Inspector general says 'no way' on the Berkowitz 'homeless hotel' plan - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 28, 2020
HomePoliticsInspector general says ‘no way’ on the Berkowitz ‘homeless hotel’ plan

Inspector general says ‘no way’ on the Berkowitz ‘homeless hotel’ plan

Inspector General of the United States Department of the Treasury is not happy with Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and his homeless hotel plan, not if it’s using CARES Act funds.

A call today with the city ended badly for Mayor Berkowitz and the nine Assembly members who just last night voted to spend $12.5 million of the CARES Act money — which is intended for COVID relief — to complete a $22.5 million deal for four buildings around Anchorage. Those buildings would be used to house street people and treat their drug addiction.

The vote came even though the Assembly knew the Inspector General was wise to the scheme to divert money that is intended to help with rents, mortgages and businesses.

In fact, there is almost no part of AO66 that the federal government agreed with on the phone call.

The municipality cannot use the money to backfill pay for fire and police, for expenditures the municipality already had voted for before COVID hit.

The municipality also cannot spend $1 million on a union project offered by Rep. Zack Fields that would funnel money to union bosses, who would hire people to build trails for the next few weeks. That is not a COVID need.

But the biggest blow was the omnibus plan of Mayor Berkowitz to create a network of services and hotels for vagrants. The feds said the city cannot buy buildings with the COVID money.

This puts the entire AO66 in peril.

It appears the mayor and the liberal Assembly members wanted to move forward quickly and then ask for forgiveness, but Delmar gave them no hope, telling the municipality’s attorney Kate Vogel that he, too, is an attorney and can very well read the law.

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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

  • It is nice to see the system worked this time. ty for the update.

    • Awesome, need to stop this madman and the assembly. They are going to lose their free ride.

    • Arrrggghhhh, these scurvy dogs should be put down. This lame dog Mayor is lacking the brains of a leech. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits.

      • Berkowitz is a prime model of the Democratic Party. Beware of all the crimes he will perpetrate as he gets ready to leave office…!

  • I cannot love this any more than I already do! Deep down I wanted the assembly and mayor to go against the will of the people and then get slapped down by the IG.

    • It would truly be poetic justice if the IG slapped the mayor and assembly members who voted for this allocation with some personal (not to be paid with municipal monies) $5,000.00/day fines to accompany his decision.

      • Please for heaven’s sake, PLEASE sign the petition to RECALL MAYOR BERKOWITZ!!!!

        • Yes I want him recalled.

    • Absolutely a huge victory for “We the People”🤙🇺🇸🤙🇺🇸

  • yea….*finally* some one with the clout to follow through and put the mayor and his henchmen in their place.

  • Well, all those models citizens with such high and mighty morals standards had just a small problem with the LAW! Should get an opinion on the open meetings law and public testimony. Maybe a training lesson on honesty, freedom of speech and expression, the right to petition and assemble and a little on separation of Church and State and Racism as to what is meant by my people-are we not one people under God with liberty and Justice for all!!!!!

  • Well, knock me over with a feather; I expected some mealy mouthed report in a year or so. Mnuchin is one of the few loyal Trump people in the Administration, so he apparently has a loyal IG.

    In a former life I was a federal Contract Officer and I well knew this scheme wasn’t an allowable cost under CARES, but then nothing is illegal if nobody enforces the law. Glad to see somebody enforces the law..

  • Thanks goodness.

  • Thank you so much. Your reporting is the only one that is nonbiased and informative.

    • Informative, yes. Nonbiased? Not so much.

  • AMEN !!

  • fix your spelling ‘read’ the law.

    Great news!

    Thank you!

  • The display of arrogance and lust for power so clearly demonstrated by Mayor and some Assembly members over these past months on this issue has been swept aside. We must be alert to future moves to circumvent regulations and the intent of federal monies. BTW, the protestors of Tuesday evening are to be commended for their persistence and control in the face of snobbery and haughty behavior of some elected officials. Racists, my a–!

