Hidden story

together no more

Together no more, Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (right)/Wikimedia Commons

One thing nearly all politicians share in common is this: They’re all about transparency until it’s time to be transparent.


Here was Alaska Gov. Bill Walker four years ago in his swearing-in remarks:

“My administration will work to restore some faith and trust that has been lost. I vow to you that we will have an open and transparent government.”

And now?

Now Walker running mate Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, the Democrat candidate for governor four years ago who abandoned his party to join Walker on an independent ticket in order to oust incumbent Republican governor Sean Parnell, has resigned his office and severed his relationship with the incumbent governor.


Walker isn’t saying much. Mallott has left the stage. And Walker deputy chief of staff Grace Jang, a former journalist, is pleading with her former colleagues to ignore their responsibilities to tell the truth about public officials and walk away from this story.

What is known

Walker has said Mallot made “inappropriate overtures” to a woman Sunday night. Mallott has written of “inappropriate comments” in a resignation letter. 

Walker spokesman Austin Baird has said there is a “victim” involved.

The incident appears to center on inappropriate sexual overtures and inappropriate sexual comments, but no one in the governor’s office has explicitly said this. The entire incident has transpired behind something of a veil.

Mallott’s letter of resignation didn’t even say if there was a woman involved. Instead it referred to a placing “a person whom I respect and revere in a position of vulnerability.”

The vulnerability phrase would appear to indicate Mallot suggested that if the “person” didn’t cooperate, there would be consequences. There is no hint of what those might be, although Walker administration officials have said no state employees were involved so apparently the loss of a job or the loss of an opportunity for a job can be scratched from the list.

The mainstream media has reported little more on this story than the official statements coming out of Walker’s office, but there is plenty of talk in political circles and among old Mallott friends about what happened. The name of a Fairbanks woman involved in law enforcement has come up repeatedly.

For two days now, has tried to reach her.  She has been repeatedly queried about any possible involvement. She has not responded.

State of sexual abuse

As of this moment, the decision is to leave her name out of the story because in her capacity as a member of the state’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault she is a more a quasi-public official than a real public official although she holds an elevated position as a public figure in the Alaska Native community.

She has visibly spoken out against the problems of domestic violence and sexual assault in this state, especially in rural Alaska. She has, in particular, urged communities to stand up to protect minors who might become victims.

And this is where the issue of identification gets sticky.

Suzanne Downing at Must Read Alaska has reported the 75-year-old Mallott’s inappropriate comments, whatever they might have been, were directed at a 17-year-old. And it would appear the woman who brought Mallott down is the teenager’s mother.

Suffice to say, the mom in this case – if  it is the woman involved in law enforcement in Fairbanks – is no wallflower. She has a reputation. Some who know her think that if Mallott had said something untoward to her she might have kneed him in the groin.

But nobody knows for sure what happened here and she has not come forward to tell her story.

Information vacuum

That said, the governor’s failure to provide details on an incident that he claims so significant he called his Cabinet in to ask advise has only heightened interest in the pre-election blowup.

Jang, in her Facebook post, whines about how it  has been “a tough week for my boss and our whole team.” The post is the definition of “self-serving,” but Jang does raise one good point:

“As journalists, you have a choice. You can choose to elevate the discussion.”

If, in fact, this is another case of an old man with power trying to use that power to exploit a teenage girl in Alaska  – as Downing has reported – it is indeed time to elevate the discussion, because that sort of thing has been going on in Alaska for too long.

Two words come immediatley to mind: “Bill Allen,” once one of the most powerful men in the state capital, and a man who should have been prosecuted but wasn’t for using his power, influence and money to entice teenage girls into sex.

There are no indications that Mallott misused his power and money in anyway as badly as Allen, but old pals of the ex-lt. governor asked about what might have happened have expressed no surprise at the idea of inappropriate comments or the involvement of young women.

They have only expressed surprise that Mallott – the former president of the Sealaska Native Corporation, the former mayor of Juneau, a longtime state business and political figure, and  an intelligent and accomplished Native leader – would be so careless as to make such comments in this time of #metoo.

