Thursday, May 15, 2008

Incarcerated Former Alaska Lawmakers Tom Anderson And Pete Kott Speak Out From Behind Bars; Anderson Penitent, Kott Defiant

Former Alaska state legislators Tom Anderson and Pete Kott, convicted of various crimes associated with the Alaska political scandals and serving federal time at the Sheridan Correctional Facility in Oregon, are speaking out for the first time since going to prison. Previous posts on the Pete Kott case HERE, previous posts on the Tom Anderson case HERE. Report aired May 14th, 2008 by KTUU Channel 2.

Both were sent to the same correctional facility in Oregon, because it is the closest Federal prison to Alaska. Both are concerned about their families. Both were disappointed in their respective trials' outcome.

But the two are reacting differently. While Tom Anderson appears penitent and has fully accepted the judgement rendered by a jury of his peers, Pete Kott remains somewhat defiant, continuing to assert his innocence. Anderson has actually reached out to his fellow inmates, helping them pass their high school equivalency test, and coaching others on jobs, education and communication skills. Kott has disclosed no such attempts on his part.

Tom Anderson was convicted on seven counts of conspiracy and bribery on July 9th, 2007. On October 15th, he was sentenced to five years in prison. Pete Kott was convicted of bribery, extortion and conspiracy, but acquitted of wire fraud on September 24th, 2007. On December 7th (what an auspicious day), he was sentenced to six years in prison.

KTUU also has posted PDF copies of Anderson's letter and Kott's letter on their website. Fortunately, both individuals are receiving strong support from their families. Anderson's wife, State Senator Lesil McGuire, had this to say: "We're going to learn how to write letters, and we're going to visit each other, and it's going to be very hard. It's one of the most awful things you could ever imagine".

And that's more support than former state representative Vic Kohring is getting. Having just recently been sentenced to 3 1/2 years for his crimes in the VECO scandal, he's spent virtually all of his money on his defense, his Russian-born wife Tatiana filed for divorce in March 2008, and his lawyer, John Henry Browne, will no longer be representing him because Browne, according to his own words, cannot afford to represent Kohring for free. Kohring may be the most tragic figure of all.

In retrospect, before the scandals, Tom Anderson was a superficial yuppie, and Pete Kott came across as a hustler. Many people criticized them after their convictions, but most people didn't seem very surprised. However, Vic Kohring was different. He was neither a yuppie nor a hustler. He actually cared about the constituency and the job. He was known to stop into the Wasilla Senior Center regularly just to talk with people. He was an ordinary guy. And so when he fell, many people took it quite personally, and he received the most vitriolic criticism because of it. Kohring deserves to be held accountable, but he doesn't deserve to have lost his wife and his fortune as a result. His wife Tatiana isn't merely asking for a divorce, but, just like a typical Russian emigre golddigger, is asking for alimony, despite knowing full well that Kohring can't pay. What a vindictive bitch.

No comments:

Post a Comment