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April 24, 2014

Rep. Could Cash in from Bridge

A legislative audit recently revealed that Alaskans could be on the hook for up to $1.4 billion dollars as a result of insufficient projected toll revenue from the Knik Arm Bridge (aka KABATA, aka The Bridge from Hell).

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Not only that, but a land ownership analysis found that at least one state Representative in Juneau could stand to cash in from road construction to the area.  The family of Representative Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla) just happens to own land adjacent to the Knik Arm Bridge approach in the Mat-Su Borough, and would see her land become much more valuable as a result of the development.

In a statement issued by the Democratic Party today, Party Chair Michael Welstrup weighed in.

“The KABATA boondoggle puts taxpayers on the hook for up to $1.4 billion and it could also enrich a legislator at taxpayer’s expense. This is just the latest example of Republican conflicts of interest in Juneau.

“It is a violation of Owner State principles to socialize the expense of projects while privatizing the profits.  Either private companies take the risk and get the reward, or if the public takes risks then we should benefit when projects succeed,” said Wenstrup.

Gattis has already been the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars of state and local money in the past, related to her land holdings.  While she was on the Mat-Su School Board, she received a whopping $65,225 from the Mat-Su Borough to construct a haul road across her property.  Even though the haul road was never built, Gattis kept the public money.  Nice work if you can get it. I believe some in her party might characterize that as a free government handout.”

rain of dollars

And while she was pocketing the $65,225 from the Mat-Su Borough, Gattis was using a $630,000 loan from the state of Alaska.  One of the conditions of that $630,000 loan was that it be used for undeveloped agricultural land, a condition which would have been violated by the haul road. So, good thing THAT didn’t happen.

It left her with plenty of pocket change to by all the women in the House some real classy half-lace, half-camouflage scarves to wear while they were nullifying the Constitution earlier in the year. They may annihilate the very document they swore an oath to uphold, but darn if they didn’t look stylish doing it.

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Rep. Lynn Gattis (L) and other Republican legislators sport their spiffy new lace/camo scarves. It’s a good thing the House doesn’t convene in the woods or we’d never find them.

Under the terms of the proposed HB 23, Alaskans would be responsible for footing the bill for the entire $1.4 billion in bridge and approach costs which is not covered by the tolls the bridge will take in.  The legislative audit found that toll revenue would be  insufficient to cover costs of the bridge – by a lot.  However, any toll profits from the bridge would accrue to private contractors, not the Alaskans who actually paid for the bridge. I believe that’s what they call a lose-lose proposition for the public, and a win-win for the contractors.

Today, House Republicans (sans camo neckwear) proposed a transfer of the management of KABATA to the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, but that transfer of managerial responsibility does not address the fact that you and I are expected to pay the costs to make up for the projected shortfall in tolls.

 

 (Knik Arm Bridge, and Gattis land)

Comments

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Comments
20 Responses to “Rep. Could Cash in from Bridge”
  1. Lynne says:

    Nothing new there. The Murkowskis have property that would have increased in value greatly if the Bridge to Nowhere had been built on Gravina Island, south of the airport in Ketchikan.

  2. Bick Pentameter says:

    I used to be dedicated activist fighting for the unvoiced. But I’ve been so demoralized lately by the likes of Gattis, and Geissel and Don Young and Sean Parnell and Palin and Kott and Stevens and on and on. I won’t waste my time any more.

    • Joe Blow says:

      Wake you up when the revolution is over, eh?

      Being a dedicated activist hasn’t anything to do with giving up just when dedicated activism is needed most.

  3. Sourdough Mullet says:

    Ms. Gattis’ dirty land dealings are deep and long-running. See Zaz Hollander’s article in the Frontiersman about the illegal railroad easements she sold to the Mat Su Borough. She knew the easements were illegal when she took the money and got the MSB administration to direct their attorney to include a “hold harmless” clause “just in case it should happen to turn out that there was anything illegal about the leases….” Hmmm….. She danced away with the public money and never returned it even though the leases were vacated when it became public knowledge. But she didn’t dance away with her integrity intact. http://www.frontiersman.com/news/gattis-had-loan-conflict/article_37284da8-24bb-11e2-ad51-001a4bcf887a.html

    Lynn Gattis and her husband Richard (a Fed Ex Pilot) have bragged publicly for decades to Valley Residents about their plans at Pt. Mac. They include buying up subsidized State Ag Land Leases (they now have several), then fight to get the Ag Restrictions removed. They then plan to subdivide the properties for home sites and build a public airstrip subdivision. (I believe they have one on their land there already). Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching! All the way to the bank! All they had to do to tie it all up was to get Lynn Gattis to the legislature. Watch closely for the soon-to-come dismantling of the Agriculture Covenants at Pt. McKenzie by Ms. Gattis and her cronies.
    Of course, she ran on the Teapublican Party Platform of “Fiscal Conservatism and Smaller Government” -. that part is a no-brainer.

  4. Nancy Allthrop says:

    Gattis won’t give Borough taxpayer money back, $65,000. Gattis interviewed by the Frontiersman:
    “Gattis, asked if she had considered returning the money given her status as a candidate for public office, said she had not.”
    Wow, that says alot about her personal ethical code. And the fact that her 19 year old son is a convicted drug felon facing 21 years in federal prison says alot about her skills as a parent. Unbelievable she is on the Legislative Education Committee and she served as a MatSu School Board member. A leader in education for our kids, but couldn’t guide her own kid.

  5. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    I would only note that somewhat south of the proposed location of the bridge in question the inlet seems more narrow than where the bridge is proposed to be built. The rest of this is just another example of people stealing from the public in plain sight and getting away with it.

    There is no elixer that will alleviate despair.

  6. ugavic says:

    We might have what many consider the ‘best’ state constitution in the nation BUT we sure seem to be screwed up in how we use it.

    What the h3ll!!

    Conflict of interest is the least I would call it!!

    • Pinwheelan says:

      Ugavic: There is an assumption here that our elected buffoons can read our State Constitution, let alone understand it, or use it properly. n

      • Pinwheel says:

        Ugavic: There is an assumption here that our elected representatives can read our State Constitution, let alone understand it, or use it properly. n

        unnecessary letters on the end of this “in moderation” statement. I am very sorry. I am not a drone/troll. n

  7. Jag24 says:

    Lynne Gattis proudly arches her back and calls herself a BUSINESS WOMAN. She is as twisted as any of her cronies and is just another opportunist. She has no thoughts that ALEC hasn’t given her and is a rubber stamp of the other people who she serves with.

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