And that is a story worth pursuing because, if true, clearly #metoo isn’t working and the heat needs to be turned up higher. That an elected public official would say something so grievous as to force his resignation so soon in the wake of the accusations of sexual misbehavior swirling around Supreme Court Justice Brent Kavanaugh – a man whose reputation will forever be tarnished – is simply mind boggling.

Alaskans deserve an explanation of what happened not just because Mallott was the lieutenant governor, either. But because Mallott is in too many ways representative – to be blunt – of other horny, old farts in powerful positions in this state.

Less than a year ago, Dani Bickford,  a one-time legislative staffer in the capital city of Juneau where Mallott was mayor, very publicly raised this issue. She started sketching penises adorned with the faces of lawmakers who had sexually harassed her. She described the Capitol itself, a place where Mallott had an office, as something of a modern-day, near-Arctic den of iniquity where it is normal for powerful men to harass powerless women.

Apparently her art and her statements, and #metoo and Kavanaugh’s nightmare failed to reach Mallott. That’s almost impossible to believe, but is there any other explanation?

The untold story told

With the mainstream media so far responding to Jang’s plea for silence and reporting little, others have rushed in to fill the news vacuum.

Downing at her right-leaning website was Thursday reporting this all began with an altercation between “Mallott and an unnamed middle-aged woman at the (AFN) Elders and Youth Conference. It was at least a little bit public. The situation became known, and that information made its way back to the governor’s chief of staff.

“The young girl’s mother evidently had a close relationship with Mallott….Must Read Alaska has learned that Mallott said something to the daughter — and the mother went ballistic.

“On Tuesday, Mallott was no longer welcome at the Alaska Federation of Natives. He is one of the founders of the organization. Mallott left AFN and went back to Juneau immediately.”

The information was not attributed, but Downing was the first to break the news of Mallott’s sudden departure from office on Tuesday. Some at first questioned that report, but it turned out to be accurate.

The account she details above is largely similar to the story many journalists have likely heard by now because it’s the story burning up the wires of  the Bush Telegraph, the state’s underground whisper network.

The likelihood is that some version of this story is true, and Walker needs to tell the truth about what happened to clear the air.

Jang’s claim this will somehow further traumatize the victim is nonsense. The victim deserves a thank you and a public confirmation that “you did the right thing, and we applaud you for it.”

Not just for her, but for all those teenage girls who might face the next old fart trying to solicit them and need to hear the message that its OK to tell powerful old men to leave you alone because Alaskans will have your back.

Instant replay

Will Walker do this?

Funny, four years ago it was what he insisted Parnell should do.

Parnell then, like Walker now, faced questions about his handling of a sex scandal involving the Alaska National Guard (ANG). Walker criticized Parnell for a lack of a transparency in that case.

Walker friend Alice Rogoff, the publisher of the state’s largest newspaper at the time, even sued the Parnell administration to obtain public records pertinent to the state’s investigation of the ANG to try to force the issue into public view.

Just after the election, the Dispatch News (which went bankrupt and no longer exists) quoted Walker saying “my practice is to err on the side of transparency without violating anybody’s rights in the process.”

“Candidate Bill Walker called for greater transparency in government generally,” ADN lawyer John McKay added at the time, “and he specifically said the governor’s office should be releasing more information about the National Guard scandal and how it was handled.”

When Walker was sworn in as the new governor, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported he thanked Parnell “for his service to the state but went on to say that he plans to have a more transparent administration.

“‘My administration will work to restore some of the faith and trust that has been lost,’ he said.

“While not referenced directly,” the News-Miner story said, “it was likely a reference to Parnell’s obstinacy when it came to discussing his administration’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse and other misconduct within the Alaska National Guard. Those allegations, including a slow response to records requests that led to a release of hundreds of emails just a few weeks before the election, dogged Parnell throughout the campaign.”

And now?

Walker isn’t just suggesting a slow response; his deputy chief of staff is promising no response because, in her words:

“It’s been a tough week for Byron and his family, too. His wife, children and grandchildren are members of this community. They work with us, they go to school with us, they serve with us. One family member told me he has stayed off Facebook because of the hateful comments, the hurtful innuendos, the outright lies.”

There is one quick way to end hurtful innuendos and outright lies:

Put the truth out there. Tell your boss to do what he promised to do when he was elected. Be honest with Alaskans.




