The Colver files: Did he steer contracts to his company?



Back when Jim Colver was sitting on the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, he ran into some trouble, caused possibly by his own misdeeds.

Allegations were made that Colver had used confidential information available to Assembly members to steer public money to his own surveying firm. A criminal investigation was launched. Kelly Turney, the Palmer police detective at the time, sent the report to the State Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, which is where it eventually died.

During the investigation, Colver said it was all politically motivated and he hired a lawyer. That lawyer was none other than Big Lake Democrat Attorney Scott Sterling, who was also the immediate past chair of the district’s Democratic Party.

Colver wouldn’t talk to the detective and he wouldn’t talk to the Frontiersman reporter. He clammed up.

He was asked to resign his Assembly seat by resident Tammy Miller, who told the Assembly: “It only takes one bad apple to spoil the barrel, and with the two of you on the assembly things are rotten. Colver is worse … because he intimidates people and is a bully. He uses his position to garner business for himself.”

Colver went on to win a seat on the school board after deciding that he wasn’t going to win his race for mayor.  But not before these headlines dominated his life:

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For the record, the tips on these news stories did not come from The Frontiersman reporter himself, who is no longer with the newspaper, but were sent to us by a former television reporter, who could not fathom why today’s reporters had not dug into Colver’s past.

Must Read performed a cursory search but didn’t uncover the scandal, and no other reporter has brought them to light during the highly contested race between Colver and his challenger, George Rauscher.

Jim Colver
Jim Colver

Greg Waisanen, owner of Collins Construction in Wasilla, claimed at the time that he felt Colver pressured him to award Colver Surveying a subcontract, and that Colver used his assembly position to access design information that wasn’t  available to other bidders regarding a school project.

The investigation focused on two misdemeanor offenses: Official misconduct and misuse of confidential information.

The police detective at the time said there were many unanswered questions in the case. But without Colver talking to the investigator, he turned it all over to the state.

None of these news stories is easy to find in the archives, and the scandal has been scrubbed from Colver’s Wikipedia entry. It took a former television news reporter to bring it to light and ask why the news media was not doing its job in at letting voters know about the question of character.

 Earlier this month, Colver lashed out at his fellow lawmakers, accusing them of being part of “another VECO-like scandal with a bought-and-paid-for legislature.” His piece was published in the Alaska Dispatch News.