Crime & Courts

Ex-Veco head Allen served notice of lawsuit through classified ads, online postings

Nearly a year has passed since former Veco boss Bill Allen was sued by a woman claiming to be his teen-sex victim, but her lawyers have been unable to proceed with the case because they can't find him.

They've tried serving papers against Allen in Colorado, New Mexico and Washington state, all places where Allen's three children live. Allen served out his federal probation on bribery and tax charges in New Mexico, the state of his birth and where his son Mark has a horse ranch.

But Allen was released from probation Dec. 1, 2014, and no longer has to report his address to federal officials.

More time was wasted when the lawyers thought they had served him in Alaska, only to discover the papers were accepted by another Bill Allen, the former Fairbanks borough mayor and retired Palmer city manager who has been frequently confused with the Veco Bill Allen.

Now the lawyers for Paula Roberds, who said she met Bill Allen in 1999 walking a street in Spenard as a 15-year-old prostitute, have gotten a judge's permission to "serve" Allen through classified newspaper ads and notices on the Alaska Court System website.

The legal maneuvering comes after Anchorage Superior Court Judge Erin Marston granted Roberds' request to make Allen aware of the lawsuit through untraditional means.

The process began April 4, when the first of four required classified ads was published. Allen's attorney, Paul Stockler, has also received the paperwork, according to court documents.

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Allen's alleged relationship with Roberds surfaced in media accounts in 2008, and federal prosecutors said they were considering sex charges two years later. He faced accusations that he had sex with multiple underage girls. Roberds' case came closest to being prosecuted.

Top officials in the U.S. Department of Justice vetoed the sex charges against Allen in 2010, without explaining why to Roberds or Anchorage detectives.

Allen was the central witness in public corruption trials that followed his guilty plea on bribery charges in 2007. Some defense attorneys of the indicted public officials questioned whether federal authorities secured Allen's cooperation by promising to not prosecute him on sex charges, but federal prosecutors denied there was a connection.

According to Roberds' civil complaint filed May 2014, Allen is accused of sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, and inflicting emotional distress. The lawsuit says that Allen's "willful, wanton, reckless" behavior justifies an award of punitive damages "in an appropriate amount to chill and deter such conduct in the future ..."

Roberds seeks more than $100,000 in compensation, the complaint says.

"Based upon the police reports and my conversations with my client, which are confidential, we filed a complaint as to Bill Allen having sex with a minor child," attorney Phillip Weidner said last week. "We're confident we'll bring him to justice."

The complaint says Allen used money and gifts to keep Roberds "quiet and dependent" on him and to maintain her loyalty. It also accuses Allen of giving Roberds' mother gifts, including alcohol.

Stockler said he would vigorously defend Allen but declined to comment further.

An email in the court file dated July 28, 2014, between the law offices alludes to Allen refusing to engage in settlement talks, and Weidner wrote the complaint was filed due to that unwillingness. Weidner declined to detail the negotiations.

Stockler said he wasn't authorized to accept service of the complaint against Allen. He said it is common practice for his clients, many of whom are health insurance companies, to refuse service through his office.

"It's unfortunate that we were not able to affect simple service on Mr. Allen, notwithstanding our efforts to do so in Alaska and the Lower 48 where we believed he lived," Weidner said. "But we have now been allowed to serve him by publication, and if he doesn't answer the complaint, we're going to seek a default (judgment)."

Alaska law requires the legal notices be published for four weeks in a row. Stockler said he will have 20 days to respond to the complaint after the final notice on April 25.

Weidner said if Allen answers the complaint, he intends to question Allen under oath "about the allegations of him having repeated sex with a minor child." Unlike in a criminal case, where a defendant can't be compelled to testify, a defendant in a civil case can be required to take the stand or appear at a deposition.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.

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