54 replies »

  1. I apologize for hijacking this forum to some degree. After an in-depth look at Senate Bill # 1 , I think it may be a usable bill . Perhaps time to implement it . Yes it’s cumbersome but our waters and salmon are under attack by industry that only sees their own dollar signs- out of country conglomerate mining corps, and doesn’t look to the future of Alaska and all its future inhabitants. It’s time in this 20 th century to stand up to protect one of the last relatively pristine water sheds . Alaska’s future inhabitants will thank us . The bill clearly allows for current projects such as pipeline and low impact land and water usages . It protects against water temperature change from mines dams and effluent. There is no doubt it will slow progress and at times be a hassle but isn’t one of our top resources worth that ? Water is truly important. It’s time for us to be proactive and think ahead rather than always trying to clean up a mess . Alaska is special. Let’s work towards keeping it that way . The biggest con I saw in the Bill was a government entity or federal recognized tribe is exempt from bonding in sec. 16.05.885 (- H ) I consider that unethical and unacceptable. As it allows discrimination as well as the potential for native corps and government who have poor track record to possibly get around restoration requirements which is what they did repeatedly in south east Alaska . Log it off then trade it out then let feds restore . It was a racket . It also possibly allows big money to use them as a front to get around the expense of restoration. That’s how I read it anyway. Perhaps a state lawyer could set me straight. Maybe I’m wrong. That loop hole may disqualify this senate bill from being acceptable. Other than that perhaps it’s going in right direction. Painful as that will be to regular citizens.

    • Opinion,
      Of course Ballot 1 should get a “YES” vote from every Alaskan on November 6th….
      That is why Mark Begich has supported it from day 1.
      He is not “touched” by our current governor….just got a nod of support as the better choice for AK.
      Lisa Murkowski has always said “Mark was willing to work accross party aisles”….
      Like when he voted as Senator with R’s to protect your gun rights….or when he worked hard to keep milatary jets and hundreds of jobs in Fairbanks….
      The way I look at it…
      Less influence from Koch brothers and East Coast RNP super pacs, the better.
      A vote for Begich is a vote for protecting our salmon and local communities.
      Almost every Alaskan has a friend or family member who has benefited from the healthcare expansion…not to mention the entire hospital system and medical community….
      Why should we jeopardize this with a right wing agenda candidate?

  2. I completely agree with Grace and her request to the media to stop prying. Mallot chose to hold himself accountable to his wife and family and his constituentents. What more do you want?

    • the truth as to what he did, Adrienne, because he’s not just the lt. gov. he’s a role model. what Mr. Mallott did or didn’t do needs to be out there to determine if he still deserves the latter role.

    • Very deft well placed karate chop, Adrienne! I agree with you totally. Medred serves meat raw, demands answers that are not his to call, and then skates away in swooping arcs when necessary.

  3. Bull f— shit Mr Medred. She “deserves a thank you and public confirmation….”. Seriously? Are you reading and seeing what this country does to women who speak up? And you want to risk that on a young teenage girl? All just so you can produce some column inches. She owes you nothing. She owes us nothing. And we owe her the respect of privacy to tell (or not) her story.

    • first-off Scott, don’t post comments i have to edit. we don’t use the f-word unless it’s absolutely vital in a quote from someone. some people still have sense of decency.

      secondly, she does deserve a thank you and public confirmation. whether she wants that, however, is up to her. as you might have noticed, her name is not in the story though it could have been.

      thirdly, i have never head of anyone doing anything to women in this country who speak up after they are proven right. Mallott has resigned and written a letter admitting he did whatever he did.

      was there someone attacking Michele Knight for the hell she went through or Kari Swenson or others who were documented victims? you’ve got some sort of weird, false-equivalency thing going on with Brent Kavanaugh as, apparently, do some others.

      take two aspirin and go to bed.

      • Move on already.
        The metoo movement is a disgrace. Its politically motivated now.
        Unless he is being charged and goes to court, why spew b.s.?
        That’s the problem these days, unhappy people seek doom and gloom news to make themselves feel better about their sad life.
        Let the courts handle it, it’s the American way.

