Jurisdictional scope of SOX 922
Dear Forum Members:
I have been involved in a labor dispute in the State of Alaska as a state employee. I have been denied timely access to the grievance process and it is becomming clear that the management of the state is in collusion with the AFSCME Local 52. My original complaint was a whistleblower case not related to finance.
In March,2005 I visited with a special agent at the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General in the Racketeering section. He said that he could not address my personal grievance, but would be interested in investigation of any evidence of pension fraud. I said the people I have dealt with are recalcitrant about following simple Collective Bargaining Agreements that there would probably be some retirement fraud as I am dealing with crooked, corrupt. slippery and evasive individuals.
A few weeks later I sent the investigator news of a USD5.7 billion 8O deficite in the PERS retirement accounts of state employees, which is nearly 3/4 a million dollars per current state employee. In April a special session of legislature was called to start a new employee retirement system similar to a 401K. I feel that I have precipitated this and that it effects and will affect a lot of people for better or worse. ( Could it be worse than minus USD700,000 each? )
Several states have attempted to implement this type of retirement legislation, including California though unsuccessfully.
My question is can these people who grossly mismanage accounts and have such egregious behavior in dereliction of their job descriptions and agency mission statements be brought to justice using the Sarbenes-Oxley act by calling an agency or union NGO a person under the Act?
If so, is there any specialist in this law who is interested in ‘shooting some fish in a barrel?’
I am not an attorney but I am now in the Ninth Circuit representing myself. Many people associated with this have now resigned or retired early, and I would like to see some criminal charges against responsible parties to discourage future fraudulent activity of the management and union.
I might add that the PERS system is a system that uses shares of stock as it were, that are earned with merit and a percentage of income and are used in a stock portfolio is my understanding. The investment decisions are made by the Division of Retirement and Benefits is also my understanding.
Under the new system each individual has more control over their own accounts and investments, is my understanding.
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Funny the governor did not address this problem at the beginning of the legislative session, or for that matter in his first year in office beginning in 2003…
Once U.S. DOL was involved it became important.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 27, 2005 No. 05-119
Governor Signs PERS/TRS Bill
(Anchorage) Governor Frank H. Murkowski Wednesday signed Senate Bill 141, a legislative measure designed to implement overdue and fundamental change in the state’s Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers’ Retirement System.
Murkowski signed the measure, sponsored by Sen. Bert Stedman, at the 4th Avenue Anchorage Legislative Information Office. The governor was joined by lawmakers who carried the measure from its original drafting in the Senate Finance Committee through hours of hearings to final passage in a legislative special session.
Soon after I took office, we learned that this administration had inherited a USD4 billion unfunded pension liability that has since grown to USD5.7 billion, Murkowski said. We have a constitutional duty to make sure every dollar of pension benefits are paid and so we had a responsibility to enact reform.
Melanie Millhorn, director of the Division of Retirement and Benefits in the Alaska Department of Administration, said the reform’s major changes would be implemented for employees hired after July 1, 2006. This new defined contribution plan is similar to the 401(k) plans used by federal and many private sector employers.
The defined contribution plan provides comprehensive retirement benefits and will be an effective recruiting tool for future public employees, Millhorn said. If a young family is dreaming of new life adventures and careers in Alaska, the defined contribution offers more flexibility than the defined benefit program.
Now we are working during the interim with the House Special Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate, Murkowski added. Our priority in the next session is to help the legislature craft a realistic and effective solution to the unfunded pension liability we inherited.
More links and comments by admin folks at this article’s source at state.ak.us:
In fact, how was or could this professional organization apparently be decieved as to the financial condition of the PERS in Alaska just one year ago?
Date: July 29, 2004 For immediate release
No: 05-04 Media Contact: David Fremming, Special Assistant/Communications, 907.465.5034
Alaska Public Employees and Alaska Teacher’s Retirement System Win Awards
(Juneau) The Governmental Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada recently awarded two Certificates of Achievement to the Alaska Department of Administration, Division of Retirement and Benefits.
The Certificates were presented to Melanie Millhorn, Director of Retirement and Benefits for her role in directing the preparation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports of both the Alaska Public Employees Retirement System and Alaska Teacher’s Retirement System. Millhorn gives credit to Anselm Staack, Chief Financial Officer and Kevin Worley, Accountant V, for their major contribution involving the preparation of the reports.
Commissioner of Administration Ray Matiashowski applauded Director Millhorn and her division’s staff for their hard work and attention to detail that was evidenced by capturing the awards. Matiashowski stated the Certificate of Achievement constitutes the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and reporting and noted that the division has received this special recognition for last five consecutive years.
