Palin Facing Criminal Probe?

In the wake of Sarah Palin’s resignation as governor of Alaska, here is a humorous take on a possible looming scandal from StevenD at BoomanTribune:    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2009/7/4/135319/1069

It’s murder most foul.

On a more serious note, there are rumors of a pending Federal criminal indictment — stories that Federal agents have been poking around the Matsu valley for the past three weeks (h/t  Shannyn Moore on MSNBC).  But the real details may be laid out in this post from Stef on DailyKos. http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/3/749721/-I-Think-Its-Housegate!

Reposting my old diary from the primaries on Housegate. I am astounded that this was actually investigated!

Did Sports Complex Contractors Build Palin’s House for Free?
by stef

Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 11:52:55 AM EDT

The prosecution just rested in the Ted Stevens trial, in which he is accused of accepting $250,000 worth of free renovations to his house from VECO, an oil pipeline company. VECO workers labored for months remodeling Stevens’ home at the company’s expense.

The Palin’s two-story, four bedroom, four bath home on Lake Lucille is worth $552,000. “Todd Palin built the house with friends who were contractors, he said in a recent television interview.”

At the same time the mighty Todd was building the house, the Wasilla Sports Complex was under construction right down the road. Just who were these “friends who were contractors” who did such a huge favor for the Palins by building their house for them? Was it payback for the sports complex contracts? Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice asks the question, below the fold.

stef’s diary :: ::

I posted this question last week but I believe it deserves a second look in light of the corruption uncovered in Troopergate and the Stevens trial. Todd’s explanation, I built the house with the help of a few buddies, defies belief. Todd! You’re a fisherman, a snomobile champion, an oil worker, a caribou hunter, a government operative, AND a plumber, electrician, mason, carpenter? Wow! You are one Super Dude.

Wayne Barrett reports that after the $12.5 million Wasilla Sports Complex was approved, the design contract went to architect Blase Burkhart, “son of Roy Burkhart, who is frequently described as a “mentor” of Palin and was head of the local Republican Party.” Roy Burkhart was also a Palin campaign contributor. Palin then appointed Blase Burkhart to the builder-selection committee, which awarded the construction contract to “Howdie Inc., a mostly residential contractor owned at the time by Howard Nugent.” Nugent was a Palin campaign contributor, also.

What happened next is rather curious. Here’s Barrett:

A list of subcontractors on the [sports complex] job, obtained by the Voice, includes many with Palin ties. One was Spenard Builders Supply, the state’s leading supplier of wood, floor, roof, and other “pre-engineered components.” In addition to being a sponsor of Todd Palin’s snow-machine team that has earned tens of thousands for the Palin family, Spenard hired Sarah Palin to do a statewide television commercial in 2004. When the Palins began building a new family home off Lake Lucille in 2002—at the same time that Palin was running for lieutenant governor and in her final months as mayor—Spenard supplied the materials, according to Antoine Bricks, who works in its Wasilla office. Spenard actually filed a notice “of its right to assert a lien” on the deed for the Palin property after contracting for labor and materials for the site. Spenard’s name has popped up in the trial of Senator Stevens—it worked on the house that is at the center of the VECO scandal as well.

Todd Palin told Fox News that he built the two-story, 3,450-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bath, wood house himself, with the help of contractors he described as “buddies.” As mayor, Sarah Palin blocked an effort to require the filing of building permits in the wide-open city, and there is no public record of who the “buddies” were. The house was built very near the complex, on a site whose city purchase led to years of unsuccessful litigation and, now, $1.3 million in additional costs, with a law firm that’s also donated to Palin collecting costly fees from the city.

Dorwin and Joanne Smith, the principals of complex subcontractor DJ Excavation & Development, have donated $7,100 to Palin and her allied candidate Charlie Fannon (Joanne is a Palin appointee on the state Board of Nursing). Sheldon Ewing, who owns another complex subcontractor, Weld Air, has donated $1,300, and PN&D, an engineering firm on the complex, has contributed $699.