    • Scott, you molested me in 1978 in Anchorage. I don’t remember the house, road, street, or time of year you molested me. There were 5 of us there but, 4 say it never happened. But, I do remember I had one beer. I told my therapist I didn’t know the your name. I don’t remember how I got home. I also said I couldn’t testify because I was scared to fly but, I love flying on vacation. I want you arrested for sexual assault. You deny what happened but, a paid lynch mob with zero proof says you did. You get upset from the public lynching but, this merely proves you are guilty. Just remember Scott, you owe me respect for coming forward to destroy your career and life.

      • James,
        I agree…
        At this point I am starting to think the handle “Bryon” is coming from a Russian GRU office in Moscow.

        You need to stop this direction on your site ….
        Or most readers are going to leave.
        Exactly what these operative trolls want….
        No meaningful dialogue among U.S. citizens.

      • Steve and James, you just witnessed that exact same thing on your TV screens for weeks during the Kavanaugh hearings. I merely copied Christine Ford’s testimony just about word for word and now you are offended?
        Guess reading the NYT and watching CNN jas its perks..Seems you both missed all the above.

      • Bryan your point is correct . your delivery???? It won’t win anyone over who already missed the logic of what speak .

      • Opinion, “point” was all I was looking for to counter Scott’s opinion. Also, Steve’s call for censorship is typical.

      • Democratic and metoo way. Guilty until proven innocent.

        Well Cory Booker sure doesnt like that. But, because he is a Democrat, hes obviously innocent.

        Such a twisted world we live I right now.

        It will get worse for Americans if the Democrats take control. And God forbid Pelosi is the Speaker.

        They’ll waste the next 2 years with trying to impeach and take away the tax cuts.
        Say no to Pelosi!

  4. Due to Governor Walker endorsing Begich I think Begich deserves extra scrutiny and suspicion. Anybody walker appoints , trusts, hires or endorses is subject to heavy suspicion and worthy of extreme examination. Due to many of them exhibiting criminal activities. Walker failed Alaskans . Everything walker has touched has not come out well and now he has touched Begich. I’m not against Begich as I don’t know him adequately but now he deserves special scrutiny due to walkers terrible choices . Just a thought.

    • Begich voted in line with the constitution while senator, 14% of the time. His record is very clear.
      You can look it up, try “Freedom Index voting record Begich”.

      • Mike,
        The constitution is a very ambiguous document….
        The bill of rights is much more defined in it’s specific details.
        Begich has worked hard across the aisles much better than Sullivan has and Mark voted to support Alaskan’s gun rights while in office….
        I think we are at a point in which the issues are clear in this November’s election….
        Budget, Crime, Healthcare and Salmon top the charts…
        Many also feel strong about Climate Change and protecting Alaskan communities that are most vulnerable like in Western AK.
        The truth is Dunleavy supported both SB21 and SB91 while in state office and I believe his running mate also supported our dividend reduction….this is not really voting for the “best interest” of the residents and home owners, but voting for Conoco Phillips and global oil conglomerates.
        A vote for Mark is also a vote for the common person, not the corporate oligarchs or wealthty lobbyist.

  5. Transparency is the view you see from your lofty political position into the lowly position your opponent takes.

    Well that’s what it means to the current Governor apparently.

    Enjoy your retirement.

  6. Real facts are needed to determine who should be governor. Dunleavy or Begich . Real facts are needed to determine how Alaskans should vote on prop one . This is possibly one of our more important election cycles . So much false info . A governor who can strongly lead Alaska in right direction and not be more of the same failed fiscal policy. As well as someone who can functionally work with the president and senators to make America and Alaska better . Real pros and cons are needed . Less false information.

    • Opinion,
      Good points…
      I would only suggest that Alaskans should not pick a team that is highly funded by the oil and gas industry since we saw what SB 21 has done to the budget.
      Last thing we need is more cuts to Health and Social Services while the oil and gas industry makes billions in profits along side more tax cuts and state incentives.
      As we know, protecting the natural salmon runs are very important and Mark has gone on record supporting Prop 1.

      • SB 21 added more to the state coffers than aces would have over the past 4 years. It also turned the downward trend of throughput of taps into an upward trend for the first time in years and years.

        Throwing more money after bad in health and human services will not fix anything.

        Prop 1 will destroy this states economy and just about every occupation except for park rangers.

