It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Deal rode the wave of Tea Party fervor into office in January of 2011, but the Deal for Governor 2010 campaign was charged with financial irregularities. The state appointed an ethics commission to investigate, headed by Stacey Kalberman and deputy investigator Sherilyn Streicker.
When Deal’s office learned in June of 2011 that Kalberman and the ethics committee were about to issue subpoenas for Deal staff and the governor himself, Deal gutted the ethics commission’s funding, fired Streicker and cut Kalberman’s salary by $35,000.
Deal replaced Kalberman with attorney Holly LaBerge in September of 2011, who bragged to staffers that she was going to make Deal’s ethics problems “go away.”
The commission by 2012 had for several years been without the power to create its own regulations and to interpret the law, a power lawmakers later gave back. Teague, according to LaBerge’s memo, said the agency might not get its power back if the Deal case wasn’t settled without a public hearing.
Parks also claims that Olens’ office instructed LaBerge not to mention the memo during testimony in a series of whisteblower lawsuits filed by former commission employees. Olens’ spokeswoman, Lauren Kane, said no one in the attorney general’s office told anyone to do anything improper.
“Any allegation that any employee of this office has advised or instructed anyone to testify untruthfully in any way is categorically false,” Kane said.
The state has agreed to pay nearly $3 million to settle three lawsuits, and a threatened fourth, brought by former commission employees who claim they were fired or forced from office over the Deal investigation or its aftermath.
Former commission director Stacey Kalberman and her top deputy, Sherilyn Streicker, were investigating the complaints against Deal’s campaign when they drafted subpoenas for records in 2011. Weeks after presenting the drafts to commissioners, Kalberman was told her salary was being cut deeply and Streicker’s job was being eliminated. Kalberman later agreed to resign.
Both later filed lawsuits. LaBerge took over in September 2011. During depositions for Kalberman’s and Streicker’s cases, commission employees — staff attorney Elisabeth Murray-Obertein and media specialist John Hair — claimed LaBerge bragged that she made Deal’s problems “go away” and said the governor owed her. LaBerge denied saying that, and Deal has repeatedly said he doesn’t know LaBerge, much less owe her.
Both Murray-Obertein and Hair were later fired; Murray-Obertein after a Capitol police officer reported she smelled of alcohol at work. Hair later sued the state, and he claims he was fired after LaBerge ordered him to destroy or alter records related to the Deal case and to Kalberman’s lawsuit. Murray-Obertein’s lawyers had told the state she intended to sue.