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Scrutinized Investment Made Senator $822,000

June 15, 2005|Chuck Neubauer | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) made $822,000 last year from the sale of a controversial real estate investment with an Anchorage developer who had obtained a huge federal contract with his help, records show.

In 1997, Stevens invested $50,000 with developer Jonathan B. Rubini. Last year, at Stevens' request, Rubini and his partner bought back the senator's interests in their deals for $872,000, according to Senate financial disclosure forms made public Tuesday.

About three years after he made that investment, Stevens helped Rubini secure a $450-million Air Force housing contract. The senator had no financial interest in that deal.

Stevens and his investments have been the subject of a fact-finding inquiry by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics that he requested following a Los Angeles Times investigation of his dealings with Rubini in late 2003. The ethics inquiry is continuing.

"We believe that the majority of the issues raised have been successfully addressed by us and that we are hopefully in the final stages of the inquiry," said William B. Canfield, a Washington lawyer who represents Stevens on ethics matters.

Stevens, a member and former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has said that he never used his official position to enrich himself. He announced in early January that he had sold his shares in the Rubini companies in 2004, but did not disclose the price.

In a statement Tuesday, Stevens said that "the sales were the right thing to do to so that the other investors in those entities will no longer be subjected to the scrutiny which they experienced as a result of my small ownership interest in those enterprises. I remain confident that my investments were consistent with the rules of the Senate."

The proceeds of the sales were placed in a blind trust, Stevens said.

Stevens' initial investment expanded into interests in four Rubini companies. One built and owns a high-rise office building leased for $6 million a year to an Alaska Native corporation that has received millions of dollars in no-bid Pentagon contracts, thanks to preferences Stevens wrote into defense appropriations legislation.

Stevens also reported that he sold his interests in two additional real estate investments -- a Rubini apartment complex and a Utah subdivision being developed by another Alaska company. Stevens made slightly more than $100,000 on the sale of each, records indicate.

Stevens reported that his blind trust had more than $1 million from all the sales last year. He also reported that he paid income taxes of $100,001 to $250,000 on the sales.

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