      • “What is SB21? The big give away in that bill was the elimination of Alaska’s windfall profits share. That’s a $1 billion to $2 billion rollback in Alaska’s oil revenue (assuming per barrel oil prices of $110 to $130), which allowed a modestly increasing tax rate as companies earned windfall profits at very high oil prices. SB21 lets companies spend that money outside Alaska, anywhere Exxon, British Petroleum and Conoco want. In testimony, they refused to commit to spending it here.”

      • Steve,

        The problem with the quotes you’ve provided is that the real world data for the past 4 years shows that we did not have high oil prices, certainly nowhere even close to the assumed $110 to $130 per barrel referenced. So while wishing for pie in the sky numbers that we haven’t seen, but for a very short time historically speaking is great, in reality SB21 has provided more revenue for the state the last 4 years than aces would have.

        The real action is what happened in the real world, not what a dated opinion says might have happened but in fact did not.

        Throughput is up, there are more projects in the works, and revenue to the state is higher than under aces. Only a few people who cannot accept the real action in the real world are still complaining about SB21 and how magical it would all be if we had oil at $110-$130. News flash, if oil were at $110-$130 for the last 4 years the world would be a different place and the budget concerns over that time wouldn’t have been.

      • The only thing relative here is that our Legislature did not protect us during low oil prices. That coupled with giving away the Aces take at higher oil prices meant we got played. It is true that we did get a few bucks more than Aces during those low prices but nothing like what should have taken place.
        Nobody thought we could go that low again and so dropped the ball. Unfortunate but reality.

      • Here is a group of scientists backing Prop 1: a

      • In all the history of TAPS I’ve counted 470 days where oil was above $110, I might be off by a day or two. I would much rather we collect a “good” share at prices lower than $110 and a “good” share above that than to collect, or even pay like we would have under aces, when prices are low but collect a greater share for those 470 days. Other than the extremists who want to shutdown all oil extraction and any development in this state there is nobody talking about getting rid of SB21. Mark Begich hasn’t even talked about getting rid of SB21 because the math favors SB21 over aces. Prices are going up and we have more oil flowing, which brings more revenue to the state. SB21 is working and filling the state coffers.

      • That’s all well and good Steve-O but the fact remains we gave up the big money under Aces (at high oil prices) and didn’t get much when oil prices dropped. It cost us half of our PFDs to make up the difference when oil taxes didn’t pay the bills.
        I don’t think we got a good deal, at all.

      • Bill,

        Aces would have had 365 days above $110, and the last 4+ years below that. We would have made a few more bucks during those 365 days (which we did since all of those 365 days were under aces) and the last 4+ years would have cost us more money if we were under aces.

        The PFD have next to nothing to do with the price of oil, and they have exactly nothing to do with aces or SB21.

        Losing half the PFD had nothing to do with the price of oil and everything to do with political maneuvering. All of the money that wasn’t paid out in PFD went into the PF earnings reserve and none of it was spent to “make up the difference when oil taxes didn’t pay the bills.”

      • Steve-O, I’m not sure what $110 price has to do with your reasoning but here is a look at oil prices:
        Looks to me like a lot more than 365 days, but you can count them.
        Anyway, the money put into earnings reserve has been spent on govt. because the savings accounts have been pretty well tapped out. PFDs suffered because their wasn’t the oil money coming in-you sound like Dunleavy saying he intends to give back the PFD but doesn’t have a clue to where the money is going to come from.
        Call it politics, if you want, but budgets are something that goes beyond politics-they have to balance and with oil dollars disappearing push came to shove and the idea that the PFDs couldn’t be touched was shown to be a myth. Who woulda thunk it?

      • Bill,

        It’s all about reading comprehension, I was responding to Steve Stines comment where he quoted an old opinion piece “assuming per barrel oil prices of $110 to $130”.

        The money taken from the PFD and put into the PF earning reserve cannot be spent on government without a 2/3 or 3/4 vote of the legislature, this has not happened therefore the money taken away from every Alaskan has not been spent on government, it remains in the PF earning reserve.

