Coffey tries to spin his past, but the record testifies against him

Anchorage mayoral candidate Dan Coffey has a problem -- a big problem. I'm not sure if it's a medical issue that has affected his memory of events over the last decade or so, or if it's just way easier for him to pretend some of the things he's done or said didn't happen. Shall we climb into the not-so-way-back machine? Oh, it was an exciting time, and I was in the middle of it. We're only going back to 2008 -- for now.

There was this wonderful character named Alan Tesche. He was an assemblyman and used to get on the radio for something called The Tesche Report. There was no love lost between Tesche and fellow assemblymen Dan Coffey and Bill Starr. That's a really kind way to say they couldn't stand each other.

When Tesche came home to an answering machine with an accidentally recorded conversation between Mr. Coffey and Mr. Starr, it almost seemed too good to be true. Was it real? The tape had to be authenticated, and once it was, legal advice said it was the property of Mr. Tesche.

We played it on the radio. We had to bleep out their potty mouths, but the message was quite clear. There was a "pay to play" policy for the police to get their training facility -- and a lewd suggestion of what they could do to themselves in the mudflats. Dan Coffey was the man holding the purse strings for other Assembly candidates. His connections to campaign contributors gave him a special edge with his colleagues. In his own words on the tape he said, "I'm going to be able to (say) hey, you didn't vote right last week. You don't get your second $250." Gee -- think they voted with him 100 percent of the time?

Flash forward to today. Now, Dan Coffey -- who put up a transcript of that conversation on his own website -- is threatening to sue Alaska media for playing that conversation, which he doesn't own. His lawyer says Mr. Coffey will "pursue all available remedies against you, both civil and criminal, if you disregard this request."

Blow it out your hat, Dan. That tape has been in the public sphere since KUDO aired it in 2008. You did nothing then because you couldn't. Now you're trying to bully the media. Genius move, mister.

Coffey's explanation is that he was trying to be funny and he's sorry for using naughty words. A few of those words (like that particular activity on the mudflats) could be used to accurately describe what's going to happen to the city if he's elected mayor. And I don't apologize for saying so.


I don't know about you, dear reader, but I'm guessing you're trying to remember some other things about Dan Coffey. Let's hop back into the not-so-way-back machine!

In 2005, a man named Joe Boehm was being sentenced for drug and sex trafficking charges. Boehm was the Anchorage businessman who started the Alaska Industrial Hardware chain ... and also organized a sex ring out of his home that involved more than a dozen girls between the ages of 13 and 19. If you're like me, you frown upon that sort of thing, and don't have much sympathy for a businessman jacked up on crack, having sex with underage girls addicted to the drugs that he is providing.

Not Dan Coffey. Nope. He wrote a letter to Judge Jack Sedwick in support of his friend the crackhead, sexual predator. He didn't just support Mr. Boehm, he appeared to blame the victims.

From Coffey's letter: "I also urge you to consider those who preyed on Joe during the course of his addiction. Look at those who are now blaming Joe for all the bad things that happened to them. If you do, I doubt you will find that any of them have made any contributions to our community. Joe has. He built a company which employs hundreds. These people who now point fingers at Joe, have never built anything. They were vultures who saw Joe's addiction as a way to get to his wealth and they were all over him with their drugs and the other inducements."

Mr. Coffey addressed this letter on his campaign website. He claims he was referring to co-defendants of Mr. Boehm and not the victims.

First, Boehm plead guilty and paid $1.2 million "to his child victims for rehabilitation, counseling and education" because they are the ones who testified their lives were ruined. You know why? Because it's hard to be a contributing member of society when you're a kid, and an adult man has been pumping you full of drugs and having sex with you.

Second, being a job creator shouldn't give you a sentencing break after you've plead guilty to conspiring to provide over 50 grams of crack cocaine to underage girls in exchange for sexual favors, or admitting to conspiracy of sex trafficking of children. Why does Mr. Coffey bring up Mr. Boehm's job creation to a judge when he pleads for leniency for his friend? Does Mr. Coffey write letters to judges begging for shorter sentences for sex trafficking crackheads who haven't created jobs?

Third, Mr. Coffey states on his website, "In sentencing Boehm, the judge relied on a detailed sentencing report, on testimony and on letters such as mine. He found that, at times, but not always, Boehm was incapable of leadership due to his addiction. Thus, the judge's sentencing of Boehm reflected, in part, what I had written in my letter."

Really? The prosecution asked for 11 years. The defense asked for four. The judge sentenced Mr. Boehm to 11 years and three months, the maximum allowed in his plea agreement. With friends like Mr. Coffey, who needs enemies? It would seem the judge wasn't swayed by "go easy on my friend" letters from Coffey or anyone else.

Dan Coffey is trying to rewrite his past, but he forgets that some of us have been watching all along.

Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com

Shannyn Moore

Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster. You can hear her show, "The Last Word," Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. on KOAN 95.5 FM and 1080 AM and 1480 We Act Radio in Washington, D.C., and on Netroots Radio.The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.