From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
The North Slope Borough has given at least $500,000 to the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission every year since 2005.
During much of that time, the former directors of the commission were stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the organization, according to federal indictments.
This week, the Assembly president sent the following announcement to reporters saying the Assembly is confident its money is being "appropriately managed and reported" despite the charges against former commission director Maggie Ahmaogak.
Ahmaogak's successor, Teresa Judkins, was indicted in June. She also is accused of stealing from the organization and was fired in 2008.
Here's the Borough Assembly's statement:
Statement on behalf of the North Slope Borough Assembly from Assembly President Eugene Brower:
The Assembly heard a detailed report from the administration on AEWC activities under the Borough grant agreement. The Assembly also heard from the AEWC Chair and the CPA for AEWC. AEWC is being transparent with the Borough about its finances and the Assembly is confident in their present capacity.
While there was a period without annual audits at AEWC, the Borough now requires annual audits under its grant agreement. AEWC has completed an audit for 2009, is expecting the completion of the 2010 audit within the month and the completion of the 2011 audit before the end of the calendar year.
The Assembly is persuaded that present management of this critical organization is meeting the audit requirement of the Borough’s grant agreement and is compliant with generally accepted accounting principles.
Whatever the outcomes of the present criminal cases regarding th e management of federal money AEWC received in the past, the Assembly has confidence in the present management of AEWC and confidence that Borough funding of the organization is being appropriately managed and reported.