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AFN opposes proposed Alaska Judicial Council changes

March 6th, 2014 Posted By: Morgan Howard No Comments

AFN 2013 Day 1 06by Jerzy Shedlock, Alaska Dispatch.

Alaska Federation of Natives President Julie Kitka, pictured here at the 2013 AFN Convention, says there is no evidence to suggest the proposed changes to the Alaska Judicial Council are necessary. Loren Holmes photo

The state’s largest Alaska Native organization is rallying against a resolution that would increase the membership of the Alaska Judicial Council, which screens and nominates judicial vacancies.

The Alaska Constitution created the seven-member council that oversees the selection and retention of judges. Republican Sen. Pete Kelly’s Senate Joint Resolution aims to amend the constitution and add three additional members to the independent citizens’ commission. The resolution initially called for the addition of nine new members but was amended. CONTINUE »

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BBNC explores for copper and gold

February 20th, 2014 Posted By: Morgan Howard No Comments

By Elwood Brehmer, Alaska Journal of Commerce

Anchorage Bay, near the Chignik Airport at the southern edge of Chignik Bay is seen in this 2005 aerial photo from West Construction Co. Bristol Bay Native Corp. plans to explore copper and gold prospects in areas around Chignik Bay in conjunction with Millrock Resources Inc. this summer. The Chignik fishery had a harvest of 3.4 million salmon, including 2.4 million sockeyes, worth $23.3 million in 2013.

Photo/File/West Construction Co.

Less than a month after Bristol Bay Native Corp. issued a statement supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that the proposed Pebble mine would endanger region salmon stocks, the Alaska Native corporation announced it had secured a partner to explore for copper and gold on company lands on the Alaska Peninsula.

The “area of interest” covers about 480,000 acres from north of Chignik Bay to Stepovak Bay to the southwest on the Gulf of Alaska side of the peninsula. The area is believed to contain approximately 125 million tons of near-surface copper ore and “remains open for exciting new discoveries,” according to a report from BBNC’s project partner Millrock Resources Inc.


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Gwitchyaa Zee Corp. employee suspected of fraud

February 5th, 2014 Posted By: Morgan Howard No Comments

gwitchyaa-zhee-logoA Fort Yukon woman may have stolen more than $100,000 from the Alaska Native corporation for which she used to handle finances. By allegedly falsifying records from the corporation’s fuel store and stealing money from a safe, the state says, she collected enough cash to fund two family vacations and purchase a new vehicle.

Zelma Louie Fairchild is accused of stealing $118,085 over five months, according to an affidavit filed last week in Anchorage. She allegedly stole the money from the Gwitchyaa Zhee Corporation, a Fort Yukon-based Native village corporation.

The Office of Special Prosecutions is handling the case, but the charges have yet to go through a grand jury, so it hasn’t been decided if there is enough evidence against Fairchild to go forward with a trial.

Gwitchyaa Zhee draws some of the profits for its shareholders from a fuel store, and it’s from the store’s daily sales sheets that Fairchild allegedly funneled more money than her salary paid. The alleged thefts have come back to haunt her, as charges weren’t handed down until four years after the crimes are believed to have been committed. CONTINUE »

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February 3rd, 2014 Posted By: Morgan Howard No Comments

Every Alaska Native corporation (ANC) and many Tribal businesses started a company without having a business.

Businesses are usually created because a product or service provides value and attracts paying customers. Behind the product/service is an extremely talented individual or group which brings the product/service into existence. Regardless of available talent, Native enterprises first created a business then searched for a product or service. This is business development in reverse.

I currently serve on two Native enterprise boards, one is an Alaska Native village corporation board and the other is a Tribal enterprise board. There are major differences between the two business entities with the major one being land ownership. The ANC has land and the Alaska Tribal business does not. However, both entities seek to start and grow new businesses for the benefit of their tribal members and shareholders. Many village ANCs and Tribal businesses attempt this with little to no capital.


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Eyak Corp. fraud story revealed

July 14th, 2013 Posted By: Morgan Howard No Comments

By TOM SCHOENBERG — Bloomberg News
EyakTek LogoWASHINGTON — The case of Kerry Khan, who was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison Thursday, began with a probe of fake contractor references and ended in discovery of plans for a $1 billion contracting fraud.

Along the way, an official with an Alaska Native corporation was caught up in the bribery and kickback scheme. The scandal unfolded just as Congressional critics were scrutinizing a law that gave Native-owned companies special privileges to win no-bid federal contracts. The issue is still simmering in Washington.

Khan, 55, pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington last year to masterminding a criminal enterprise that over four years stole more than $30 million from a no-bid contract he oversaw while working at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He was also in the advanced stages of controlling a $1 billion contract under development at the time of his arrest in October 2011, prosecutors said.
“I don’t think any of us quite thought it would be of this magnitude and scope,” U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen in Washington said in an interview. “It just kept growing and growing.” CONTINUE »

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