The Leisnoi Native Corporation’s board president says he’s been unable to obtain basic information about operations and expenses and has resigned in protest. It’s the latest twist in the Native corporation’s internal and external problems that’s led to lawsuits and now suspended timber operations near Chiniak.
— leisnoi resignation pkg 3:52 "Sgt. Jay Baldwin …I’m Jacob Resneck."
Sgt. Jay Baldwin is the commander of the Kodiak detachment of the Alaska National Guard. And for the past two years he’s served as president of Leisnoi’s board of directors. This week he announced he’s one of two Kodiak members who have resigned in protest.
Leisnoi is one of the largest landholders on Kodiak’s road system. Last summer it began a large-scale logging operation near Chiniak. But work has been at a standstill since December and the corporation is being sued by a timber company after taped phone conversations surfaced in which with key Leisnoi leaders discussed their intention to bankrupt their business partner. The recordings were made by a rival timber consultant they had approached to enlist in their bid to expel business partner A1 Timber from the Chiniak operation. In one excerpt, Leonard Zaiser, husband of the Leisnoi CEO Carole Pagano, boasts that the couple runs Leisnoi without any oversight from the board.
The current board is comprised of Pagano, her father Frank and a third voting member who Baldwin says has been added to the payroll and sides with the Paganos. A fifth voting member is Teresa Baker of Kodiak. KMXT could not independently verify whether she too has resigned. Baldwin says his effort to investigate the issues revealed by the tapes was overruled earlier this month by the three-vote majority.
Legal battles are nothing new to the corporation and there have been past recall efforts by dissident shareholders. Baldwin said a renewed recall effort is underway though shareholders contacted declined to comment.
In his two-page letter of resignation seen by KMXT, Baldwin cites routinely being denied basic financial information about the corporation including its payroll, earnings and expenses. He says those asking legitimate questions are painted as an enemy of the corporation whereas he says he was just trying to protect shareholders.
An online campaign posted this month on YouTube complains of lackluster dividend payments despite hundreds of millions in assets and strong net revenues from the now-suspended Chiniak timber operation.
I’m Jacob Resneck
HOST TAG: Leisnoi’s Anchorage attorney Bill Ingaldson said the corporation has no comment on actions taken within closed executive sessions or matters that pertain to its timber lawsuit. He added that any board members commenting on these matters would be in violation of the corporation’s confidentiality agreements.