Legislative lease lawsuit shows lawmaker emailed developer

  • Sunday, November 1, 2015 10:41pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An attorney is using emails between a lawmaker and developer in his case against the Legislature’s $4 million lease on renovated Anchorage office space.

Emails show the lawmaker who the “Taj Mahawker” is named for used his personal email account to communicate with the developer on making the lease comply with state law.

Anchorage Republican Rep. Mike Hawker declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Attorney Jim Gottstein filed his lawsuit over the legality of the no-bid lease extension and damage he says was caused to a building he owns during the Legislative office’s renovation.

“The project was obviously illegal from the very beginning,” he said.

Jeffrey Robinson is an attorney for the developers. He said in a statement that Gottstein should be barred from trying to “shamelessly (and publicly) mischaracterize the facts” in the case.

“To selectively distribute and mischaracterize information, including the emails Mr. Gottstein routinely publishes, has all the appearance of a partisan political agenda, but does nothing to contribute to an honest resolution of a legal dispute,” the statement said.

Hawker’s emails to Pfeffer were included in 8,000 pages provided to Gottstein during the lawsuit’s discovery phase.

Gottstein is using the documents to challenge an attempt to block his punitive damages claim and to argue for a whistleblower award if the lease is invalidated.

Court filings from the company and Legislature say Gottstein has “literally no legal support for this novel claim.”

The whistleblower fee could be as much as $2 million.

What had been a $680,000 lease jumped to $4 million after the renovation. Court documents show Hawker emailed developer Mark Pfeffer, saying he saw nothing the Legislature’s chief lawyer, Doug Gardner, or another state official “can do now to derail this.”

In response to emails related to Gardner’s concerns, Hawker said, “Crap. I need to get back and deal with him again. Double crap. I hate lawyers.”

Regarding revisions to the draft lease, Hawker emailed,

“I apologize for the obstructionist on my side of the table.”

More in News

Wood is piled near the entrance to Centennial Park on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Federal grants for wood projects accepting applications

The Wood Innovations Grant Program seeks to fund expansion of wood use projects

Kenai Peninsula Borough mayoral candidate Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings addresses the KPBSD Board of Education on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Mayoral candidates reiterate commitment to school funding

Dave Carey, Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings, Zach Hamilton and Peter Micciche spoke to KPBSD Board of Education members

The Kenai Public Health Center is seen on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Report: Alaska makes progress, falls short on 2030 health goals

Healthy Alaskans 2030 tracks 30 health objectives related to a variety of health factors

The Homer Spit stretching into Kachemak Bay is seen here on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homer woman indicted over seaplane incident

Marian Tillion Beck was indicted on charges of negligent operation of a vessel and attempted interference with the navigation of a sea plane

Soldotna High School can be seen in this Sept. 2, 2021, photo, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Little Sweethearts’ family dance to debut at SoHi

The event will be hosted by SoHi’s freshmen student council

Soldotna City Council members interview city manager applicant Elke Doom (on screen) during a special city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Doom, Bower named finalists for Soldotna manager gig

The two will visit Soldotna for in-person meetings on Feb. 7 and 13, respectively

The northern fur seal rescued by Alaska SeaLife Center staff is seen on Jan. 31, 2023, at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kaiti Grant/Alaska SeaLife Center)
Northern fur seal pup admitted to SeaLife Center rescue program

The pup was reported by Sitka residents using the center’s 24-hour stranding hotline

The Kenai Community Library children’s section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Literary competition returns to local schools

Battle of the Books aims to instill in kids a love of reading

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Climate activists hold a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol Friday afternoon in advocacy for legislative action to improve Alaska’s renewable energy development and future sustainability.
Climate activists hold rally near the Capitol

Statewide organizations advocate for legislative action

Most Read