Community Development Quota entities also affect Kodiak fisheries

Fishermen all over America wonder about the special fishing rights given to the Western Alaska near shore villages, about 65 of them by name, in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. That was one of Ted’s biggest blunders. Now, at least one member of a regional fish council appears to be helping corrupt public elections.

 It’s a mess few understand, but with hundreds of millions a year at stake, and advantages that normal competitors cannot match when it comes to markets for quota catch shares. Tim Smith of Nome is asking for greater transparency and accountability. Here’s his latest piece, which he hoped to get in the Gulf of Alaska Kodiak Daily Mirror, edited just for you.

Community Development Quota entities also affect Kodiak fisheries:

It’s time to elect a Nome representative to our only seat on the local non-profit Community Development Quota’s (CDQ) — known as the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation’s (NSEDC) — board of directors, like we do every three years. And once again, the election is marred by fraud and deception.

These CDQ and fishing company investment problems should be of high concern to Kodiak as well as to other USA fishermen who might like a chance in the waters of Alaska. Bycatch policy is also affected by conflicts-of-interest of Western Alaska influences on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC), especially regarding trawl bycatch management. There are additional effects of the non-profit CDQ entities on prices of quota sold on the open market, creating barriers to entry, and about comparable economics — like competition, not closed fisheries.

Worst of all may be that a CDQ can hide a for-profit fish corporation under its non-profit wing. And Alaska’s former commissioner of Fish and Game, Cora Campbell, recently came aboard NSEDC as their new CEO. Revolving door style.

This is not the first time NSEDC has cheated on elections. Following the botched 2006 election, which was thrown out for similar misconduct, the Nome City Attorney, in a letter to the City Clerk wrote, “The City does not even now have in its possession a copy of the NSEDC bylaws. Even if it were inclined to issue an opinion as to candidate qualifications for example (and I do not recommend it-do so), the City does not have what is probably the single most important resource available to it to make any educated determination as to eligibility or qualifications of a candidate.”

This is getting tedious.

Multinational corporate interference & conflicts of interest:

Siu Alaska (pronounced ‘see-you’) Corporation is a wholly owned, for-profit NSEDC subsidiary.

According to former Siu Alaska President John Eckels, “The purpose of Siu is to earn profits and return dividends to NSEDC for its non-profit activities.” Although it reported 2014 revenues 2/3 as large as NSEDCs, Siu Alaska has never paid dividends to NSEDC. What it does with the money it gets from NSEDC.

What it does with the money it gets from NSEDC is confidential. Why is that information private you might ask? That’s a very good question.

NSEDC board members get paid pretty well but an NSEDC board member who is also a Siu Alaska board member is in a position to make a lot of money under the table. That’s because all of the financial details for Siu Alaska are kept secret, even from the City of Nome and from the NSEDC board.

I want to know about their revenues too and if Siu Alaska’s chairman, Don Stiles wants to be reelected October 6 to sit in Nome’s only seat on the NSEDC board, he should tell the voters before we go to the polls.

The Nome Common Council requested audited financial statements for NSEDC and Siu Alaska at its regular meeting on August 24. Three weeks later, at the September 14 meeting, I informed the City council that NSEDC did not honor its request. Instead they sent pages 33-38 of the glossy public relations annual report we all got in the mail.

The council resubmitted its request. Another week has passed, I checked with City Hall and NSEDC still has not responded. By the time this letter is in the paper, the election will be 12 days away. That’s not much time to get the information to the public.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, after an exhaustive appeals process, found that Simon Kineen had a personal financial conflict of interest that disqualified him from voting on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council regarding halibut bycatch issues that come before that body. Simon is paid by the multinationally owned, for-profit commercial trawl industry that kills halibut, salmon and crab as bycatch.

Simon Kineen also receives a salary from the tax exempt nonprofit NSEDC that is responsible for protecting Norton Sound communities and local fishermen. He does not represent NSEDC on the Council. He holds a state of Alaska governor-endorsed seat approved by the Secretary of Commerce.

Kineen was required to disclose his personal financial conflicts of interest before sitting on the NPFMC and NOAA found they were substantial.

Don Stiles is board chairman at SIU, a for-profit corporation that operates bottom trawlers. The interests of Norton Sound residents don’t coincide with those of the industrial trawlers on issues such as subsistence, bycatch and habitat destruction. Voters have no way of knowing how much Stiles is being paid through Siu Alaska and he should voluntarily disclose his conflicts of interest prior to the election, the same as someone running for mayor or city council or a seat on the NPFMC.

On paper, Siu Alaska is worth $85 million. That’s too much money for there to be no accountability.

Election Filing Date Manipulation:

But wait, that’s not all. I went to City Hall last Tuesday to pick up an NSEDC candidacy declaration form. The deadline for filing, advertised in three consecutive issues of the Nome Nugget, was 5:00 P.M. that afternoon. Imagine my surprise when the City Manager told me the filing deadline for NSEDC had passed unnoticed eleven days earlier and I was too late to get on the ballot.

The City of Nome advertised the NSEDC election but didn’t advertise that it had an earlier filing deadline. In fact, the City’s ad said the following, “Concurrently with the municipal election, the City Clerk shall conduct the election of the community’s NSEDC Member Representative in accordance with the City’s election ordinances,” The NSEDC election is not being conducted in accordance with Nome’s election ordinances and the ads are false and misleading.

Teller is also holding an election for its representative on the NSEDC board this year. The City of Teller and Teller’s NSEDC director, Joe Garnie didn’t know about the filing deadline switcheroo. If he hadn’t gotten a personal call from Janis Ivanoff shortly before the deadline, there would have been nobody running from Teller because everybody else missed it too.

After they told me I was too late to qualify as a candidate, I checked with the City Clerk and unsurprisingly, nine years later, during another botched NSEDC election, the City of Nome still does not have a copy of the NSEDC bylaws the City needs to administer the election. The voters do not have the financial disclosure information they need before making their choice at the polls.

The 2014 annual report says NSEDC is worth $252,429,241. That’s a lot of money to for an impoverished area like this. We need better representation on the board of directors than what we have had.


Tim Smith

A similar article ran on Sept. 23, covering the Opinion pages, by Tim Smith and should soon be available at .