Ice Alaska sues former leaders over mismanagement claims
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The organization that plans the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks is suing its former leaders, claiming mismanagement of state funds.
Ice Alaska filed the suit this week against former board leaders Hank Bartos, Dick Brickley and Hoa Brickley, seeking at least $2 million in damages, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday.
The lawsuit claims the three “knowingly and unlawfully engaged in a series of fraudulent transactions to acquire Ice Alaska’s personal assets, the Phillips Field property and other properties, with the use of state grant money.” The organization received a $2 million state grant in 2006.
The lawsuit claims they put the organization into debt to take possession of an ice park and other properties.
Bartos said the allegations are false.
“What I see is defamation. I’m going to be countersuing,” Bartos said.
Dick Brickley and Hoa Brickley did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
Three years ago, Ice Alaska gave ownership of the George Horner Ice Park to D&H Enterprises, which is owned by Dick Brickley and Hoa Brickley. The organization in 2011 had purchased the property where it has held the annual ice event.
The lawsuit accuses Bartos and the Brickleys of coercing the organizations’ board to give up the ice park by threatening that board members could be held personally liable for the debt to D&H Enterprises if they didn’t agree to give up the property. The lawsuit seeks to place the properties into a trust.
A state-required audit was conducted in 2012 following concerns about the organization’s use of the grant. The audit found problems with conflicts of interest, record keeping and accruing debt without board authorization.
In response to the audit, Hoa Brickley said in a statement they had loaned the organization money as a last resort.
“The Brickleys have personally donated more than $300,000 to Ice Alaska plus literally 1,000s of volunteer hours,” Hoa Brickley said. “To think there is a conflict of interest is clearly mistaken.”
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com