    • Amen! As I watched the debate on Channel 9 last night, I was quite offended to be lectured on “systemic racism” by these lawmakers who pushed their agenda through, regardless of the overwhelming public input against it. The slapdown to Jamie Allard was unacceptable from a “colleague” in the debate. The abuse of public funds is the issue here, not what these “geniuses” perceive to be “systemic racism.” Muddy the waters, eh!

  • Thank you for keeping us updated! Your a good reporter!

    • Assembly or Politburo?

      • From the discussion before the vote on Channel 9 last night, I would say “Politburo”. I was aghast as a 60-year Anchorage resident! And Christopher Constant’s personal history was an emotional display that had no place at an assembly meeting, given the steamroller he was advocating.

  • YESSSS!!!! Save Anchorage!

  • So attorney Kate Vogel signed off on it? I’m no lawyer but even I saw it was a misuse of funds. This is outright using the pandemic to further agendas, not help people affected by the pandemic. The people least affected and not following any mandates are the homeless.

  • Yes! So happy about this! The mayor and most assembly members are absolute thieves. There is a petition to recall Gov. Newsome in CA for similar reasons. Why can’t we do the same here?

  • Can’t wait for the spittle-filled comments from Berk and the leftists on the assembly. First words will be “how racist” the IG and America are…It’s the go-to word.

  • Amen! This is very good news! Woot!

  • The mayor and his city Assembly are not above the law… that money was for helping the people with rent, mortgages and small business loans… that will help many people in Anchorage in order to survive this Calamity. This money is not for his pet project’s. You sir are an elected official not the king of Anchorage. Maybe it’s time to recall you and your toddies, and get real leadership where it’s needed…

    • I’ll sign the recall!

    • Wonder how much damage..these looting Democrats & pub sevice unions have done to Alaska.
      ***
      Absolutely …turned their back on citizens, oath of office, any semblance of fiscal responsiblity.
      The rape of Alaska continues when votes fall for Democrats & their so-called independents (community organizers), backed by pub.service
      union bosses.

  • Jerk sycophants get Federal smackdown. Just because you’re a lawyer, that doesn’t make you smart.
    The worst part? Going against the will of the people…
    There is no shame either here or at the State level stealing the perm fund.
    Where or why did we end up with such crap?

  • Kate Vogel must have been the one that Mayor Berky was referring to when he said he ran this by his lawyers. I’m sure what was said is “I need to use this money for the homeless project I have in mind” and she said “No problem. Just say you are using the covid money to buy the places to help the homeless during the covid crisis.” He says “Can we do that? If so, great!” She says “Sure, we just have to wordsmith it just right and it will be fine. Just as long as we connect it to the covid thing its for, we can do what we want with it” He says “Cool, then lets also fill in the gap for the fire and police pay and give my union buddies some money too.” None of this was ever kosher. None of it was ever ok, they just thought (incorrectly) that if they connected it to covid that it would work out. It didn’t. Now the mayor will be ticked off he didn’t get what he wants and we will all pay for it one way or another because that’s what kind of person he is. BLM protesters are revolutionaries and he’s proud of them and take his mask off to talk to them. His city’s constituents don’t agree with him, and they are dumb and indecent humans who (justly so) mock him. This guy can’t be out soon enough. Conservatives MUST vote!!

    • Isn’t that the truth. When we protest our neighborhoods being a dumping ground for vagrants and are smart enough to “follow the money” on his diabolical plan, we are dumb, misinformed, racist filled rioters. BLM are addressed as revolutionaries. Berkowitz and his leftist pals on the assembly should be fined by having to clean up all the sh*t on every street corner of the city. They want camps? They can all have them in their front yards!!

    • That’s probably exactly how the conversation went.

  • Yay! I love this! Typical Democrat dictator; pushing his liberal agenda against the wishes of his constituents! So glad he and the liberal assembly members, got shot down!! Who voted to put these people in office anyway? Better open up your eyes people; vote for someone that will work for you and not against you like these liberal idiots did!