Ewing was one of the few sports-complex contractors, aside from Spenard, willing to address the question of whether he worked on the house as well, but he had little to say: “I doubt that it occurred, but if it did indirectly, how would I know anyhow?” The odd timing of Palin’s house construction—it was completed two months before she left City Hall and while she and Todd Palin were campaigning statewide for the first time—raises questions, especially considering its synergy with the complex.

What an unusual situation. Giant construction contracts are being awarded to campaign contributors at the same time that “buddies” who just happen to be contractors are “helping” Todd build their two-story house. At the same time Sarah ensures there will be no public record of building permits. WTF? How is this different from the Stevens situation?

We need to know:

Who Built Sarah Palin’s House?   

Additional  questions:   who paid for it? How much?

My own  thoughts:  aside from the obvious questions of corruption there are other issues to be considered.  As a Licensed Tax Preparer I have better-than-average-taxpayer knowledge of IRS Tax Law.  And the one thing that occurs to me is that the Palins may have huge amounts of unreported income. If they received a house worth $552,000 essentially  for free that amount is supposed to be reported as income on their joint tax return. If they did not report this, then their tax returns were fraudulent.

In simple cases of civil fraud for underpayment of tax,  the penalty is 75 per cent of the tax underpayment plus interest computed on a monthly basis.

Then there is the issue of criminal fraud.  It is entirely likely that the breathtaking scale of the Palin’s tax fraud would cause their cast to be elevated to criminal fraud, which can involve jail time.     http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=106790,00.html

“If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each:

        • Shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years
        • Or fined not more than $250,000 for individuals ($500,000 for corporations)
        • Or both.”

If Sarah Palin knew she was facing consequences such as this, the panicky look in her eyes and nervousness in her voice during her hastily called news conference announcing her sudden decision to resign are easily explained.  Of course there was also the”travelgate” scandal where Sarah Palin received reimbursements for her children’s travel expenses and the “per diem gate” scandal where the she received additional monies for living in her own home in Wasilla rather than her duty station in Juneau. Both of these items could increase the amount of unreported income that should have been included on the joint tax return.  All these items would be subject to penalty and interest.

Could Sarah Palin be brought down by the same crime that got Al Capone?  It wasn’t booze and speakeasies that brought down Capone:  the Feds eventually got him for income tax evasion. Will Palin face the same ignominious end?

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3 Comments on “Palin Facing Criminal Probe?”

  1. Yoka Koch Says:

    I find it interesting that several months ago I was able to have public record access to a recorded document search, in which I found many of the public records concerning the Palin property. At that time it showed a lot of loans out to the Palins around that time (when they built their house).
    However, when I tried to return to the County (Matanuska-Susitna County) Recorded Document site it is no longer on line???
    It also showed the records of Palin’s ex-mother in law Sherri Johnston.
    I’m very curious why this public site is no longer accessible (Since Palin’s resignation) as it is for other counties since these are public recorded documents.

    • Yoka Koch Says:

      I was able to get through, I’ve forwarded my comment to you, which I posted to the Huffington Post below.

  2. Yoka Koch Says:

    Remember the house was built by Todd and a few buddies? Even though most of the house product was also used in the Palin’s house. Not to mention those windows needed cranes to be installed?

    Not………………..

    Here is Recorded document showing the lien on the Palins by the building company which built the Sport’s Complex and got lucrative contracts from Gov. Palin as well as Palin receiving donations from the contractor:

    Type of Document: ALASKA NTC OF RIGHT TO LIEN
    Palin, Todd
    Date Recorded: 10/19/2001
    Grantor
    First Grantee : SPENARD BUILDERS SUPPLY

    Here is the public recorder’s website, hang on to this, it was a “journey” finding it:

    http://dnr.alaska.gov/ssd/recoff/sag/DocDisplay.cfm?SelectedDoc=20010228400&District=311


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