Here is the former AG’s resignation story. He was working a coal deal that would make his USD100,000 stock investment into millions by use of instrument of the state. Is this covered under SOX? I know the Governor found one of his good friends to do a kind gentle investigation.
More of this is story is available online at Juneau Empire.com and Anchorage Daily News on the web.
Web posted February 6, 2005
Gregg Renkes calls it quits
Attorney general leaves post to remove family from ‘vicious politics’
By MATT VOLZ
the associated press
Attorney General Gregg Renkes announced his resignation Saturday after months of battling criticism for alleged ethics breaches while shaping an international trade deal.
Renkes, in a prepared statement, cited personal attacks that he said continued even after an outside investigator concluded there was no ethical breach except for one instance.
Renkes wrote that his motivation for stepping down was to remove his family ‘from the vicious politics of personal destruction.’
‘I must leave this office and this privilege I have treasured and held dear. A family is priceless; a job can be done by others,’ he said in the statement.
Renkes will step down Monday, after he hands Gov. Frank Murkowski a written letter of resignation, Murkowski spokeswoman Becky Hultberg said Saturday.
The governor has already accepted Renkes’ verbal resignation, she said.
‘Gregg’s decision to resign was his own and I respect that decision,’ Murkowski said in a statement released Saturday evening.
The governor plans to appoint an acting attorney general next week, according to the statement.
A call to Renkes’ cell phone was not immediately returned. Renkes was traveling and was not available to comment, spokesman Mark Morones said.
‘I think he’s just tired. It’s taken a big toll on him,’ Morones said.
A report released last month by former U.S. Attorney Robert Bundy concluded that Renkes’ stock in KFx Inc. wasn’t significant enough to be considered an ethics breach. KFx stood to benefit from an international coal deal between Alaska and Taiwan that Renkes played a major role in putting together.
The value of Renkes’ KFx stock was about USD100,000 at the time he sold it in October, after news reports surfaced of his holdings in the company.
Bundy said Renkes violated Alaska ethics law by not seeking an outside opinion on his involvement in the Alaska-Taiwan agreement, and Murkowski last week issued Renkes a letter of reprimand for that breach. In his letter, Murkowski said he would not ask for the attorney general’s resignation.
Several lawmakers complained that Murkowski’s letter of reprimand was a slap on the wrist.
House Speaker John Harris, R-Valdez, said Saturday he believed Renkes’ character had been attacked ‘viciously and mercilessly,’ which made it difficult for the attorney general to perform his duties.
‘I’m disappointed that Gregg had to resign because I like him personally, but I do understand because there was so much interest in it, I don’t think he could legitimately focus on his job anymore.’
The state personnel board is considering a separate Renkes ethics complaint filed by Democratic Rep. Eric Croft and former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin, a Republican.
Croft said Saturday that Renkes’ resignation likely makes the personnel board’s investigation moot. Croft sad it was a sad day for Renkes and the state, but called Renkes’ decision the right one.
‘None of us is as big as the job, the state, the obligation,’ Croft said. ‘So the really important thing is, do our actions help the people preserve the dignity of the office or not?
‘In this case, his actions did not and he quite rightly chose to resign.’
Renkes worked in Anchorage during law school and moved to Palmer to work for the Alaska Court System after graduation in 1986, according to his biography on the Web page of the National Association of Attorneys General. He worked as a law clerk and state magistrate under Superior court Judge Beverly Cutler in Palmer.
Renkes served 12 years on Murkowski’s Washington, D.C. Senate staff and headed a public policy firm specializing in energy, environment, natural resources, public works, transportation and trade issues.
From 1995 to 1998, he worked as majority staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
He coordinated the 1993 and 1998 campaigns to re-elect Murkowski to the Senate.
He also was Murkowski’s campaign manager for his 2002 gubernatorial campaign. When Murkowski was elected that November, Renkes was one of the governor-elect’s first appointments, despite his lack of time practicing in the state.
Renkes’ legal advice during his two-plus years as the state’s top lawyer has repeatedly generated controversy.
He was point man for a Murkowski proposal to abolish the state agency that oversees campaign finance and lobbying activities, the Alaska Public Offices Commission. Renkes contended the commission was slow to resolve complaints and that it appeared to be influenced by partisan politics. The measure failed.
After the Alaska Court of Appeals ruled Alaskans could possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana in their homes, Renkes ordered state police to continue to seize and treat as evidence all marijuana found - even if it was under 4 ounces.
Renkes appealed the ruling and was denied a rehearing by that court and the Alaska Supreme Court.
