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Alaska Teachers Slam Dan Sullivan Over Latest Ad, “Alaska’s Teachers”


ANCHORAGE — This week U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan released a television ad bragging about his decision to settle a pension lawsuit for twenty cents on the dollar, costing Alaska over $2 billion. The Sullivan ad offers a glaring misrepresentation of his role in the Mercer lawsuit he “personally” settled to the detriment of hardworking Alaskans.

As attorney general, Sullivan proclaimed nearly certain victory in a lawsuit to reclaim billions in damages from the Wall Street Company, Mercer. Dan Sullivan even testified to the state legislature that the state was in line to receive over $2 billion. Yet he went on to cut a deal awarding Alaska an undervalued figure of $400 million while paying out nearly $100 million to the New York City law firm hired for the case. Alaska received 20 cents on the dollar. By comparison, Milwaukee County received 45 cents on the dollar for a similar lawsuit against Mercer.

Here’s what educators in Alaska have to say about Dan Sullivan’s misleading claims:

“Dan Sullivan assumes Alaskan teachers are fools if he thinks we’re going to let him re-write history about his role in costing our retirement fund billions of dollars. I have been teaching in Alaska for 25 years and I know that members of the ARM board were extremely upset when Sullivan bailed out of a lawsuit against the actuarial firm that was giving the State bad advice regarding the Teacher‘s Retirement System. Sullivan’s bad decision cost us billions of dollars back then and continues to adversely affect the Alaskan education system today. Teachers are working hard to educate Alaska’s children and make our state a better place to live. Mark Begich is working hard to help support Alaskan teachers and improve our working conditions. Dan Sullivan’s decisions have worked against us,” said Fairbanks public school teacher Larry Ehnert.

“Dan Sullivan settled the Mercer lawsuit on the backs of thousands of hardworking Alaskans. His decision to settle cost Alaskans over $2 billion and he paid almost $100 million of the settlement to an Outside law firm. When you take actions like that, you send a clear message that your loyalties are not with Alaska,” said Peggy Wilcox of APEA/AFT.

“No one to date is responsible for “rescuing” the pension system from failing. Especially not Dan Sullivan,” said 24 year Anchorage public school teacher, Marilyn Pillifant.

“Dan Sullivan sold us out when he settled a case he spent months proclaiming was due for certain victory with a potential award of $2 billion. If Dan Sullivan calls accepting 20 cents when you’re owed a dollar a victory then we must have different definitions of the word. I spent 32 years in the classroom and paid into the state’s retirement system, it took one year as attorney general for Dan Sullivan to sell out my future,” said retired Anchorage teacher, Rod McCoy.

“As attorney general, Dan Sullivan agreed to a gross deal for the thousands of Alaskans with a stake in our state retirement system after saying he would win the Mercer lawsuit. Sullivan delivered nearly $100 million of our money to a New York City law firm after making a decision not to pursue the corrupt folks at Mercer for the estimated $2 billion in damages. Alaska’s public employees deserve better than Dan Sullivan,” said Alaska State Employees Association Executive Director, Jim Duncan.