By Suzanne Ashe
Mayor Mark Schaefer announced at the beginning of the Oct. 20, assembly meeting that Assemblyman Dan Henry had tendered his resignation.
The Skagway News had previously reported Henry has been sentenced to federal prison for 12 months and one day for failure to file his federal income taxes for his business, the Skagway Fish Co. Included in those federal indictments was mention of a failure to report earnings on state financial disclosure forms, which led to a complaint and a state investigation.
On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Henry and his attorney Robert Bundy testified in front of the Alaska Public Offices Commission that Henry had misunderstood the state financial disclosure forms. Elected officials are required to claim income earnings with the state as part of transparency disclosures.
Henry stated that when he filled out the forms, he did not earn more than $1,000 per year from the Fish Company restaurant. On the forms, Henry checked the box marking “None,” meaning he had made less than $1,000, thinking it meant there were no purchases of more than $1,000 at his business. After 2013, he corrected the mistake claiming that he earned more than $100,000 per year.
Bundy testified that Henry didn’t go to law school and to a lay-person, the forms could be confusing. This was simply a mistake, Bundy claimed.
APOC concluded that Henry’s financial reportings from 2011 to 2013 were incomplete, but that it was unclear if this was a mistake or an intentional.
APOC staff recommended a fine of $22,000. That is half of the maximum penalty allowed for the violations. The complainant, Skagway resident Roger Griffin, asked the commission to levy the full $44,000 fine. He said that Henry violated the public trust.
APOC will make a decision next week.
Henry had served on the assembly for almost 20 years; his current term ends in 2017. Schaefer will appoint a new assembly member at the next meeting, he said.
The resignation notice was given to Borough Clerk Emily Deach prior to the Oct. 20 regular meeting.
Schaefer later said he didn’t have anything to comment on regarding Henry’s resignation, which was expected. There had been numerous public requests for Henry to resign before this month’s municipal election, so his replacement could be elected rather than appointed. But the Assembly had no legal grounds to ask for his resignation until he missed a series of meetings, or until the APOC matter was decided. But Henry decided to resign now. He had missed both October meetings.
Henry was convicted on four counts of willful failure to file income tax returns between 2009 and 2012. On top of his time in prison, he will be required to pay $600,064 in restitution and will spend a year on supervised release after his sentence is complete. Henry will report to the federal correctional facility in Sheridan, Oregon on Nov. 1.
The Skagway News called Henry, but he refused to comment.
In his resignation letter, Henry stated: “Please inform the Mayor and Assembly that as of today, I am resigning from the Skagway City Assembly , and please relay to all that it has been my pleasure and most profound honor to serve on the Council and Assembly for the past 20 years. I believe Skagway to be in the best position financially in its existence and with a bright future ahead. I would like to feel that I may have aided in that evolution and hope for Skagway’s continued growth and prosperity. Best Regards, Dan Henry.”