Renkes was described by Bundy as a major player in negotiating the terms of the USD1 billion deal that would take coal from Cook Inlet, use a patented KFx process to make it consumable and export it to Taiwan.
Renkes had personal ties to KFx’s executives and owned company stock that was actively traded throughout the negotiations, but Bundy concluded that Renkes had not intended to use his office to personally gain from the deal.
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Salmonshark this is a rather alarming story.
However, I don’t understand your comment…
My original complaint was a whistleblower case not related to finance.
…as this seems very much a finance case.
However, I don’t think that the SOX Act particularly helps you as I do not imagine that it applies to the State of Alaska - not a Public Company. That said some of the actions you describe seem to have rather dubious legality regardless of SOX anyway.
I am also not sure what it is that you’re looking for from this forum?
Well I think that Labor-Management and unions in the last frontier are in collusion and as I suggested to the DOL that this behavior would indicate corruption, and there will probably be other aspects and as the special agent asked for ‘evidence of pension fraud’ to start an investigation, I think I showed him some things to take action on.
If there are people who are sleeping on a 5.7 billion dollar mattress I think that they should have the ill gotten gain taken away from them by proper channels. I think that if there are enough aspects of SOX that could be applied then great. Serve some justice.
The whistleblower stuff not related to finance was of a supervisor at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who has a history of sexual harassment if not attempted assault.
In July of 2001 he was reported trying to drag a girl into the woods at a remote fish processing facility. She had to be walked home by another passerby.
In July of 2002 he was visited by a private investigator interested in talking to him about a rape and murder of a girl coming home from her 17th birthday party. Within a week or two strange things began happening like a 250 lb. parts motorcycle I was tinkering with disappearing as well as a van stolen on a day both my co-workers unexcused from working. The Bike did not even roll and had sat 15 years untouched before I took a part off of it.
In the same week he was reported creeping into the plant manager’s daughter’s cabin. A few nights after that I saw him testing the newly installed lock on her door.
He insisted on my transfer and coerced me to take a new position but had no articulated reason why at the time. After this he suspended an international fishing treaty obligation to go in to the office to get a girl my job. I had dated her and she had been asking when we would ride this motorcycle the day before it disappeared.
I told my union (AFSCME Local 52) that I was dealing with a hostile work environment, but was not represented, and was given no opportunity to apply or know about the position that was eventually created for her. Subsequently I was disciplined and terminated after filing EEOC complaints.
My own inquiries and study lead to the financial aspects of the case.
I know the labor and larceny stuff is not of interest to SOX but that is the basics of my original whistleblower case. I am now trying to get the court to compel a DNA sample from this person for the purpose of ‘excluding’ him from the now 9 year old crime.
The latest empathy of loosing a job is from a Labor-Relations expert who recently resigned. You can currently hear his resignation announced on his outgoing message at (907) 465-2463. He persistently refused to hear my complaints no matter how serious they appear to be.
Newspaper articles from the Juneau Empire of the crime are at this site:
The investigator who visited and have talked to and who has been interested in the former supervisor has a website at:
Brent Turvey is his name.
One of the Labor -Relations people who denied my grievance acknowledged my calling the a ‘Banana Republic’ as if it were a matter of pride. I don’t think that should exclude them from problems with corruption.
The forensic evidence of the crime suggests multiple perpetrators, and one thing that doesn’t match the supervisor is strawberry blonde pubic hair. I have noticed an associate of my supervisor who appears to stalk me. He shaves his head clean, and has blonde eyebrows. In the first of June I approached him and asked who he was and how he knew my supervisor. He took a swing at me and ran. I left Juneau a day after a uniformed officer saw some of this person’s behavior.
Anyway that’s the non-financial whistleblower stuff. Fun. :.:
What I like to learn from the board is how to pursue individuals culpable for running a retirement system into bankruptcy, but hopefully the DOL will work on that. It seems that the Federal Agencies like EEOC etc don’t seem to want to act against state agencies though.
I know this is mostly unrelated to finance but it makes for interesting reading. Proven again, truth can be stranger than fiction. I am ready for this to be over quite and frankly and I’m not opposed to apologize and say I made a mistake, but I think that I would have known the truth by now.
Thanks for any help you can advise or direct me to.
Of course it is also good to have a forum like this as agencies try their hardest to stifle free speech and sweep this sort of thing under the rug.
I encourage anyone concerned about government corruption to contact:
Ask him why this has not been arbitrated and or settled, why the union in the State of Alaska is under the supervision of Business Manager Jim Duncan, who took the position straight out of Commissioner of Administration position in direct violation of state statutes against this conflict of interest and why the National AFCME hasn’t imposed a trusteeship on the Local 52 which does not follow Collective Bargaining Contracts.
