Monday, February 11, 2008

Former Fairbanks Mayor And UA Regent Jim Hayes Convicted Of Multiple Corruption Charges In Federal Court

Update: On May 2nd, 2008, a federal judge sentenced Jim Hayes to 5 1/2 years and Chris Hayes to 3 years imprisonment. They have been directed to report to prison within six weeks. Stories by the Anchorage Daily News and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

After a two-and-a-half week trial, former Fairbanks Mayor and University of Alaska Regent Jim Hayes (pictured at left) has been found guilty of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants sent to a social services agency. The jury returned its verdict on February 11th, 2008. Full story published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Anchorage Daily News and aired on KIMO Channel 13 Anchorage and KTUU Channel 2 Anchorage and KTVF Channel 11 Fairbanks.

This case has been previously covered on this blog. Click HERE to review all previous posts.

Click HERE to view 28-page indictment in PDF format.

Hayes, originally indicted along with his wife Chris on January 17th, 2007, was convicted on 16 different charges relating to conspiracy, theft, fraud, misapplication of federal funds, and money laundering, and failing to file tax returns. The jury acquitted him on four other charges, and hung on seven additional charges.

Hayes, the former three-term city mayor, now stands convicted of the government’s claims he helped funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to help finish a new $2 million home for the Lily of the Valley Church of God in Christ, where he serves as pastor, and for personal spending. The money was issued to the LOVE Social Services tutoring and mentoring center, which was run by his wife in South Fairbanks. Hayes helped found the center, along with others, including his daughter and nephew.

LOVE Social Services received nearly $3 million in grants combined from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Justice beginning in 2001, largely at the urging of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who secured the money in five installments through the congressional earmarking process. There has been no reaction from Stevens yet on this verdict. [Ed. Note: Since Hayes had no prior criminal record, there was no reason for Senator Stevens not to have attempted to secure the grant for Hayes. In addition, as Senator Stevens pointed out before, once the grant is disbursed, Congress has no responsibility to track it to ensure it's used lawfully.]

LOVE Social Services received nearly $3 million in government grants.

Hayes' wife, Murilda "Chris" Hayes, pleaded guilty on December 5th, 2007 to reduced charges of misusing federal grant funds and money laundering. She originally had faced 92 different related charges. She still faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, but was not required to testify against her husband as part of the deal. She was not in the courtroom today.

Hayes was allowed to remain free, on certain conditions, until his sentencing, which is scheduled for May 2nd.

Thus ends a legal saga stretching back 13 months, during which time Hayes desperately tried to hang on to his position as a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents. Only after repeated entreaties by Governor Sarah Palin and the threat of action against him by the Alaska State Legislature did he reluctantly agree to resign on April 27th, 2007. To their credit, the NAACP never uttered a peep of support for this guy during the entire saga.

A series of YouTube videos detailing coverage of the trial by KXD Channel 13 (no active website) in Fairbanks are available. I'm not embedding them here, but I'll post the links: (January 22nd) (January 23rd) (January 24th) (January 25th) (January 28th) (February 4th, Hayes took the stand in his own defense, and, in the words of one Fairbanks pundit, "threw his wife under the bus") (February 5th, closing arguments by both sides, case goes to jury)

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website was recently redesigned and their archives may not be completely available. Click HERE for archived stories about the case from the Anchorage Daily News.

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