  • I would like to be happy about this, but they will just pull the money from somewhere else (ML&P sale?) and do it anyway. Listening to them last night convinced me that this is going to happen one way or the other.
    I hope I am wrong.

    • ML&P money isn’t enough for the purchase of all four buildings/properties. You are right in that they could figure out a way to pull money from somewhere else (wouldn’t they love to defund APD). If the feds are successful in denying these specific use of funds in ineligible, at least maybe hurting businesses (members of CHARR and tourism industry) might have a fighting chance to survive through the end of the calendar year by actually using the CARES Act money as it was intended by Congress.

    • You’re not wrong, this whole thing is an attempt to destroy and destabilize Anchorage so it will be a progressive city like Portland, or Seattle. We’re about 5 years away from ANTIFA cells committing “peaceful” violence in the streets. The city council is gonna do whatever it takes to get people on the right to leave town, their playbook is obvious but we have no easy way to resist it yet.

    • JDC, my thoughts exactly. The Assembly and the mayor have an objective and they will get there by hook or by crook. All money is fungible and they will just steal money from other areas–and raise taxes through the use of a “fee”. Thanks to all who showed up.

  • Sounds like a replay of Dunleavy’s plan to use the CARES money for medicare.
    Naughty boys. Go to your rooms.

    • Greg,
      Excuse me but, isn’t medicare all federal? Why would Governor Dunleavy want to use CARES money for an already fully federally funded and managed healthcare (medicare)? Maybe your keyboard malfunctioned.

    • Exit Mayor Berkowitz along with the assembly. I as a citizen in Anchorage, do charge these ‘carpet baggers’ with malfeasance, hubris beyond definition.
      No more of this trickery, vote them gone.

    • Hopefully the San Francisco treat doesn’t find a work around

    • This news made my crappy day bearable. I fear this is only the end of round one. Be ever vigilant for round two. The emperor thinks he’s God and his cronies workshop him.

  • ADN article says the MOA is going to push this issue through the Treasury. What entity has the ultimate power to quash this abuse of federal funds, the IG or the Treasury Dept.?

  • It would be poetic justice to see Berkowitz have to give some of the CARES money to Kriner’s and the other small restaurants he has closed!

    • I vote g1ve $3,300 to Kriner’s and another $3,300 to help him out of this COVID mess

  • Wow, the eleven liberal city Assembly members and their leader, Ethan Berkowitz have been spanked! Blatantly ignoring the will of the people while pushing through an unpopular and widely protested liberal agenda will cost them dearly at the ballot box. Of course, thankfully we won’t have to worry about Berkowitz again in the next election due to term limits. His last day as Mayor won’t come soon enough.

    • Correction. The NINE liberal city Assembly members… The two from Eagle River rock!!

      • Jamie Allard and Crystal (Sp) Kennedy – Truly representing our Chugiak- Eagle River Community – these two from Eagle River really rock. Hang in there ladies!

  • Why is everyone so happy? This is just the IG saying they don’t like the plan. You can be sure that Berkowitz et al. will still spend it and pass the repercussions on to the next mayor.

    Just like Begich…it is the new norm.

    • If he thinks he will do that he can be held civilly liable.

  • Sorry, but no Hotel Berkowitz for the homeless. Back to tents and latrines and squatter camps for the bums who he just adores.

  • I don’t know if it’s irony or karma… but it sure is nice to see the big Berkowitz government get a taste of their own medicine from even bigger government… ROFLOL… Hey Berkowitz, how’s it feel to be beat down by the government like you have been doing to the hardworking Anchorage taxpayers and small business owners for the last few years?

  • Let’s see how they reword the ordinance to go ahead with it anyway. Politicians are snakes. I wouldn’t buy fireworks just yet.

  • These Liberal politicians think they have absolute power over everyone. They become emboldened because they know mainstream media will not touch them. In fact, the media will often attack anyone who questions a liberal Democrat. Glad little Berky has been called out and told no. Hopefully other Lib mayors will take notice.

