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Troopers Send Unalaska Investigation To Office Of Special Prosecutions

Berett Wilber/KUCB

State troopers have wrapped up a months-long investigation concerning at least one of Unalaska’s elected officials.

The case is now under review by the Alaska Office of Special Prosecutions, which will decide whether to pursue criminal charges.

But Unalaskans still know very little about what’s under scrutiny.

Troopers closed the investigation and compiled their findings late last week. Now, the Office of Special Prosecutions (OSP) will decide what happens next.

"They can review it and make a determination on whether or not there's anything there," says troopers spokesperson Megan Peters.

The handoff comes six months after local police confirmed the existence of the inquiry — and three months after the state took sole responsibility for it.

In that time, local officials have said only that some number of current or former members of the Unalaska City Council is under investigation.

Peters says the troopers have nothing more to add.

"I don't have any information other than OSP has it for review," she says. 

The Office of Special Prosecutions handles criminal cases that fall outside the traditional wheelhouse of a District Attorney's Office.

That includes things like cybercrime and Medicaid fraud, according to Chief Assistant Attorney General Paul Miovas.

"In addition to that, we handle situations where there's a public employee of some sort, or something where there’s a perceived conflict [of interest] with the D.A.," says Miovas. 

Unalaska cases are typically prosecuted by district attorneys based in Anchorage.

Miovas says his office will take the next month or two to review this special case and decide whether to file criminal charges.

"We try to use our discretion in a wise way so that we’re prosecuting the cases that really should be prosecuted, not just the cases that can be prosecuted," he says.

And if OSP decides not to move forward, will Unalaskans ever know what this was all about?

"You may never know the exact thought process," says Miovas. 

Depending on the case, Miovas says his office sometimes releases a public statement explaining their decision and sharing some details.

He says that often happens when they review officer-involved shootings, because community members want more transparency.

"And I understand that's the same when we're dealing with people who are in public office, especially in a smaller community," says Miovas. "I'm not saying that's something we would do in a situation like this. I'm just saying that's a possibility."

Like Troopers and city officials, Miovas has declined to comment on the scope of the case.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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