Assistant Attorney General
State of Alaska Department of Law
Dear Mr. *****:
This is to document my verbal offer of Friday, August 13 to dismiss the case against your client, Mr. ****** ****** *******, on the stipulation that he submit a DNA Swab to a private investigation of the Baggen murder case in Sitka, AK. This would be done by the investigator that visited Mr. ******* the week before he insisted that I be transferred and coerced my compliance with his desire to have me transferred in July of 2002 in violation of Statute. In addition he suspended an international treaty obligation to affect a Quid-Pro-Quo for an unannounced position in violation of statute.
In our discussion I mentioned that this could be done at no burden to the state by Mr. ***** ******. This a simple on minute procedure involving two q-tips and requires no blood drawn. I have submitted a sample to the case myself. Mr. ****** has agreed that he will do the test on his resource.
Mr. ********'s behavior had become a matter of public concern at the Excursion Inlet fish processing facility and this was not just an isolated incident but a pattern of behavior.
It is in the public interest that a person who exhibits sexually aggressive behavior such that Mr. ******* has displayed in the four years I have worked with him be tested. If there is any chance that the concerns of a community about the rape and murder of one of their own can be put to rest then it is your duty as Attorney General to see that this is done.
Your client was clearly ready to give false sworn testimony in the procedure that you said you were flying him in for. This is a felony in the state, and though the Judge did not rule properly on the Statutory Injunction which was filed this will eventually be reviewed by the Ninth circuit court of appeals. The number of untruths that Mr. ******** and his significant other ******* *, and the type of information that was contained in the complaint clearly indicate that there was some collusion with your office. Ms. ***** even goes as far as referencing your involvement in this case.
As you know, this case has transcended the court in Alaska. The display of favoritism by the court in the impossible claims of Ms. **** has convinced me that justice will not be served in the State Court of Alaska . Beyond that fact there is now a Police Officer who has witnessed the behavior of one of Mr. ’s associates who has stalked me while I was in Juneau. Because of this my time in Alaska must be brief and unannounced for the most part. This offer of settlement would also eliminate the excessive and potentially errant legal process like that which your client and his significant other have created, which I will ask for compensation for. As well your reliance on the possible criminal aspect of this case which has prevented my meaningful access to the court will be looked on in unfavorable light by the Alaska Bar association, The American Bar Association and the Ninth Circuit.
I feel that this offer of settlement could be the only truth that could come out of this process, is extremely reasonable and it shows that your client has something he very much wants to hide. In addition to this it is an act of bad faith for you to not accept this offer and in conflict with the Mission Statement of your Department. I encourage you as a professional, and Mr. ******* as a show of good faith to give this offer serious consideration.
There is now interest in having my case presented in front of a Grand Jury, and as there is evidence of a racially motivated crime, abuse of process, perjury, and your client’s possible involvement in a rape and murder that occurred on a federal property. I recommend that you encourage your client to contact Mr. ****** about my most generous offer of settlement.
Please Contact me at () through the 27th of this month or contact:
Mr. ***** ******
*** Harbor Drive,
J*** ******* **
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If any of the forum members had any influence on this resignation maybe you could also influence the new commissioner to return me to employment after being terminated for communicating a matter of public concern.
Here’s the new commissioner’s e-mail:
I think he knows who I am. Most the legislators do by now…
Matiashowski to Return to Private Sector
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 16, 2005 No. 05-152
Matiashowski to Return to Private Sector Resigns as Department of Administration Commissioner
(Juneau) Governor Frank H. Murkowski announced Friday that Commissioner of Administration Ray Matiashowski has stepped down to pursue business opportunities in Ketchikan.
Ray has been a valuable member of my administration and has brought a strong private sector foundation to the business of government, said Murkowski. The Department of Administration manages a diverse array of functions, including the operations of the daily workings of state government. Ray has been a valuable and effective leader in bringing a new level of efficiency to state government.
Matiashowski, 45, said he needed to spend more time with his business in Ketchikan and he wanted to spend more time with his family. His resignation will become effective October 3.
I will always value the opportunity to serve in the cabinet and advance the goals of this administration, said Matiashowski.
I want to thank Ray for his dedication and his valuable advice, said Murkowski. I wish him well in his business opportunities in Ketchikan and look forward to his continued contribution to the community and the state.
Matiashowski was first appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Administration in February 2003. Matiashowski became commissioner after the resignation of Mike Miller in May 2004.
