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Ex-Confidant Testifies Against Stevens

POSTED: 06:28 PM ET, 09/30/2008 by Derek Kravitz


Before and after photos showing the extent of the remodeling work done on Sen. Ted Stevens's Girdwood, Alaska, home. The home renovations are at the center of a criminal corruption case against Stevens, a longtime Alaska Republican. (Department of Justice)

Bill Allen, the wealthy, eccentric energy company executive who started working in Alaska oil fields as a high schooler, today took the witness stand against his one-time close friend, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, in the lawmaker's public corruption case.

Allen, 71, is the government's star witness against Stevens and testified about the gifts he lavished on "Uncle Ted," Alaska's most recognizable and politically important figure. The Associated Press reports that Allen told jurors how he helped transform Stevens's small A-frame cabin into a two-story home, complete with a garage, sauna, wine cellar and wraparound porches, at a cost of $250,000. (The house also featured a fish statue that could be "illuminated" with the flick of a switch.)

Stevens has denied that he knowingly accepted the gifts, saying he paid $160,000 for the improvements and thought that amount covered it.

Allen pleaded guilty more than a year ago to bribing state lawmakers to help push an oil production tax favorable to his company, Veco Corp. He has not been sentenced and is cooperating with the government's investigation.

During testimony today, Allen said he also helped Stevens out in 1999 after the senator said he was fearful that the Y2K computer bug would shut down the power grid and leave him in the dark.

"So I went and got a generator and put it in," Allen testified.

"Did he ask you for this?" prosecutor Joseph Bottini asked, according to the AP.

"Yeah, he said he needed a generator," Allen responded, his head lowered, as he told jurors that Stevens never paid for the generator, which cost at least $5,000.

A year ago, Allen told a federal jury in Alaska that he personally oversaw the remodeling of Stevens's house near Anchorage. He said he visited the home about once a month and gave the senator some of his old furniture.

Allen was testifying against former Alaska House speaker Pete Kott, who was convicted of supporting the favorable tax legislation sought by Allen in exchange for cash and a future job.

Allen's testimony will prove crucial to whether Stevens, 84, will be able to politically survive the criminal case.

The AP reports that the "fiercely loyal Stevens did not acknowledge" Allen as he entered the courtroom and that the two men "barely looked at each other as Allen prepared to testify." Before the criminal investigation into Stevens began, the men were friends for 26 years.

Allen has been described by prosecutors as a profane and wily corporate executive who carried around hundred-dollar bills in his front pocket so he could bribe lawmakers. In Juneau, some lawmakers have been so accustomed to working under the presumption of impropriety, The Post's Karl Vick wrote, that several don embroidered ball caps with the letter CBC, for "Corrupt Bastards Club."

By Derek Kravitz |  September 30, 2008; 6:28 PM ET Stevens Trial
Previous: Rezko Might Be Cooperating With Feds | Next: Medicare to Slash Payments for Medical Errors

Comments

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Palin was elected governor in a power vacuum. In a different context, that same type of power vacuum election occurred with Jesse Ventura in Minnesoata. Palin and Ventura have more than that in common. Both of them understand that politicians lie and so they do it too but neither of them are any good at it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2008 8:06 PM

Anonymous hit the nail on the head with that last comment - enough said.

Posted by: Arren | September 30, 2008 9:02 PM

I'm going to miss you Ted, like I would miss a hemroid.

Posted by: Terrorfied | September 30, 2008 9:24 PM

It takes a strong individual to turn down M O N E Y. That's why we try to elect honest, principled representatives--folks who are honest and above board. Unfortunately we make mistakes sometimes. Not much is worse than a corrupt politician. He should be nailed to the wall--made an example of.

Posted by: Michael Tatom | September 30, 2008 9:40 PM

Don't worry, Palin and McCain will clean up Washington and the government; I got a bridge to nowhere to sell ya.

Posted by: mooredavid78@gmail.com | September 30, 2008 10:17 PM

I guess that now we know where Palin learned her politics from...

Posted by: JakeR | September 30, 2008 10:17 PM

Q..A Congressman and a Senator are tossed out of a plane at the same time. Which one hits the ground first?

A..Who cares!

Posted by: Travis t monk | September 30, 2008 10:32 PM

The testimony to date appears to imply Allen & co delivered $130 - 150,000 worth of results and simply (over)ran extra expenses totaling 250k+ that Allen ate like a decent contractor should in a hard dollar bid. This provided VECO an image of competent service which the actual facts and costs suggest otherwise, Mr Stevens appears two steps removed, most items handled by his wife while he was usually in DC.

This looks more and more like the Duke incident of knowing, malicious prosecution for political purposes.

Posted by: ba | October 1, 2008 6:14 AM

There will be great joy in watching Ted Steven's biography on Wikipedia indicate that he was found guilty of soliciting bribes (Or as Ted says "those tubes". Thousands of school children will include that in their school reports in years to come. His name will be synonymous with greed and stupidity. A quantum of solace for his disgrace.

Posted by: OilforNewChalet | October 1, 2008 4:58 PM

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