  • Outstanding result. This runaway liberal Mayor and Assembly didn’t listen to the hundreds of residents voicing opposition to this illegal appropriation and process. Glad the Feds have stepped in to put the brakes on this unacceptable, illegal, and inappropriate use of power against the residents of Anchorage and the taxpayers of the United States. The April Mayoral election can not come some enough to get adult leadership back for Anchorage.

    • Thank you for your comment, Mr. Campbell. I’ve worked with you on the sidelines in my past career and you were always straightforward, respectful, honest, and admirable in your work with me, just a staffer from a long previous administration. May God bless you.

  • Hey Mayor – I know you read this blog. What part of NO don’t you understand?

    Hey Halcro – I know you read this blog. Pull your thong out of your butt.

  • The IG should have followed it up with a full inpection of the Municipality books to look for other irregularities. Plus advised the attorney that we will be looking at all of your advice given ro the Municipality for any wrong doing.

    • Yesss! Time for full audit – Federal IG please – the Municipal auditors may be compromised politically with this bunch of charlatans and miscreants. Go for it! And hope they look at the organizational structure while they are at it. In my dreams!

  • 😂 hahaha, hope this made Berkowitz cry. To be made an a– of by the Feds!!!! Love it. Now he’s on their radar😱.

  • Turns out the Anchorage Assembly, Mayor, City Manager, and City Attorney can’t read. Thankfully the Inspector General of the US Treasury can. I just saw on the news where the City Manager and Attorney said they disagree with the IG and they are looking forward to further conversations…so not only can they not read, they don’t seem to understand plain English.

    • Products of the ASD, failed educational institutions of “higher learning”, or similar regimes? Snort!

  • They have already stated that they intend on using the ML&P money now to pay for the buildings.

  • All this means is that now he got it passed the taxpayers are on the hook for the millions of dollars he is now short! There has got to be a way to reverse or repeal this nonsensical absolutely ridiculous plan! This should have been on a ballot put forth to the taxpayers.

  • Curious to know how those reading and posting here relate to the follow verses from the Bible:

    34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    and

    “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.”

    • Kevin,
      Nice try. The truth is that your sophomoric point is way off base. Individuals can and do clothe, feed and also help organizations that do the same through financial support. The issue isn’t about whether to help mentally ill street junkies but how to help them. The Mayor has a plan that would literally enable destructive self medicating behavior. His scheme is detrimental to the homeless and society at large. There are other ways of dealing with this problem.
      I hope this helps you. BTW , perhaps you should work with the homeless, get down on the street and learn about who these folks are.

    • That’s Rich! First off, the left HATES religion- particularly the one, who’s book from which you quoted..
      Second- all these liberal policies do is make it worse. You have the evidence in all the major urban areas that are like third world countries after 50 plus years of left wing government rule. The dirty secret is the left has no interest in every solving any problem, or truly helping any person, become independent in any way. They want people crying to turn the liberty in for security and when they take your freedoms, they never, ever, give them back, voluntarily. The true tyrants, bigots, and racists, exist entirely on the left. Shame on you Kevin, and on the Mayor and this sham of an assembly.

  • One thing a citizen can be assured of. The little guy and his ass embly are fit to be tied. They will try an end run to get around the IG for spite, if nothing else. Citizens would be well advised to be ready for action similar, but bigger and more intense than those heroes trying to get into their own assembly meeting. I am very proud of Alaskans that remember what it is to be Alaskan. The leftists think they have free rein, they do not handle dissent well, and it’s not over yet. Pour it on, Anchorage Citizens. It’s now or never. Show the little fella and his ‘tribe’ of socialists that they can’t bite the ‘hands that feed them’. Their tactics work both ways.
    November gets more important every day. Voters not voting got Alaska, our cities and boroughs into this mess. If it isn’t stopped, Alaska won’t be Alaska for long. This is a fight to the finish. Either common sense conservatives take our Country, State and Cities back or lose them. America has already lost the education system. America and especially Alaska is better than that. Let’s fix it.

