Testimony: Sen. Stevens' Son Took Bribes

The Associated Press
Thursday, September 13, 2007; 11:06 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The former head of an oil field service company admitted Thursday in court that he bribed three Alaska legislators, including the son of a U.S. senator who is the target of a federal investigation.

Former VECO Corp. CEO Bill Allen, 70, testified Thursday in the federal corruption trial of former state House Speaker Pete Kott. Allen and a former company vice president, Rick Smith, have pleaded guilty to bribing lawmakers, and await sentencing.

Allen said he bribed Kott, former state Senate President Ben Stevens and former Rep. Vic Kohring. He also testified that he recruited Stevens in 1995 for work on behalf of VECO, well before Stevens was appointed to the state Senate in 2002, and that Stevens maintained a consulting contract with the company through 2006.

Stevens, the son of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, is under federal investigation but has not been charged.

"Mr. Stevens has consistently said he's not engaged in any of the illegal activity that is alleged by Mr. Allen. He denies it," John Wolfe, Stevens' attorney, told The Associated Press.

The FBI also is investigating remodeling done to the elder Stevens' home in Girdwood. According to at least one contractor, invoices were first sent to VECO. Ted Stevens has said he paid all bills on the home that he received.

Kohring faces trial next month. Allen did not mention another lawmaker facing bribery charges, Bruce Weyhrauch.

Allen also testified he agreed to cooperate in the corruption investigation of Alaska lawmakers after the FBI promised that his three adult children would not be indicted.

Kott, whose trial began Monday, is charged with doing the bidding of VECO in exchange for money and the promise of a job.

He is accused of turning in a $7,993 invoice, purportedly for flooring work done on Allen's home, when in fact the money was used to hire his son as his re-election campaign manager.

The former speaker is accused of taking a check for $1,000 as reimbursement for a campaign donation in the same amount to former Gov. Frank Murkowski. Kott also is accused of accepting a political poll in his re-election bid paid for by VECO.

Kott is charged with conspiracy to solicit financial benefits for his service as a legislator, extortion "under color of official right," bribery and wire fraud, which involved improperly discussing legislative business by phone.

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