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October 21, 2014

Parnell Hiring Scandal leads back to Dyson, Kopp, Palin

Chuck Kopp, Chief of Staff to Republican State Senator Fred Dyson, and a two-week Palin administration official, dismissed over a sex scandal is now at the center of another firestorm – the controversial hiring of his brother-in-law Paul Pozonsky by the Parnell administration.

Pozonsky, a Pennsylvania judge under investigation for destroying evidence (including crack cocaine and cash) in 17 criminal cases was hired by the Parnell administration as an Alaska hearings officer. He was given the job despite his late application, the fact that the current investigation has stripped him of his ability to hear cases, and that he was the subject of a year-long protection from abuse order for domestic violence.

A few months ago, the hearing officer position with the Workers’ Compensation Board opened. Applications arrived, the application process closed, resumes were reviewed, candidates were interviewed and a hiring decision appeared imminent. But then something happened. The application process was re-opened, a new application arrived, and a late applicant, Paul Pozonsky, got hired.

To fully appreciate this story, we’ll need to travel back in time to … Troopergate. I’ll give you a moment to let your body adjust to the new time change. It’s the summer of 2008. The tangled and incestuous web of Alaska politics always seems to lead back to the same places.

Chuck Kopp was the Chief of Police in Kenai, and appeared seemingly out of nowhere to replace Sarah Palin’s Commissioner of Public Safety, Walt Monegan. The latter, as you may recall, was summarily dismissed after refusing to fire Palin’s ex-brother-in law Mike Wooten, then a state trooper. The details of the Troopergate investigation are readily available, and for our purposes here, it all begins when Monegan was terminated.

Kopp, a newcomer to the public consciousness, was suggested to Palin for Monegan’s now vacant position by her head of Boards and Commissions, Frank Bailey.  He discussed the appointment in his memoir, Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin. Kopp ran in the same religious and politically circles as Palin, many on her staff,  and Lt. Governor Sean Parnell. Days before Palin had her Chief of Staff Mike Nizich (who is also current Governor Parnell’s Chief of Staff) bring the hammer down on Monegan, Bailey received an email from Kopp:

“If the administration is unhappy and looking for a change, let’s talk in person when you get a chance.”

Kopp had been a member of governor-elect Palin’s Department of Public Safety transition team, when she ascended to the governor’s chair in 2006. In addition, he was also a sitting member of the Alaska Judicial Council, the body charged with reviewing candidates applying for state judgeships.

Kopp not only had a public safety and judicial background, but was also willing to play ball where Monegan was not. Bailey emailed Palin, and made reference to the “bad cops,” including Wooten, that Kopp would address if hired as Commissioner of Public Safety:

“He’s also 110% onboard with dealing [with] some of the embarrassing issues that have blackened the eye of the entire Trooper (sic) around the state, namely Spitzer, Osborn, etc. I’m sure he’d take the Wooten thing seriously.”

Two days after that email, Kopp was in Anchorage interviewing with Mike Nizich. He was immediately hired. Palin emailed Parnell and told him not to worry: “We’re replacing Walt with Chuck Kopp. It’s all good.”

But it was most definitely not all good.  Things went south quickly when details of a sexual harassment suit filed against Kopp while he was Chief of Police in Kenai resurfaced. Kopp swore that the administration knew about it beforehand. Palin said she didn’t. Regardless, it became obvious that the Palin administration had not adequately vetted Monegan’s replacement, and she lurched from the politically disastrous firing of Monegan to the equally disastrous public vetting of a sex scandal involving his replacement. In an interview, Kopp famously asserted “I am not a sex harasser” and swore innocence. Palin stuck by him briefly, but ultimately decided to cut and run. Kopp was asked to step down. He resigned less than two weeks into the job.

He also received a severance check of $10,000 for his two weeks’ trouble. Monegan got nothing. Sources close to the situation revealed that Kopp was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement ahead of the payment, and it was quickly dubbed “hush money.”

