Four years ago, a disgruntled contractor for opponents of a proposed Pebble mine sold insider emails, donor lists, bank records and other information to the Pebble Partnership for $50,000, an arbitrator found -- setting in motion a chain of upheaval in the epic political war over the huge gold and copper prospect.
The fallout is still showing up in court cases from Anchorage to Los Angeles, including:
The contractor, Robert Kaplan, declared personal bankruptcy.
One of Alaska's most prominent political consultants, Art Hackney, who also worked for the mine opponents, said his business took a $1 million hit.
And the man bankrolling the anti-Pebble effort, multimillionaire money manager Bob Gillam, is accusing top players at the Alaska Public Offices Commission of trying to ruin him.
The mine developer, Pebble Ltd. Partnership, used the inside information from Kaplan, a Los Angeles-based professional fundraiser, as the framework for a complaint accusing Gillam of secretly funneling nearly $2 million into a 2008 clean water ballot initiative aimed at stopping the mine project.
With Pebble and mining groups pouring in far more money on the other side, the campaign — at $12.5 million — became the most expensive in Alaska history. The mining interests succeeded in defeating the ballot measure.
Pebble's purchase of information from inside the opposition camp was revealed to mine opponents in 2011, in a California business arbitration case, but only became known to the public last year, when the arbitration decision was filed in a related federal court case in Los Angeles.
Read the full story at the Anchorage Daily News>>