        The PF comes from royalty money on all mineral leases including oil, which I believe is 12.5% of each and every barrel of oil…some leases may be less depending on whatever deals were made. That money that goes into the PF is, per the state constitution at least 25% of all royalty money the rest goes to the state for unrestricted general fund, or wherever the bureaucracy makes it dissappear. Now that the PF has grown it gets more income from investments than royalty money to the state.

        The PFD is paid out of the PF earning reserve, and calculated by the following calculation:
        1. Add Fund Statutory Net Income from the current plus the previous four fiscal years.
        2. Multiply by 21%
        3. Divide by 2
        4. Subtract prior year obligations, expenses and PFD program operations
        5. Divide by the number of eligible applicants

        Once again, oil prices have almost nothing to do with the PFD.

    • Is it what he said or what he did?Either way typical hypocritical elitist…Do as I say not as I do…

    • Regarding your criteria of “someone that can work with the president and our [Republican] senators [and representative]”. Well, that quickly rules out Begich.

  7. Like I said, this issue will be forgotten when Walker is gone. And as of an hour ago … Walker is gone. All eyes are now on Duleavy and Begich.

  8. Sounds like Walker used this opportunity to slip Val Davidson in as his running mate since he knew he was losing all the rural female votes to Begich….only problem is Davidson has been in the spotlight as Commissioner of Health and Social Sevices of AK.
    Right as we are seeing mental health facilities closing and patients dumped in prisons…
    We are essentially having a mental health crisis in Alaska and Davidson has run the department into the ground.
    If anyone should walk away from the Governors race, it is surely Team Walker….
    Between the PFD garnished, the Mental Health and Crime crises and failed pipeline project….one would have to look hard to find a success in this past administration.

  9. This is all inconsequential to the average person other than how it affects the election.
    Walker is handling the situation as best he can. It up to journalists to dig out the drama.
    With all the crxp we have had to deal with from “independent” Bill Walker and the D’s and of course the three traitorous R’s, the only choice is Dunleavy.
    Let’s send Vince Beltrami and John Henry Heckendorn back to the mobs on the sideline!

    • Who does he think he is?Bent Dick Billy?They piled on an innocent man(Kavanaugh) while Mallot was being a creepy old Perv! Good riddance Byron!We won’t miss you a bit!

  10. Craig,

    Good! Please stay on it! What is Alaska coming to if we only have one actual functioning journalist in the state?

  11. I generally agree with your assessment. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until, one way or another, the beans will be spilled but I don’t think it’s the Governor’s job to play National Enquirer. He did the only thing he can do right now – accept the resignation. Do you really expect lurid detail from the Gov’s office? That’s YOUR job!

    • I have got your identity narrowed down to a small group that are well educated and deeply involved in left-wing politics. Just curious, why do you choose anonymity? Are you not proud of your viewpoints?

      • “I have got your identity narrowed down to a small group that are well educated and deeply involved in left-wing politics.”

        Now that, right there, cracks me up! Yeah, a guy that has two years at a junior college, who voted for Reagan and both Bushes is deeply involved in left wing politics. A guy that was one of the three to first sign on to help Jay Hammond’s campaign… There’s a boogeyman under every sofa and in every loaf of bread for you cats.

        I have never, and never will, use my true identity on ANY web-based comment venue, period. Don’t like it? Then, don’t read.

    • i don’t expect lurid details, Monk; don’t even want them.

      i do expect a governor who promised to be transparent to generally explain what was said and why it was wrong. that doesn’t require lurid details.

      if Byron tried to use his power and influence as lt. governor to solicit sex from a young woman, that’s easy enough to say. and it’s not hard to say this, either:

      “i told him that sort of behavior is not accepted in this administration, and that he needed to resign or that i would go public with what he did. we’ve had a bad history of men with money and power trying to use that to take advantage of young women in the state, and i’mnot going to tolerate that in this administration.”

      is all of this what happened? is it worse or not that bad? hard to tell given the vague comments, though one sort of has to believe there was more than an “inappropriate comment.”

  12. Walker knows his tenure in Juneau is ending. So he will stonewall transparency unril he is gone. And then the issue will go away. It’s amazing the arrogant hypocrisy displayed by Walker and Mallot. Promising transparency, then hiding facts. Speaking out against Kavanaugh, yet being an actual sexual abuser. I don’t like using the word … but I truly hate these two scumbags.

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