October 8, 2008
by Jill Burke
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
WASHINGTON -- The prosecution in Sen. Ted Stevens' corruption case unveiled its most devestating evidence yet on Tuesday.
An incriminating paper trail and taped conversations all point to an attempted cover up of work on Stevens' Gridwood home the senator did not pay for.
Jurors heard conversations secretly recorded by the FBI between former VECO CEO Bill Allen and Bob Persons, a mutual friend of Stevens and Allen, discussing an invoice for boiler repairs containing the words "labor paid by Bill."
The invoice was sent to Stevens, who questioned the notation and alerted Allen that Allen needed to bill him for the labor.
In response, a frustrated and alarmed Allen called persons.
Persons: "Oh s---. I didn't even see this. Oh -- labor paid by Bill (laughs)."
Persons: "Ouch. I didn't see that. I'm sorry."
Allen: (inaudible) "That sucks."
Allen had arranged to pick up the tab, but wanted it kept secret.
So when the secret got out - he and Persons - knew there was a problem.
Persons: "It says labor paid by Bill. Son of a b----. I did -- and I know you didn't want him to know that did you?"
Allen: "Well, that, and I didn't want everybody to know (laughs). You know."
In the conversation, Stevens' friends plan how to prevent the paper trail from becoming a leak they feared might erode Stevens' public image.
Recognizing the paper trail could pose a problem, the men begin to discuss what to do next.
Persons: "Well we don't need this thing floating around."
Persons: "We need to get it from him. We need to get him to, ah -- the guy at --"
Allen: "Yeah --"
Persons: "Chugach Sewer and Drain to make that disappear from his records."
Persons goes a step further.
Persons: "What would be perfect is for this guy at Chugach Sewer to believe that Ted paid for the labor as well. And that him writing on this bill that you had paid it was a mistake."
He continues, suggesting he and Allen should do one more thing to keep their friend safe.
Persons: "Have Ted write you a check for that. You know you don't have to cash it, just have it."
Allen: "Yeah. Yeah."
Persons: "And then if it ever comes up say, Screw you here's the check."
Allen: "That's the thing to do right there."
Persons: "Yeah, yeah."
In the conversations Allen indicates Stevens knew the invoice was a problem, and that Stevens wanted to make sure he and not Allen paid the bill.
But Allen told the court he never sent Stevens an invoice as directed, and that Stevens never followed up on it -- or paid.
Prosecutors are close to finishing their case. The trial resumes Wednesday for a half-day in the morning.
Contact Jill Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org
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