Management at the Calista Native Corporation remains in limbo, with no word from the Calista board about the fate of its president and CEO, Andrew Guy.
Since mid-July, Guy’s status has been unclear. But documents sent to Channel 2 from an anonymous source may shed more light on divisions within the Calista board. They include resolutions that appear to have been on the board’s agenda last week. They deal with Guy being put on administrative leave and the hiring of a law firm to conduct an independent investigation into allegations made against Guy.
Calista officials would not verify the authenticity of the documents, nor would they say whether the board had passed any of the resolutions.
One of those would pay the secretary of the board, Felix Hess, an annual salary of a $100,000 to represent the board in the investigation and matters involving Guy’s administrative leave.
Hess said he could not say whether or not he’s on the corporation’s payroll, because no board decision is official until the minutes are approved and that hasn’t been done yet.
Hess did confirm that Guy is on administrative leave.
Thom Leonard, Calista’s communications director says the corporation is being run by its executive team – and that in Guy’s absence, the corporation is running smoothly.
Calista has long been the dark horse of Alaska Native corporations. It represents more than 13,000 shareholders, and many of those live in one of the most economically disadvantaged regions of rural Alaska, where jobs are scarce and the cost of food and fuel is at least double what people in Anchorage pay.
Calista has struggled for most of its history, but has recently enjoyed success in government contracting and developing the Donlin Gold project.
Since Calista was created, it’s only paid dividends seven times, and five of those distributions came in the last five years.
“Calista is doing very well from every business point,” says Leonard. “We are expanding the revenue base beyond government contracting.”
Several Native leaders from the Calista region, who spoke with Channel 2 on the condition of anonymity, say they’re puzzled by these recent developments, because Andrew Guy has a reputation for integrity and honesty. They also wonder if Guy ran into trouble with some board members, because he may have pushed for more accountability.
They say Guy's troubles may stem from advice he gave to the board over endorsing a slate of candidates for proxy voting -- which resulted in postponing the annual shareholder meeting, scheduled to be held in Goodnews Bay in June, but is now set for November.
Guy’s attorney, Howard Trickey, says his client welcomes an investigation and will cooperate fully.
“He’s not done anything wrong,” said Trickey, “but he’s done his job for the shareholders of the corporation.”
Guy served for years as Calista’s general counsel. He was promoted to president last year when his predecessor, Matthew Nicolai, was let go, after a female executive filed a sexual harassment suit against him.
Many shareholders have credited Nicolai’s leadership for turning the corporation around.
Rumors have been circulating since Guy was placed on administrative leave, that there’s a faction on the board that wants to bring Nicolai back to the corporation.