A replacement has not yet been named, but Matiashowski indicated a willingness to stay on long enough to ensure a smooth transition.
Matiashowski played a key role in disentangling the state from an ineffective telecommunications contract and achieved a first-ever contract with Alaska Airlines to reduce state travel costs. Matiashowski also played a key role in reforming the Public Employees Retirement System and Teachers’ Retirement System.
With a pork barrel funding of a bridge to the Ketchican Airport funded at the cost of USD200 million, I’m sure there’s an opportunity for Him in Ketchikan in private sector. For a town of 9,000 people that’s alot of money for each person. ot have to get on a boat to get across the 1/2 mile channel th fly out. I can’t imagine the ferry that does the 1/2 mile crossing to be as expensive. Considering the status of airlines’ solvency it’s questionable if the bridge will have that much use in the near future.
Gov. Makes Appointments to Retirement Board
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2005 No. 05-167
Murkowski Makes Appointments to Retirement Board
(Juneau) Governor Frank H. Murkowski appointed seven trustees to the new Alaska Retirement Management Board, which was formed as part of the legislation enacted this year to reform the state’s underfunded Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) and Teachers’ Retirement System (TERS).
Alaska became a national leader this year when the Legislature enacted critical reform to stem the growing USD5.7 billion unfunded pension liability, Murkowski said. I am looking toward this board to guide our new pension system toward a future of stability and prosperity.
The new board will implement changes in the oversight and management of the state’s existing defined benefit plans for PERS and TRS by establishing a single board to manage assets and liabilities of the retirement systems. One trustee must be a finance officer; two trustees must be members of the general public; two selected from a list of four nominees submitted by the PERS bargaining units, and two trustees selected from a list of four nominees submitted by the TRS bargaining units. In addition, the commissioners of Administration and Revenue also serve.
In addition to asset management, the board will analyze and recommend short-term and long-term solutions for addressing the under-funded status and provide a report to policymakers and members of the Legislature.
The new Alaska Retirement Management Board acts to replace three boards; the Public Employees’ Retirement Board and Teachers’ Retirement Board that were dissolved effective June 30, 2005, and the Alaska State Pension Investment Board dissolved effective September 30, 2005.
The two appointees recommended by the PERS collective bargaining units are Sam Trivette, of Juneau, and Michael R. Williams of Anchorage. Trivette’s term will expire March 1, 2006, and Williams term expires March 1, 2008.
The two appointees recommended by the TRS bargaining unit are Gayle W. Harbo of Fairbanks, and John R. Roses of Anchorage. Harbo’s term expires March 1, 2006 and Roses’ term expires March 1, 2008.
The two appointees who will hold public seats are Gail Schubert, of Anchorage and Martin R. Pihl, of Ketchikan. Schubert’s term expires March 1, 2007. Pihl’s term expires March 1, 2008.
Lawrence A. Semmens, a certified public accountant who serves as the finance director for the City of Kenai, will serve in the seat reserved for a finance officer employed by a political subdivision. Semmens’ term expires March 1, 2007.
I don’t expect the new board to find a silver bullet that can make the unfunded liability disappear, said Murkowski. However this dedicated group of Alaskans will over time make decisions about contribution rates, asset allocation, and liability assessment that will bring us back to a sustainable and secure retirement system.
The new Alaska Retirement Management Board as constituted under this legislation took effect October 1, 2005. The first meeting of the ARMB will be held in Anchorage on October 11 and 12, 2005.
Here’s someone who might have been commissioner of Admin. He was ethics supervisor and regional Director of Alaska Department of Fish and game. His aparent approval of sexual favor appointments to unannounced position at the ADF-and-G aparently got him a promotion to deputy commissioner. He also ignored the ADF-and-G’s obligation to an international treaty. Peter principal works for him.
Anyone concerned about U.S puting their best foot forward in their obligations to an international treaty should surely drop him a line.
Kevin Brooks was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Administration in June of 2004. In his position he oversees the divisions of Administrative Services, Finance, General Services, Enterprise Technology Services, Retirement and Benefits, and the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Brooks began his career with the State of Alaska in 1983 working as an accounting clerk and went on to serve as the finance officer of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in January of 1986. He later served as a accounting supervisor, budget analyst and director of administrative services for the Department of Administration. In 1992-93 he worked in the private sector as a business manager for a publishing company, providing budget, accounting, and payroll services. From October of 1993 until June 2004 he served as the director of administrative services for the Department of Fish and Game in Juneau.
Brooks holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a master’s degree from the University of Alaska. He, his wife Shawnda, and their children reside in Juneau.