Alaska corruption figure sought on child sex charge in Florida

Richard Mauer

Former Alaska halfway house mogul Bill Weimar, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and financial wrongdoing in Alaska's political corruption scandal, is being sought by Florida authorities on a charge of child sexual battery.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, an arrest warrant was issued for Weimar, 70, on Monday.

The alleged victim was under 12 years old, according to warrant information posted on the sheriff's website.

The sheriff's office gave Weimar's last known address as a boat slip at the prestigious Marina Jack's in Sarasota harbor.

A spokesman for the Sarasota Police Department, Capt. Paul Sutton, said Friday that reports of Weimar living on a boat in a marina turned out to not be true. A man answering the phone at the dockmaster's office at Marina Jack's said a cabin cruiser was docked at the slip referred to in the warrant but that it wasn't a residence.

"We don't allow live-aboards here," he said.

He said he didn't know whether Weimar was renting the slip.

The website of Crimestoppers of Sarasota County posted a wanted picture of Weimar and gave his date of birth as identical to the former Alaskan's.

Sutton said the case against Weimar was being investigated by a detective in the sheriff's office. Reached after work on her cell phone, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office said she couldn't get any information about the case after hours.

A friend of Weimar in Alaska, attorney Jon Buchholdt, said Weimar lived on the west coast of Florida but he didn't know the town. Buchholdt said he knew nothing about the accusations and hadn't spoken to Weimar recently.

The Seattle attorney who represented Weimar in his federal criminal case in Alaska, David Bukey, said he also knew nothing about the Sarasota allegations.

Weimar was once the principal owner of the Allvest Corp., which had a chain of halfway houses around Alaska that contracted with the Alaska Department of Corrections to house state prisoners, usually six months before their terms were up. Allvest also had a drug and alcohol testing facility.

He sold the halfway house business to the national private prison company Cornell Corrections Inc. He later partnered with Cornell and the oil-field service company Veco in an effort to persuade the Legislature and some Alaska communities to build a large private prison in Alaska.

But that effort was mingled with corruption. A legislative candidate's complaint to the FBI that Weimar tried to hand him an envelope stuffed with cash became one of the impetuses in 2004 for "Polar Pen," the investigation that eventually resulted in indictments or guilty pleas of six legislators and U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. One case is still pending. The rest were convicted, though Stevens' case was later thrown out over prosecutorial misconduct.

Though Weimar was one of the first targets of the investigation, he wasn't charged until 2008. He pleaded guilty to two felony corruption counts and was sentenced to six months in prison and another six months of home confinement. He was just released from probation Dec. 3.

Weimar had retired to an expansive gated compound on a mountainside overlooking Flathead Lake in Montana. Around the time he entered prison in Tucson, he put the place up for sale for more than $5 million.

Find Richard Mauer online at adn.com/contact/rmauer or call 257-4345.


By RICHARD MAUER
rmauer@adn.com
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