Fake lawsuit: Attorney General says delayed PFD was already in process - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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Fake lawsuit: Attorney General says delayed PFD was already in process

MILITARY SPOUSE KNEW HER CHECK WAS SCHEDULED, BUT SUED ANYWAY

Denali Nicole Smith and her attorneys had already been informed that Smith’s Permanent Fund dividend was scheduled to be paid — and they knew it before they filed a lawsuit that has made national news.

The lawsuit by Smith claims was she denied a dividend because she is married to an Alaska woman military member who is stationed in Florida, and thus the couple is living out of Alaska. The lawsuit claims discrimination against same-sex couples.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson and others named in the lawsuit were unaware that any permanent fund dividend had been denied based on the same-sex marital status of an applicant, until they read stories in the media on Thursday, according to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office.

Dunleavy immediately asked his staff, in consultation with the Department of Law and the Department of Revenue, to look into the incident to determine what occurred and how to fix it.

But Dunleavy’s staff discovered the issue had already been remedied and the plaintiff’s attorney had been notified of the remedy long before the lawsuit was filed.

The PFD Division is in the process of updating its manual to ensure this inadvertent mistake does not happen again, the statement said.

“I was only made aware of this yesterday,” said Gov. Dunleavy. “I immediately wanted to get to the bottom of it. The PFD should go to all eligible Alaskans regardless of their marital status. We are examining our regulations and processes to ensure those who are qualified get their PFD.”

According to the Department of Revenue, the PFD division recognizes same-sex spouses. 

Individual’s spouses who are living out of the state for allowable reasons will be paid under AS 43.23.008(13): “accompanying another eligible resident who is absent for a reason permitted…as the spouse, minor dependent, or disabled dependent of the eligible resident.”

A question had been raised this summer based on the Division’s Statutes and Regulations Booklet that still included the requirement from statute that same-sex marriages are not recognized—mirroring the Alaska Constitution’s definition of marriage that was struck down by the court as unconstitutional in 2015.

The applications that could have been denied based on this statute were supposed to be put on hold, while the PFD Division sought advice from the Department of Law to ensure it was properly complying with the law.

Smith’s application inadvertently was denied instead of being placed on hold. The Division remedied this denial in October, following legal advice that the statute was unconstitutional and should not be enforced.

Early in November, the Division communicated to the applicant and her attorney that she was eligible to be paid a PFD.

“No one disagrees that the denial letter never should have been sent,” said Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson. “But the Division promptly remedied the action once it figured out its mistake. As an attorney, I am appalled that Ms. Shortell would file a false lawsuit knowing full well that the Division had already changed course and had in fact informed her that her client’s dividend was scheduled for payment before the lawsuit was filed. Attorneys have an ethical duty to not file false factual statements with a court.”

The PFD Division said it will work with the applicant to ensure her PFD gets paid. To the Division’s knowledge, there is no one who is similarly situated to Smith. The Division will continue to investigate to verify that this is indeed the case and take corrective action if necessary, the AG’s office said.

As for the lawsuit, the Department of Law will be filing a motion to dismiss, since the remedy requested—a 2019 PFD—was fulfilled before the lawsuit was even filed.

“Aside from the facts provided in this press release to clarify what occurred, there is no further information that will be provided prior to the motion to dismiss,” the Attorney General’s press release stated.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • What a messed up world we create for ourselves when we do not obey God’s commandment. Go Forth, Increase and MULTIPLY. That is why man without the woman, and the woman without the man is not in the Lord’s plan of life, nor of Eternal Life either.

    • By that logic, any man or woman who is infertile, due to age, accident, illness, or simple biology, should not be allowed to marry. Try again.

      • Okay how’s this, a man shall not lie with a man. That pretty much sums it up wouldn’t you say?

    • Keep your Jesus in your heart and out of politics.

  • What a messed up world we live in when gays started with, “Just stay out of our bedroom.”
    Then, “special designation status on par with race!”
    Then, “Mandatory diversity training so we are treated better than equal! (because wrong a gay person, and you’ll pay!).
    Then, “Embrace us or else! Oh, and teach my lifestyle to the little ones, or else too!”
    And today in Alaska, “Discrimination! (even though it was exactly opposite).”

    Let this be yet another lesson: The homosexual community will never be satisfied…even when every whim was satisfied like a PFD efficiently rectified.
    We’ll give the pass to the homosexuals because truly, this selfish behavior DOES BECOME their lifestyle again and again…and we are used to it. Tired of it, but used to it.
    As for the attorney? If she’s not gay, time for sanctions! If she is, then we can be confident she’ll get a pass for bad behavior and outright lying. But who will be bold enough to discipline Ms. Shortell regardless of her behavior in the bedroom?
    Keep us posted, Suzanne.

    • LGBTQ must play by the rules like everyone else. This is exactly why minority, so-called pressure groups, seek constant reaffirmation by the media. They seek superiority rights by virtue of their minority status. And often get it. This lawsuit needs to be tossed and the attorney disciplined for bringing it in a false light. Beyond frivolous. It’s fraud in the factum. Prosecute and extinguish their future PFDs.

    • Hey Scott Rees, what church do you go to?

  • They should have to answer to this. Knowing this was resolved and choosing to file a fake lawsuit to attract attention to themselves so the LGBTQ crowd can mob the PFD folks is appalling.. Personally, I think it’s wrong that they are now paying her, and in light of what she did? I think she shouldn’t get a dime. This is how the left rolls. Get their way at any cost.

  • Smith’s attorney was notified well before the lawsuit was filed, that was getting her PFD, but Smith went ahead and filed a federal lawsuit anyway, presumably at a cost of several thousand dollars, naming everyone she could think of.
    .
    I’m sensing someone with an insatiable lust for attention…..

    • Isn’t this comment also a cry for attention ? You know, hoping you’ll hurt “a snowflake’’s “ feelings with your backwards and downright ignorant statement dressed up as a well stated opinion rooted in truth ?

  • They should withhold her PFD to defray some of the costs of the work involved to address this bullsh*t. Shame on them and their attorney. Think about it ladies…I know you’re reading this.

    • I wasn’t able to link to the source here Liberal, but the gist of the article is that it’s been discovered that there are at least 6 more ladies who’ve been denied their 2019 PFDs. And the Dept. of Law said there were no others like this on Friday. Whooops. Costs will be going up.

    • Make America great again !

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