In November of 2008, Palin returned from her unsuccessful national election to reclaim, and run her state with Lt. Governor Sean Parnell. Four months after Kopp’s speedy dismissal, and only days after her return, Palin Communications Director Sharon Leighow, and Frank Bailey received an email with a request it be forwarded to Governor Palin. The email began: “Dear Governor Palin, My name is Sara Pozonsky and I am Chuck Kopp’s sister…”

The lengthy email went on to detail the anger and frustration Kopp’s sister had been feeling regarding her brother’s dismissal, including the fact that he’d given up his position as Chief of Police in Kenai only one year before his retirement eligibility. Left with no seniority and no job, he’d been forced to relocate to King Salmon at a low level job, receiving about half his previous pay, leaving his family in Anchorage and struggling to keep his home, and his children enrolled in private Christian schools there.

Now, after frantically searching for a job, Chuck has had to accept a job as the lowest ranking police officer out in King Salmon taking at least half of what his salary was as Chief in Kenai. He almost lost his house as he could not afford to make the payments but God miraculously provided a family to lease his home in Kenai for a year. He has a son at Letourneau University in Texas and a daughter who is a senior at Grace Christian, plus a 7 year son who also attends Grace Christian. Through financial support of his friends, parents, and his siblings, Chuck & Trish have been able to somehow financially survive.

The email goes on to chastise Palin for not sticking with Kopp and worrying only about herself and her potential Vice-Presidential nomination. “How can you champion our Christian faith when it seems you have no love or consideration for others except yourself,” Pozonsky scolded.

Pozonsky pointed out other influential Alaskan politicians of the evangelical Christian persuasion who had rallied behind Kopp, and whose requests for Palin to support him fell on deaf ears. Most notable were current Republican State Senator Fred Dyson, and former Republican Lt. Governor Loren Leman, both of whom are defined politically by their extreme and outspoken religious, and socially conservative views.

It’s truly amazing to see evil prevail; although I believe that in the end the Lord will raise Chuck back up and put him back on solid ground – Waiting is the hard part. The Bible tells us to let God be our vindicator but yet I see you fighting back in the press – trying to clear your name and keep a good reputation. Chuck could have been on any TV show he wanted – gotten paid a fortune for his interview if he would have only told his story. Much of that story would not have painted you in such a perfect light. Because Chuck knew it was all stemmed from Liberal Democrats wanting to bash conservatives, he chose not to go out there and tell his side of things.

Or, he’d signed a non-disclosure agreement before collecting his check.

The letter ends with a plea for help and a contact phone number.

Our entire family remains on our knees asking God for His guidance, HELP, and restoration in Chuck’s life. I have been begging God not to forget Chuck out there in King Salmon and hopefully restore him soon. I just thought I’d send you this note to see if it might prompt you to do something on his behalf.

It’s not clear what if anything Pozonsky wanted done on his behalf, or what may have been done on Kopp’s behalf by Palin, but in 2011 Kopp was honored for his service on the Alaska Judicial Council.

He’s also no longer a low-level cop in King Salmon, and is instead in Juneau as the current Chief of Staff of the aforementioned Senator Fred Dyson. His wife Trish Kopp is the other member of Dyson’s staff.  Dyson should clearly be able to hire whomever he wishes to staff his legislative office. And I’m sure that Trish Kopp appreciates being able to stay close to her husband’s office.

But now, Paul Pozonsky, Kopp’s ne’er do well brother-in-law under investigation in Pennsylvania for destroying evidence through his judgeship was hired by the Parnell administration, out of the blue, based upon a late application, as a hearings officer? That’s a whole other kettle of fish.

Presumably, Pozonsky is now planning to flee the Keystone State, leave his past behind, and relocate to Alaska where his wife and step children can be reunited with the extended  family as he settles in to his nice state job.

I guess things are looking up for the extended Kopp family. Fascinating how it all worked out, isn’t it?

~Governor Sean Parnell, Senator Fred Dyson, and Chief of Staff Chuck Kopp

 

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Comments
26 Responses to “Parnell Hiring Scandal leads back to Dyson, Kopp, Palin”
  1. Douglas Shields says:

    The Judge Pozonsky’s Tale Just Gets Weirder All The Time
    The view from PA.

    Pozonsky-Gate in Alaska. Hello Sara Palin!

    A Review:

    PA’s Alleged Magician (he disappears stuff) and Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge, Paul Pozonsky, flees to Alaska this Fall after some odd rulings from his bench. That attracted the attention of people you don’t really want to attract.