    • Hear Hear! Vote as if your life depends on it – at this point it really does. I’m going to my polling place in person and putting my ballot in the machine. That’s my only hope it will be tallied. Think about mail-in voting with the Municipality of Anchorage and look whatcha got.

  • Is this state still without a Governor, that we have to bring the Feds in to sort out the obvious? I am sure that the money will still not come to small businesses, unless the owners are registered to the Party.

    • The state assigned the money, but the feds wrote the rules on how it must be spent. The feds were always the refs in this game. We voted for this gov, and the people of Anc voted for this assembly and mayor. If they want their city back, they’ll have to stand up, win hearts and minds to their side, and vote these people out. They can’t install these folks thru apathy or inaction, and then expect the Gov to come bail them out. They need to take care of their own house. If you want a gov to intervene anytime you don’t like who you’ve elected, then I have some FBI agents I would like you to meet. They felt the same way about who the country voted for in 2016. They had no respect for the will of the people. This governor does. He may not like Berk or the assembly, but it’s obvious, he, unlike the left, Berk, the assembly, and said FBI agents (and whoever else) actually respects the will of the voters in Anc. For good or ill, it’s they who elected these people, and they need to be the ones to change it, otherwise why have a vote at all?

  • Gosh, it appears this did not not go well for Komrade Ethan. I may be mistaken but the risks associated with using the money contrary to the Fed’s interpretation may be significant: The False Claims Act, 31 USC 3729, may be applicable and there is no immunity for the MOA. Liability under the Act includes treble damages. But the Mayor is free to rely on his Municipal Attorney, if he wants. Or he could hope that Joe “where am I” Biden gets elected to whitewash the whole thing.

  • Enjoy your victories while you can, because you’ve got a huge loss coming this November.

    • Oh, sugar. You just stay in Seattle.

      You can’t handle the truth! LMAO!

    • Oh, sugar! You just stay in Seattle.

      You can’t handle the truth! LMAO!!

    • Whitless,
      Yes you do !

    • Upset much? lol
      We can’t wait for November to get here, that team you selected as your candidates for the WH are going to get smoked, we, the American people are coming out in force to reelect Trump. Consider moving to Canada or maybe Venezuela.

  • Not usually a fan of federal intervention. However, the city wants Fed dollars instead of allowing people to produce locally. A rare win for freedom from the federal government.

  • So does this mean we can take another look at Dan Sullivan’s plan? It was actually well thought out and workable…

    • I was told Clitheroe wasn’t an option because of access issues. Don’t know what that means.

  • Ye Ha, the AG knocked the little Napolean off his horse!! Kerplop!

  • I wouldn’t assume this is over by any stretch of the imagination, this mayor and 90% of the assembly simply cannot be trusted and need to be voted out! I love former Mayor Dan Sullivan’s proposal along with Dan Coffey and the salvation army proposal; it’s a spend of money I could get behind, but not under this mayor and assembly

  • Mayor B. will disregard what the IG says and will spend the CARES money on his projects anyway. When the the IG demands the Federal money back that he does not have…he will raise property taxes to cover that.
    The End game is- Mayor B will get what he wants and the Anchorage property owners will pay for it.
    Don’t doubt me.

    • If little man Berkowitz tries to use that money the IG could very well ask the AG to charge him with Fraud.

    • ^^^^^^THIS!!!^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      Little Ethan’s mouth is going to write a check that the taxpayers a$$ will be forced to cash.

  • I used to visit Anchorage and stay at the Golden Lion Hotel and pay $149 per night. Not a bad place to stay. And this mayor of yours wants to turn it into a freebie home for street indigents who don’t work? What kind of out of touch mayor does that to his city. Anchorage has become pathetic.

