Saturday, 18 July 2009

$arah Palin's Dairygate revisited

$arah Palin said in her resignation speech:

"We took government out of the dairy business and put it back into private-sector hands - where it should be."

Some highlights from a long article by Andrew Halcro about Dairygate:

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.

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.

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.

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?

I have said in a previous post that Dairygate is an extremely complex affair. The snippets above simply provide some background to help put $arah Palin's statement into some kind of context.

Dairygate in a nutshell:

Early in June 2007, the board of Mat Maid met and decided to recommend the dairy ceased operating due to projected losses in excess of $2 million.

The Board of Agriculture and Conservation heeded the advice and passed it on to the governor.

$arah Palin disagreed and fired the entire board, replacing all members with unqualified friends and neighbours from the Valley, some with obvious conflict of interest, such as Franci Havemeister (More about her in Andrew Halcro's article). The new board, chaired by Kristan Cole (the legal fund trustee), immediately voted themselves as the operating board for the dairy business, eliminating a whole tier in the management chain.

After bail-outs, many shenanigans and heavy losses, the dairy closed down and the equipment put up for auction in December 2007. No bids were received. Matanuska Creamery offered to lease the equipment and opened for business in March 2008, headed by people known to have defaulted on previous loans.

More shenanigans ensued, further loans advanced, grants obtained, the losses continued and not a dime of the loans have been paid back.

"We took government out of the dairy business and put it back into private-sector hands - where it should be."

$arah Palin failed to add that this transition from the government to the private sector cost the state around $1.5 million and that they have since operated at a loss with bail-out money from the state plus some pork from Ted Stevens ($624,000)

Where has the money gone?

The new Board of Agriculture and Conservation tried to pin all of Mat Maid's shortcomings on the previous management once they took over. But new evidence shows they were set up even before they recommended the dairy's closure. Guess who played a prominent role in the set up? Our dear Meg Stapleton!

Read more about fraud and the set up from Andrew Halcro.


Patrick said...

All hail Queen Palin at the bingo hall in Unalakleet!!

Anonymous said...

Cee4pee finally have their own twitter! This is what the world has been waiting for!

Aspiecelia said...

This is not a uniquely Wassilla/Palin thing in Alaska. When I was in Nome, not only did what I call the minions(of two serial bullies working in tandem)practice one of the most viscious forms of workplace bullying I can find documentation of, they also had a scam set up to fill their bank accounts. Most people know flight nurses need special training. They just had one of the minions go who usually had obstetrics or med-surg experience(most of these were nurses who basicly could not practice anywhere else). I was shocked. Then they would post a list for nurses to sign up to go on medivacs, but ignore it and just called the minions. They made tons of overtime. Not only that, but they figured out how to have a lot of time outs in Anchorage where they would rent a car on the Norton Sound Hospital and go shopping. I heard at least once the hospital flew a washer and dryer back. The hospital paid for hotel rooms too. Now, of course sometimes they would need to stay in Anchorage just because that is how it would work out, but come on. At least once that I know of the pilot got a DUI on one of those trips. I had years of critical care and trauma experience, but they would not ever let me go. People told me it was because I was ethical and knew what I was doing. "They don't want you to see what they are doing". At one point a travel nurse came to work there and she started going on medivacs. I jokingly asked her, "Hey, who do I have to sleep with to get to go on medivacs?" Everyone started to laugh because she was sleeping with one of the paramedics and that is why she was going. All this corruption and abuse of those who are not corrupt needs to be looked at.

sandra said...

Where do they find these people? Is the absence of light on business and political arrangements attractive to people who thrive on dishonesty? Maybe it's just a handfull of big frogs in a small pond, but so much of what we hear about Alaska seems like an alternate universe.

SP's running for VP seems to have attracted a very strong light. It will be interesting to see if there are any significant cultural changes.

MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel said...

I'm waiting for a blogspot titled "WasillaGoVegan"! After reading about the tainted cheese, the waste, fraud, and abuse, it makes me weep for Mat-Maid as she used to be!

Anonymous said...

I sure wonder what in the world Andrew Halcro was up to during his break from blogging - he signed off on April 21st and was back with all of his bells and whistles on July 1st - just days before Sarah's resignation. She mentioned the dairy in her quitter rant and while MIA from the blogosphere, Halcro seems to have come up with some new tidbits regarding Stapleton's involvement in the Dairy scheme.

And Kristan Cole...sheesh - I don't find it coincidental one bit that she is a major player behind Dairygate and Palin's legal expense fund - she is poising herself to have her own legal expenses paid when the milk hits the fan.

So here is a little time line for us to ponder.

April 21st - Halcro announces that he will stop blogging to reset and find a more productive way to effect change.

April 24th - Sarah's Legal Expense Fund is officially announced.

July 1st - Halcro starts blogging again.

July 3rd - Sarah Quits.

So perhaps the iceberg is actually ice cream!!! I like ice cream.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing, and not coincidental, that Palin surrounds herself with those who most reflect her values as a human being: liars, thieves, corruptibles and ethically-challenged people, all without conscience. It plays like a recurring nightmare.

What happened to serving the citizens and the state of Alaska in the best possible way? All this scheming, posturing, lying and maneuvering doesn’t leave room for doing the job for which Palin was elected to do. And the kick in the butt is that she gets away with pretty much whatever she chooses to do. Just how does that work out?

The Palin Universe must surely be warped and residing far and away from the dreaded common sense, honesty, hard work and decency.

Hopefully Palin will finally be held accountable in the true light of her, as well as others', complicity in their warped ways. It can’t happen too soon, but it will surely happen. I mean, won’t it?

wv = setos

Patrick said...

And there is another little shoe that dropped:

John Coale, top-scientologist and Greta van Susteren's husband, now said that Sarah already had a $ 500.000 legal bill FROM the campaign - and only $ 100.000 in legal bills came later!

Therefore, Sarah's allegation that she incurred a $ 500.000 legal bill as a consequence of the ethics complaints of some meanspirited liberals and other criminals in Alaska can safely be rejected as pure B.S. !!


"One of the main reasons Sarah Palin is stepping down as governor, say associates, is her large, unpaid legal bill. Her successor, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, says she is worried about "the cost of all the ethics investigations and the like." But is that really the reason? John Coale, a Washington lawyer who helped Palin set up a legal-defense fund and PAC, tells NEWSWEEK the fund is "well on its way" to paying off $500,000 in legal debt from the campaign and another $100,000 in bills incurred later, leaving questions about how big a part money woes played in her decision to resign."

I can think of many reasons why Sarah Palin needed extensive legal advice during the campaign...

How to effectively cover up the faked pregnancy, for example.

Anonymous said...

Thank god Quittypant's main "qualification" for loyal minions is constant stroking of her immense need for admiration, and unquestioning obedience to her every whim. I think she purposefully hires completely unqualified people, because they know that without her backing they would have never gotten their job. They are in her debt, and she likes it that way.

On the down side of this hiring strategy is the national recognition her staff has earned for being complete screw-ups, even for simple matters such as either accepting or declining a dinner invitation.

I seem to recall reading that this past March, the National Republican Governors organization actually tried to straighten her out, and suggested such simple things as setting aside personal time, having an advance schedule of events, and setting up a method of returning calls. As we know, Quittypants already has her own system in place, and returns calls when she pleases.

You do not have to be a believer in Karma to see how she is her most relentless enemy. She has already been defeated. She may earn some money from her celebrity status, and have a few ignorant followers, but last November the American people saw her fancy pageant walkin' and sent her back to Alaska.