    Odd things like being removed from criminal cases by the President Judge;
    after he orders, over the DA’s objections, destruction of evidence in 17 drug cases; and,
    Denies motion hear argument by the press regarding the un-sealing Range Resources civil court settlement related to allegedly poisoning a Washington County property and family.

    Last Friday the PA Superior Court overturned Pozonskys ruling to deny a hearing in that matter.

    The PA AG is looking at him. But wait!

    Lo and behold!

    Judge Pozonsky, fleeing to Alaska, runs smack dab into:
    America’s Sweetheart, Sarah Palin, a sex-scandal/Trooper-gate tainted brother-in-law, Chuck Kopp;
    now an aide to State Senator Dyson; and,
    some figure Dyson, via Kopp, got Pozonsky a Worker Comp hearing officer job;
    Pozonsky has just resigned from the sweet job he got in October.

    And, the Gov. of Alaska goes silent on the matter.

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

    Drill PA Attorney General Drill! When does Kathleen Kane (our new PA Attny. Gen.) take office? Less than 30 days right?

    Yes, a Google search would have raised big, giant red flags. My concerns relate to Pozonsky’s “motivation” to keep the Range Resources court settlement under seal. Range “allegedly” poisoned a PA family’s water and them too. The local press here wants to see the contents of the case and settlement. Range Resources does not. The good judge obliged Range’s wishes.

    My apologies to Alaska. It seems someone dumped some PA trash in your neighborhood.

  2. Bill Fikes says:

    To be submitted on Monday pending revisions…

    Attorney General Michael Geraghty
    Department of Law
    1031 West 4th Avenue, Suite 200
    Anchorage, AK 99501

    I hereby request that an official investigation be conducted into the recent hiring and subsequent resignation of Paul Pozonsky as a hearing officer with the Workers’ Compensation Board.

    This position was closed to applications and then reopened. Was this done, as it would appear, as a special favor to the relative of a Senators staff member? If so this is a clear violation of the Ethics Act, IE:

    Misuse of Official Position (AS 39.52.120)

    “Public employees may not use their positions for personal gain or to give an unwarranted benefit or treatment to any person.”

    I would ask that you please investigate the involvement of the following persons in what would appear to be a conspiracy on the part of all the below named persons to bypass the normal hiring procedure and grant undue favor to said relative of Chuck Kopp. I expect that there might be others that had full knowledge of this alleged transgression in the Governor’s office and in the Workers Compensation Division.

    Governor Sean Parnell
    Michael Monagle, Director, Division of Workers’ Compensation
    State Senator Fred Dyson
    Chuck Kopp, Chief of Staff to Republican State Senator Fred Dyson
    Trish Kopp is the other member of Dyson’s staff
    Paul Pozonsky, brother-in-law of Chuck Kopp

    I look forward to your response in this matter and I understand that this matter will necessitate the hiring of an independent counsel to act in your place as there are charges involving the current Governor attached.

    “I certify under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true”

    Bill Fikes Jr
    Meadow Lakes, Alaska

  3. AKjah says:

    Thank you Jeanne.

  4. Amy says:

    As a conservative Republican in Alaska, I am astounded at the fact that Jeanne Devon is consistently the best investigative reporter in this state. Good work Devon! I appreciate your revelations of the real “crony capitalism” that goes on here. While La Palin keeps complaining about it, all of her cronies and ex cronies keep doing it. I guess I will just be a convert to a liberal blog as it is the best source of news in Alaska.

  5. Bill Fikes says:

    “Fascinating”…yea, I can think of some other terms that might apply, and Judge, I wouldn’t start unpacking just yet.

  6. The Lawman says:

    Well they can be crooked as a dog’s hind leg…and it’ seems to me that power of the peoples can happen…
    If Alaskans start a protest…stand outside the State Capitol…call the medias…they will have to answer those pesky questions…may be they will be shaking in their boots like Palin was…after that email was sent to her…

  7. All I Saw says:

    “And I’m sure that Trish Kopp appreciates being able to stay close to her husband’s office.”

    *snicker*

  8. Marilyn says:

    Is this the same Chuck Kopp who changed his name from Krappuchettes? That says it all, doesn’t it?

