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Allen Ends Lengthy Testimony

Updated: 1:09 p.m.

Former VECO chief Bill Allen completed his testimony Tuesday in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) after reaffirming numerous free services he provided to the Senator, and the judge said he could “return to Alaska if you would like to.”

Allen, the chief witness, took the stand on Sept. 30 and the prosecution led him through a series of questions about the things he provided to Stevens. The government attempted to have Allen establish that he had provided thousands of dollars worth of gifts and renovations to Stevens’ home without ever asking for payment, and that Stevens knew the work was being done but made no concerted effort to make payment.

The defense during its cross-examination attempted to make the point that Stevens had made some requests for bills, and that Allen believed Stevens would pay the bills if he had been sent any. Stevens is charged with seven counts of filing false statements over an eight-year period to conceal the receipt of more than $250,000 in gifts and renovations.

The government is expected to call a handful of additional witnesses and complete its case by Wednesday or Thursday.

Allen admitted under cross-examination that by pleading guilty and cooperating with federal prosecutors, he was able to preserve millions of dollars that he had earned in the sale of his company.

Under cross-examination by Stevens’ attorney Brendan Sullivan, Allen acknowledged that the week after he was first contacted by the FBI, he sold VECO for about $380 million to contracting giant CH2M Hill. He also acknowledged that his plea agreement with the government suggested that prosecutors would view his cooperation as VECO’s cooperation.

About $70 million of the sale price was held back because of concerns about legal liability the company might have faced because of the ongoing investigation, as well as potential tax and environmental issues that are more routine in such sales, Allen said.

On the first anniversary of the sale, assuming the buyers had not incurred those costs, Allen and the other sellers would receive $30 million of that money; the rest would be due to the seller on the third anniversary of the sale.

Allen said the buyers paid about $12 million of the first installment last month, with the remainder in dispute over environmental and other liabilities unrelated to the court case.

Allen emphasized that legal considerations were not the only hurdles that were attached to this “holdback” money, and testified Monday that there was no promise from the government at the time that his cooperation would prevent VECO from being indicted.

Sullivan is clearly trying to establish the point that Allen has seen a financial benefit from agreeing to testify against Stevens, though he has not directly made that point.

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