  • LOL,LOL,LOL, what a jerk, finally got a beat down for his high jinx. Thank God enough people complained and got the authority involved! Now on to the Anchorage School Districts 5,000 less students enrollment. Where is the property tax payers, tax cut on this one? It would have been bitter sweet if this IG conference was in person with some federal law enforcement in the mayors office. Get out and vote, get out and get your family, friends and neighbors to vote. This is how we crush the BS!

  • Justice prevails for a change! Now the Treasury IG is on to them and will be watching how they try and spend that CARES Act money. It’s nice to get some good news for a change.

  • What about the restaurants that he screwed, giving them 48 hours to close or succumb to the ridiculous expense of outdoor dining when all his restaurants were “in the know?” They were just getting their daily rhythm back, purchased perishable products in bulk to get shut down in 48 hours? Where is the heart felt caring mayor now? Evidently only caring for the homeless, when mom and pop stores are being run out of business? The backbone of this city, paying property taxes to support the homeless? Give me a break Berkowitz! Give that money to the working (or trying to work) people!

  • Please keep on this story. The people aren’t getting all the facts from our elected representatives.

  • Hey Mayor – I know you read this blog. What part of NO don’t you understand?

    Hey Halcro – I know you read this blog. Pull your thong out of your butt.

  • Is the misappropriation of Federal funds a crime, or more to he point, the attempted misappropriation of such funds? It sure smells a lot like conspiracy and racketeering to me. I would enjoy seeing the Mayor and his fellow conspirators facing charges.

  • Glad to see these crooks get slapped.

    What’s that smell? It smells like a federal fraud!!

    Yeah, it kinda does!! Poor tinyE and his communist minions.

  • Conspiracy to defraud ! Three words sums it up Now charge them all with 18 us c 242,241, & 245… After all its was the peoples money!

  • Delmar is a government lawyer and, according to Delmar, he can read the law. A right wing government lawyer with a degree from Trump University is simply this: a government lawyer. And don’t forget, Berkowitz hates football and is responsible for the cancellation of the season.

  • Governor Dunleavy should now pull back the $22.5 Million of CARES money to the State. He now has reason.

  • Meh, they’ll just find another pot of gold to rob to complete their scheme, which by the way is a vote harvesting scheme for mail in voting.

    • Now maybe he’ll listen to the people who put him there. But I believe that he won’t. It was not a good idea to start with, it’s like having a dog poop in your yard and covering with a leaf. You can’t see it but it’s still there.

  • I just found out that the Oregon Ducks cancelled its football season. Berkowitz hates sports, especially college football. It’s outrageous that the mayor of Anchorage ordered the football teams to quit playing. Football is America and without out being able to watch the games on TV, we might as well be living in Commie country.

    • Ewww bummer… I hadn’t considered that there might be something I actually agreed w/ Berkowitz on.

      I don’t enjoy watching large men in tights either. That has got to be the stupidest pastime ever. Loud mouth fat guys running into each other. Just shoot me.

      In my dreams though Mr. Berkowitz would be called on the carpet for his duplicity and placed in a cell for an extended period. Perhaps with a few loud mouth fat men.

  • Be nice if the IG charge the mayor and assembly with misappropriation of federal money

  • “Glad to see somebody enforces the law.. ” Though I must say I do love to see many of the same people, who were supporting Kriners and little dipper diner breaking the law, show up here to talk about law and order, etc.

    Irony is wasted on the stupid, though.

  • Sounds like a professional auditor needs to come in and do a complete audit to account for every cent!

  • Just received a notice that my mortgage payment is increasing Sep 1st due to tax increase. Thanks, Berkowitz.🤬

  • Reading this morning on Facebook that NYC is also housing homeless in hotels with COVID-19 funds footing the bills for these rooms.

  • Don’t expect the city to comply. The city was told last year by the state AELS board that certain positions in the city that practice engineering need to be staffed by licensed professional engineers. The so far the city just refused to comply. Berkowitz likes to give city jobs out as political favors and complying with state and federal licensing requirements limits his ability to use city jobs as political chips.

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