.

    Dougherty told Palin it would not be productive to bring McAllister to that meeting.

    McAllister declined to comment to the Empire, but told the Anchorage Press newspaper that the move out of the governor's communications director position was made at Palin's request.

    Not long after McAllister was named Palin's official spokesman, she was tapped as Sen. John McCain's vice-presidential running mate, and thrusting her new press secretary into the limelight along with her. Then he was also diagnosed with lymphoma, which was treated with chemotherapy but remains a threat.

    He now has a new job created for him in the Department of Law, acting as communications director and press secretary for new Attorney General Dan Sullivan.

    Murrow is Palin's fourth communications director, following McAllister, Rosanne Hughes and Meg Stapleton. Hughes remains in Palin's communications office as director of external communications, while Stapleton is now working for Palin's political action committee.

    Deputy Press Secretary Sharon Leighow remains in the office, while two other deputy press secretaries have departed; Beth Leschper is now handling communications duties for the Department of Labor, and Charles Fedullo has returned to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    Gov. Palin selects new spokesman - Juneau Empire
    Now why does the Department of Law need a communications director & press secretary when they've never needed one before? And one with more press experience than the new press secretary replacing him in his old position?

  6. #51
    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
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    Maybe Meg Stapleton has made too many mistakes lately? Like the quote about the "desecration" of the "iconic" photo of Palin and Child?

    Stapleton was only supposed to be speaking as her PAC spokesperson, but has been doing ALL her releases, which is probably unethical/illegal.

  7. #52
    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoAmI View Post
    Still, none of this will take her down, which I'm assuming the "iceberg" reference is referring to (she's the Titantic; it sinks her). She'll just have to pay some back taxes/penalties after she says she didn't know she did anything wrong.
    This shit is actually boring. I want something really evil to take her down. Like she is the antichrist or somethin' cool.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

  8. #53
    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nana55 View Post
    This shit is actually boring. I want something really evil to take her down. Like she is the antichrist or somethin' cool.
    Have patience. I'm sure there are more ridiculous, fun skeletons in her closet. Also, too, her children will continue to embarrass her as they age without guidance from an ignorant, absentee mother.

  9. #54
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    ^Yeah, what happens if Willow gets knocked up in a year or two?

  10. #55
    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
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    You mean WHEN Willow gets knocked up by a schoolteacher? Or by the exorcist? That means the baby could be a demon!

  11. #56
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    It'll give Palin a chance to use her witch hunting skills!

  12. #57
    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    Willow better stay away from Letterman. Her mother even warned her.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

  13. #58
    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
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    No, her mother warned Letterman to stay away from Willow. Willow apparently can't control herself.

  14. #59
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    So, is "Dairygate" coming to a head? Looks like...
    Big dirty scandal about to hit the Palin universe
    Evidenced by Palin's announcement that she's stepping down today. Stay tuned...
    Alaska Report News - The latest Alaska news, politics, weather, jobs, and opinions

    OMG! There's 222 guests in this thread!

  15. #60
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    New article from Andrew Halcro:
    Palin Resigns: Exit stage right

    July 3, 2009: In what can only be called a devastating week of press coverage for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ended today by the stunning announcement that she will resign her office with sixteen months still remaining in her first term as governor.

    In a hastily called press conference this morning at her Wasilla home, Palin announced she will be stepping down in less than three weeks and that Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be sworn in during the July 25 Governor's Picnic in Fairbanks.

    Why?

    While many including myself have openly predicted that she would not seek a second term in order to cash in on her national ambitions, no one ever invisioned her resigning in such haste.

    Over the last few weeks there has been growing criticism on both the state and national level about Palin. In addition, local bloggers have raised speculations about damaging information about Palin that was coming down the road.

    A few weeks ago, Dennis Zaki posted on his popular website (Alaska Report News - The latest Alaska news, politics, weather, jobs, and opinions) a cryptic message about a pending bombshell that had to do with an investigation into Palin's finances.

    Last week, local blogger Linda Kellen-Biegal (Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis) successfully raised roughly $6,000 to pay the cost associated with a freedom of information request of emails between the Palin administration and local talk show host and close friend of Palins, Eddie Burke. The emails were due to be released in a few days.
    In addition, Palin has come under intense criticism from various groups for everything from ignoring state business to hiding state business.
    In rural Alaska, native leaders have been furious at Palin's inability to focus on their challenges. Meanwhile, last Sunday, Juneau Economist and reporter Gregg Erickson wrote a scathing op/ed about how the Palin administration had become the most secretive administration in his twenty nine years of watching state government.

    All of this combined with the brutal press this week probably pushed Palin over the edge.

    A ten thousand word article written by Todd Purdham in Vanity Fair, outlining Palin's behavior on the campaign trail with John McCain set political toungues wagging and launched a fierce debate inside the Republican Party.
    On the front page of this morning's Anchorage Daily News was an article detailing how Palin forced out one of her top health officials because the official found it difficult to publicly represent Palin's belief on social policies when the science and data clearly showed the governor to be wrong.

    While negative press and administrative disagreements are common and don't typically make politicians resign, Palin must see something coming on the horizon that is far more threatening.

    In a statement released by her office, Palin said "Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional Lame Duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose."

    "It is my duty to always protect our great state. With that in mind, my family and I determined that it is best to make a difference this summer, and I am willing to change things, so that this administration, with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future, can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success," she said.

    However with sixteen months still remaining in her terms and much of her agenda still unfinished, including getting a deal to build the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, this is hard to believe.

    In addition, Palin's resignation means that the new Lt. Governor will be the commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. This again shows either Palin's move is one driven by necessity to get the hell out of Dodge or a self serving move without considering the consequences to her constituents.
    The bottom line is that there has to be something major that forced Palin to bail out with sixteen months left in her term.

    Something so big and so damaging that she feared dealing with it in the public arena.
    There is no question that since her return to Alaska from the national stage Palin has been distracted. From her press statements to her tweets, everything has been targeted towards a national audience far beyond the boundaries of Alaska.

    But politics being politics, you don't quit mid-term if you hope to have a future at a higher and more pressure filled level (i.e. running for president).

    Good luck and God bless.
    Palin Resigns: Exit stage right | AndrewHalcro.com

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