Shannyn Moore: What does School Board have in common with notorious Alaska club? Its newest member

By SHANNYN MOOREMarch 30, 2013 

On Monday, Thomas P. Corkran will be sworn in as a School Board member. He was selected by the Anchorage School Board after four rounds of voting to fill the seat vacated by Gretchen Guess.

The board had boiled the candidates down to two, and selected Corkran over the CEO of Avant-Garde Learning Alliance, Kameron Perez-Verdia. There were 41 applications: why did they pick this guy?

Do our School Board members know how to Google? I'm hoping the answer is no. Why? Because the alternative is spooky.

Mr. Corkran as vice president of Veco was a major financier of the Corrupt Bastards Club. I didn't name them, and I have no knowledge of their parents' marital status, but as Rep. Mike Chenault put it, "Somebody walked up and said, 'You corrupt bastards,' and that name stuck."

Mr. Corkran was a major player at Veco and was left the helm when his boss was busy with trials and prison.

During the Veco trials, Bill Allen explained how he gave "bonuses" to execs including Corkran and had them launder money to "oil friendly" candidates.

As the Anchorage Daily News reported then, "Extra or special bonuses were paid to some Veco executives for political purposes, Allen told the federal agents. Allen said Veco President Pete Leathard, Rick Smith, and himself had a meeting each year to determine which politicians, charities and community events they wanted to support. They mostly supported oil-industry-friendly Republicans, he said. Allen and Smith would review who was up for election and "guesstimate" bonus amounts based on the number of candidates and anticipated contribution amounts, he said.

A select group of executives received the special bonuses: Leathard, Smith, Roger Chan, Tom Corkran and Jamie Slack, Allen said, the summary said."

Between June 1998 and August of 2006, Mr. Corkran personally donated $74,000 to oil friendly candidates. On August 31, 2006, the FBI raided Veco offices in the Corrupt Bastards raid. His $2,000 donation to Republican Mike McGavick, U.S. Senate candidate in Washington state, was returned after the scandal broke.

Mr. Corkran had one donation to a PAC for $100 in 2007. According to reporting agencies he was pretty quiet until December of 2011 when he donated $500 to Natasha von Imhof's School Board campaign. Ms. von Imhof won her seat and was able to lobby for and vote for Mr. Corkran's appointment to the vacant seat. Their relationship wasn't disclosed to the public while Ms. von Imhof waxed poetic about the virtues of Mr. Corkran.

In his application for consideration for the empty seat, Mr. Corkran didn't mention Veco. He wrote much about his experience leading "a world wide company" with more than 5,000 employees. He wrote, "Successfully negotiated all aspects of the sale of one of the largest privately-held company in Alaska in 2007."

Our schools are having tough times. We deserve better than a man who funded political criminals. There isn't one lawmaker who went to jail who didn't take money from Mr. Corkran.

He's not fit to make decisions for our schools and our children.

Shannyn Moore can be heard weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. on KOAN 1020 AM and 95.5 FM radio. Her weekly TV show airs at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays on ABC affiliate KYUR Channel 13.

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