SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Stevens failed to report compensation from energy firm


May 01, 2006

WASHINGTON - Semco Energy, the corporation that owns Alaska's largest natural gas utility, is paying state Senate President Ben Stevens more than $70,000 a year in cash and stock to sit on its board of directors, according to the company's reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission.



You wouldn't know that the Michigan-based company - operating in Alaska as Enstar - has paid Stevens a dime by looking at the financial disclosure report Stevens filed in March with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. State law requires legislators to list all sources of income paying more than $5,000 during the previous year. Stevens reported that he serves on the board and owns stock, but he did not report any income from Semco.

Stevens, R-Anchorage, has been in the thick of the state Legislature's negotiations over oil and gas taxes. He did not respond to requests for an interview about his Semco pay this week. He did say, through a spokesman, that he "deferred all his compensation" for 2005.

But Stevens' decision to leave his money in Semco's deferred-compensation plan did not eliminate his obligation to disclose it, according to the public offices commission staff.

"It's income," APOC assistant director Chris Ellingson said Thursday, after consulting the commission's attorney. The commission's staff began looking into the question after the Daily News raised it earlier in the week.

The office will send Stevens a letter asking him to correct his report. He could be fined up to $10 a day if the report is deemed "substantially incomplete," Ellingson said.

Semco is a publicly traded company based in Port Huron, Mich. It supplies natural gas in scattered areas of its home state. It bought Enstar, the utility that distributes gas in Anchorage and the Mat-Su area, in 1999.

Stevens joined the Semco board in December 2004 after a three-year stint on an Enstar advisory panel. Six months later, the company increased board member pay from $12,000 a year and $1,000 per meeting to $35,000 cash a year plus 7,000 shares of stock, according to a recent SEC report. At recent prices, the annual stock allotments are worth about $37,000. Stevens is also entitled to $2,000 a year because he serves on the board's audit committee. The new pay arrangement was retroactive to all of 2005.

Distributed to subscribers for publication by
Scripps-McClatchy Western Service,

Publish A Letter on SitNews
        Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska