The co-owner of the horse that scored an historic upset victory in the Kentucky Derby yesterday is Bill Allen’s son Mark Allen, who apparently was able to stand in the winner’s circle only through an immunity agreement his father made that kept his son out of prison.
Bill Allen built VECO from a small Alaska construction company into a multi-national oil-services powerhouse and the political arm of the oil industry in the 49th State before he became an informant for the federal government in the ongoing Alaska public corruption probe.
Reporting by the Anchorage Daily News suggests that Mark Allen bought his share of Mine that Bird out of his $30 million share of the proceeds of the sale of VECO in 2007, the year after his father became a cooperating federal witness. Yesterday the thoroughbred came from way back in the pack to take horseracing’s most famous event against the second longest odds ever beaten in the 135-year history of the Run for the Roses. The brown gelding is the half-brother of So Long Birdie, a horse formerly owned by a partnership that included Bill Allen, former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, and other noteworthy Alaskans.
Bill Allen was the chief prosecution witness against Ted Stevens in a felony trial last autumn in Washington, D.C. A jury found Stevens guilty of seven counts of failing to disclose gifts and liabilities that primarily arose when VECO workers provided much of the labor for renovations of the Senator’s home in Alaska, but the trial judge overturned the verdicts and dismissed the case last month due to prosecutorial misconduct. In the meantime, Stevens lost his bid for re-election to the Senate.
As reported by Rich Mauer of the Anchorage Daily News, Bill Allen’s testimony at the Stevens trial and pleadings filed in federal court combine to indicate that Mark Allen gave “several” thousand dollars in cash to then-State Rep. Beverly Masek, R.-Willow, at a restaurant in 2003. Masek has pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy regarding the taking of bribes from Bill Allen and a relative of Bill Allen’s who is unnamed in the criminal complaint.
Masek is awaiting sentencing, and she will be going to prison to join former Reps. Pete Kott, R.-Eagle River, and Vic Kohring, R.-Wasilla, two other legislators convicted of taking bribes from Bill Allen. Prison also awaits Bill Allen when he finishes testifying for the feds.
But prison—or even prosecution—doesn’t await Mark Allen, whose father negotiated immunity for him specifically. That same plea agreement of Bill Allen’s also keeps the federal government from filing criminal charges against other members of the family of the former oil-services titan.
Wearing a black cowboy hat, a black leather jacket, and a string tie, Mark Allen looked relaxed and happy standing in the winner’s circle yesterday with the Governor of Kentucky. He should be. He and his co-owner will collect a $2 million purse for their horse’s triumph yesterday.
Coincidentally, that sum appears to just about equal to the cost of the defense in the Ted Stevens trial. Ted Stevens and Bill Allen are unlikely to be getting together to celebrate Mark Allen’s success with the ponies, but maybe Stevens took a big flyer on the half-brother on the horse he used to co-own. He would have needed to put down $40,000, but if he did the 50-1 odds on Mine that Bird meant that the cost of the former Senator’s legal defense was covered.
To add one more incredible twist, Mine that Bird ran in the horse races in California that a juror blew off the jury deliberations to attend during the Stevens trial. (When she told the judge she was leaving, she said that her father had died.) The judge imposed no penalty on the juror for her misconduct, apparently granting mercy after hearing statements from her at a post-trial hearing that left some onlookers unsure of her sanity.