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Government Good to Stevens’ Friends

Although he had a relatively modest 7 percent stake in the company, the investment would prove propitious to Stevens, who at the time was one of the few dozen or so Senators who did not count his personal wealth in the millions. According to a Dec. 17, 2003, Los Angeles Times article, by 2000 Stevens’ stake in JLS Properties had grown in value to some $250,000, and Stevens invested in several other of Hyde and Rubini’s land projects, including their Centerpoint development project in Anchorage. By 2003, according to his financial records, Stevens’ investments with the two had turned him into a millionaire.

In addition to the land deals, Stevens and Hyde also are co-owners of a racehorse through Alaska’s Great Eagle LLC, a company that includes many of Alaska’s most powerful businessmen, including Ed Rasmussen and former VECO executive Bill Allen.

Allen earlier this year pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy, bribery and other corruption charges stemming from the FBI’s inquiry into state lawmakers, including Stevens’ son, Ben Stevens.

The majority of federal funding that has made its way to Hyde and Rubini does not appear to be the result of either an earmark or direct involvement in the contract process by Stevens.

For instance, according to the most recent federal payment records compiled by FedSpending.org, from the beginning of 2005 to July 2006 the General Services Administration paid Centerpoint Financial Center LLC — one of Hyde and Rubini’s companies — $936,586 for office space leased to the Department of Interior. The offices are in the Centerpoint building — built on land that Stevens had invested in, although the lawmaker appears to have divested his interest in the property at the end of 2004, according to his financial statements. He also sold his stake in JLS Properties that year.

Similarly, starting in fiscal 2003, Hyde and Rubini have had a long-term lease agreement with the National Park Service for its new office building in Anchorage. Operating through their 5th Avenue Development LLC company, Hyde and Rubini have received more than $7 million in rental payments from the federal government.

Hyde and Rubini also have leased an apartment to the Department of Interior, although those payments appear to total less than $10,000.

In several instances, Stevens has been directly involved in projects that ultimately have ended up benefiting his business partners. In the 2003 Los Angeles Times story, Stevens acknowledged lobbying the Air Force to award a multimillion-dollar housing contract to Hyde and Rubini.

The Archives Project

Stevens, in that same period of time, was taking a lead role in setting aside funding for a NARA facility expansion project in Anchorage that would eventually net his partners millions in federal funds.

According to a review of federal, state and local records and interviews with Hyde and federal officials, the project in Anchorage resulted in the two developers netting $2 million in profits from the sale of land they had purchased weeks before Stevens inserted the first earmark into an appropriations bill in 2002.

The money for the purchase, according to Stevens’ office, came from two earmarks worth $6 million that Stevens had included in funding bills in 2002 and 2003.

NARA’s 2004 decision to purchase the land from Eagle River Center LLC, a company owned by Rubini and Hyde, was the high- water mark of federal spending on the new archives project.

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