Click here to read the February, 2004, letter Mayor Mark Begich sent to the planning and zoning commission, regarding the Midtown site developers Jon Rubini and Leonard Hyde sold to the feds.
I talked to Begich for nearly an hour and a half tonight about the land rezone and his battle on the airwaves today with Ray Metcalfe. (Begich hit four radio shows today, and plans to be on Eddie Burke’s show tomorrow.)
Too much to summarize quickly, but we talked about the history of the rezone, the history of his business ties to developers Jon Rubini and Leonard Hyde, his failure to report the relationship on one of his disclosure reports, and what it all means.
One thing he said, which I hadn’t heard before, was Rubini and Hyde gave him his stake in the Calais buildings as part of his payment for acting as their real estate agent in their purchase of the downtown land that eventually became the National Park Service building.
Begich said his commission was $22,500, but that it was low because he “negotiated down” to make the deal happen.
So the developers threw in the share of the Midtown Calais buildings, Begich said. He said that stake was worth about $25,000 at the time.
Begich sold his share of the buildings in 2006 for a gross of about $52,000. (Net was maybe $20,000, which he described as about 4 percent of his family income last year.)
He talked about how his business ties to Rubini and Hyde formed when he was out of office, after the Assembly and before becoming mayor. I asked if he should have got rid of the Calais investment when elected, or recuse himself from any issue where Rubini and Hyde are looking to deal with the city.
He says no.
“I don’t believe I have a conflict.”
If you’ve got time and are really interested in who the factions were when this rezone started to play out, the minutes of the Assembly meeting where it came to a head are a good read. Click here.