Citizens file APOC complaints over Kenai River Classic participation, gifts
Complaints have been filed against three state officials for taking gifts for themselves or their families in relation to an annual Kenai River fishing event.
The complaints filed against Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources Ed Fogels and Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell assert that they did not declare their participation in the Kenai River Classic, nor the gifts they received at the event, on public disclosure forms. A similar complaint was filed against Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell for not declaring his daughter’s participation or gifts.
The Kenai River Classic is an annual invitational fishing event held to raise money for the Kenai River Sportfishing Association’s work in habitat restoration, and fisheries education, management and research. According to KRSA’s website, the event has raised more than $14 million during the past 20 years.
Participation in the classic cost $4,000 in 2014, and the complaints assert that the value ranges from $4,000-$5,000. The fee is typically waived for public officials.
The complaints were filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, or APOC, Aug. 25, and published on the commission’s website Aug. 27. Once APOC notifies each of the officials about the complaint, they have 15 days to respond with any proof and supporting documents explaining their response, according to APOC documents detailing the process.
The complaint against Campbell asserts that she failed to report attending the event or accepting numerous gifts in 2011.
KRSA estimated the value of the gifts given to each of the officials in 2011 at $5, elaborating that it was unclear if every attendee received them. The list of gifts included a gear bag, turtle neck, baseball cap and gloves, each with KRSA’s name or logo on them, which the organization reported devalues the items.
The complaint against Fogels asserts that he failed to report attending the classic or accepting numerous gifts from KRSA in 2013. That was filed by Homer resident Elaine Chalup.
The complaint against Treadwell was filed by Kasilof resident Benjamin Clare and asserts that Treadwell failed to report that his daughter attended the classic in 2013, and she that accepted gifts and a waived entry fee.
For 2013, KRSA’s financial disclosure estimated the value of the gifts it provided at $6. Those included a gear bag, quarter zip shirt, baseball cap, softshell jacket and gloves, with a reduction of value because they had KRSA’s name or logo on each of them.
The attendee list for the 2011 and 2013 Kenai River Classics included legislators and fisheries managers.
KRSA has advocated for fisheries management in Juneau, as well as at the Board of Fisheries Upper Cook Inlet meeting in 2014 and other past board meetings.