  9. Moose Pucky says:

    Good luck, Alaskans, pleading your case before that hearings officers. Clearly he’s going to be on the side of establishment employers, not the workers. Parnell–worst governor ever. And the bar is low.

  10. oiscar says:

    if a politician in ak mention gods name,they will get elected,they ionky have tyo make sure they pick the right god

  11. ilovelucy says:

    I don’t understand how the hiring is legal. He isn’t a resident, and it’s obvious they reposted the job just for him.

  12. AKMagpie says:

    I expect there will be CBC caps in in all their Christmas stockings when what they deserve is lumps of coal. Anybody up for coaling on the Homer beaches?

  13. InJuneau says:

    “Presumably, Pozonsky is now planning to flee the Keystone State, leave his past behind, and relocate to Alaska . . ”

    A quick look at the State’s employee look-up page at http://www.alaska.gov/whitepages/default.aspx shows that Pozonsky, Paul is currently in the position of Workers’ Comp Hearing Off II. I think the “GP” under “BU” indicates that the position is included under the GGU contract. The search result does not show when he was hired, but the Position Control Number (PCN) is shown as 07-3013.
    I _suspect_, but do not know for sure, that personnel can say when a position was filled. I don’t think they can tell you much else about the position.
    Workplace Alaska will provide descriptions of different job classes. (http://notes.state.ak.us/wa/position.nsf/JobClassByFirstLtr?open) There, you should be able to find minimum requirements and general job duties.

    • John says:

      He doesn’t seem to meet the minimum qualifications for the job unless he did very different work before become a judge.

      http://notes4.state.ak.us/wa/position.nsf/384853b21d223dea892566aa00707e31/a4c02e0039d2cf05892565a30003388b?OpenDocument

      Minimum Qualifications:
      A Juris Doctor from a college of law accredited by the American Bar Association.
      AND EITHER
      One year of experience as a Workers’ Compensation Hearing Officer I with the State of Alaska or the equivalent in another U.S. jurisdiction.
      OR
      One year of experience as an advocate representing workers or employers before the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board or the equivalent in another U.S. jurisdiction.
      OR
      Two years of experience as an Administrative Law Judge or Hearing Officer with the State of Alaska.

      Special Note:
      In accordance with AS 44.62.350(b) and (c), successful candidates must have been admitted to practice law for at least two years immediately before appointment to a position in this job class.

  14. Anch2020 Keep Anchorage Fireworks Free says:

    This is absolutely stomach churning. thank you, Jeanne….I guess….:)

  15. John says:

    Why is everything good that happens a miracle from God and anything bad the fault of liberal democrats? Is there no personal responsibility? Or the possibility that God might want to punish them for something?

    • John says:

      One more question: why does any Alaska legislator need a chief of staff? Especially one in the minority as Dyson was. The members in the majority hsve a staff of maybe 4? And the legislator needs help managing that?

  16. UgaVic says:

    Disgusting and shameful.

    What will be even worse is that this will probably lead to nothing as the supporters of this administration have no ethic!!

  17. Mo says:

    Parnell and Kopp appear separated at birth in that photo, with identical s**t-eating grins. At least, that’s how my military acquaintances referred to this facial expression.

  18. alwaysagardener says:

    This just pisses me off. Parnell, Palin and their whole come to jesus crowd have no sense of integrity, honesty or what it means to be an above board citizen. Sometimes I just shake my head and ask myself why I live in Alaska. It is so depressing to see the corruption ongoing. Just when I think we have beat down the latest scandal another comes to light. I honestly believe the state magnetizes a sick Christianity.

    • Zyxomma says:

      Yes, Alaska does seem to have a magnetic attraction for a most unattractive brand of Xtian. And they keep voting their own into office.

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  1. [...] story broke my column for the Anchorage Daily News last Sunday and was followed up by posts from Jeanne Devon and Linda Kellen [...]

  2. [...] Devon followed-up with a fascinating back-story showing the family connections that give the Pozonsky’s influence over some of the most [...]

  3. [...] Parnell Hiring Scandal leads back to Dyson, Kopp, Palin : The … Go to this article [...]



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