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Ex-Alaska Candidate Gets Plea Deal

January 7, 2000

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ A man once considered a top contender for governor has pleaded no contest to two charges stemming from the campaign finance problems that toppled his run for office.

As part of a plea deal reached Thursday, John Lindauer agreed not to run for public office in Alaska again and to issue a public apology. He received a one-year suspended sentence, two years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $15,000 fine.

Lindauer, a former state legislator and chancellor of the University of Alaska at Anchorage, spent $1.7 million on his campaign for governor in 1998 and easily won the Republican primary.

He claimed he was financing his campaign with his own money, but he later was forced to admit that nearly all the money came from his wealthy wife, Dorothy Oremus, heiress to a Chicago concrete business.

Under state campaign laws, contributions are limited to $500 per individual.

After the facts about his financing came out, the state Republican Party withdrew its support and Lindauer’s campaign fell apart. He finished third in the election with 17 percent of the vote, behind Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles and a Republican write-in candidate.

Lindauer’s lawyer, Peter Gruenstein, said Lindauer had made mistakes while pursuing a ``laudable goal″ of running a campaign that did not rely on special interest money.

``He has paid a very dear political price in respect to those mistakes,″ Gruenstein said. He said Lindauer plans to pursue business interests in Chicago rather than stay in Alaska.

Lindauer pleaded no contest to providing false or misleading information to the Internal Revenue Service and violating the campaign expenditure law.

He also pleaded no contest to a third charge _ submitting a false statement, a misdemeanor that was reduced from a felony perjury charge.

That stemmed from Lindauer’s claim that he received a check from the 1997 Alaska Permanent Fund _ money paid to residents who have lived in the state at least one year and who apply for the dividend. Lindauer had been accused of only moving back to Alaska from Chicago to run for governor.

His 1998 Permanent Fund application correctly showed he didn’t receive a 1997 check.

Judge Stephanie Rhoades said Lindauer’s actions were a pattern of lies that had dragged down the political process and added to the public’s bad image of politicians.

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