A Washington, DC political group is calling for the state to take criminal action against Representative Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla).
A Washington, DC political group is calling for the state to take criminal action against Representative Lynn Gattis [R-Wasilla]. Melanie Sloan, executive director of the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, says Gattis took advantage of Alaska taxpayers when she accepted 65 thousand dollars from the Matanuska Susitna Borough in a 2011 land easement deal. Sloan says her group wants action against Gattis, because
“It seems that she got away with it, that’s why. I suggest that both the Attorney General and the US Attorney investigate whether Ms. Gattis commited a crime by deliberately including a provision in the easement that would hold her harmless in case anyone came after her for the easement which she knew perfectly well she had no right to offer. “
CREW wants Alaska’s U.S. attorney and state attorney general to launch an investigation against Lynn Gattis and her husband, Richard Gattis, for taking the money, because, Sloan says, the land was not theirs in the first place.
“And then as soon as someone came after them, the said, ‘oops, we can’t so this deal, but we get to keep the $65,000 we got for doing absolutely nothing.”
Sloan points out that the Gattis’ land is state of Alaska agricultural land, and is under restrictions for it’s use. Sloan admits she has never spoken to anyone in the state division of agriculture. The Borough wanted the easement to build a temporary road on the land, but the road plan was later dropped.
Representative Gattis says she has never attempted to hide her involvement in the easement deal:
“So, now we got the folks in Washington, DC. Well, I gotta tell you, keep your nose out of our business, we’ve already been through that. And that’s why I say, this is a rehash of an old project. “
Gattis says that issue was well covered in local papers when it happened, almost three years ago. The story broke in the local press less than a week before the 2012 state election. Gattis won her seat regardless. Gattis says the CREW press release is inflammatory:
“What I find specifically offensive about this CREW thing, and I won’t tell you, because it’s not fit for print what my husband says about it. But, you know, the words that the ”….the Borough construct a haul road … and REFUSED to return the payment.’ I didn’t refuse. You refuse when you’ve been asked. I wasn’t asked to return the payment. Why? Because we did everything the contract said we should do.”
Gattis says she has no idea why the story is being brought forward again, but she has her suspicions that it is politically motivated.
CREW’ Sloane says Gattis could be facing a number of charges: scheme to defraud, mail and wire fraud, misapplication of property, and theft for attempting to sell land that belongs to the state of Alaska. Sloane says that CREW is supported by private donations, but would not divulge who the group’s donors are.
CREW has written to Karen Loeffler, US Attorney and state Attorney General Michael Geraghty expressing the organization’s concerns.