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Chair: Trust board takes leak concern seriously

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on the release of a preliminary Alaska audit (all times local):

4 p.m.

The chair of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority’s board says the trust takes seriously concerns about a leaked audit that were referred to the state Department of Law.

In a statement, Mary Jane Michael says the trust will support any Department of Law effort to address the concerns.

She says the board, in the meantime, will continue its work.

On Tuesday, state Sen. Bert Stedman asked the Department of Law to review whether the leaking of a confidential audit merits prosecution.

Stedman said it was discovered during an audit of the trust authority that its CEO, Mike Abbott, had released a copy of the preliminary audit to a reporter. Stedman said preliminary audits are considered confidential documents.

Misuse of confidential information is a misdemeanor.

1:30 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Law says referrals for investigation from the state Legislature are infrequent.

Cori Mills says by email that when a referral is received, the department reviews it and works with law enforcement to obtain the necessary information to evaluate whether criminal charges are warranted.

She says such investigations are confidential.

On Tuesday, state Sen. Bert Stedman sent a letter asking the department to review whether the leaking of a confidential audit merits prosecution.

Stedman said it was discovered during an audit of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority that its CEO, Mike Abbott, had released a copy of the preliminary audit to a reporter. Stedman said preliminary audits are considered to be confidential documents.

Misuse of confidential information is a misdemeanor.

11 a.m.

An Alaska lawmaker wants the state Department of Law to review whether the leaking of a confidential audit merits prosecution.

State Sen. Bert Stedman said it was discovered during an audit of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority that its CEO, Mike Abbott, had released a copy of the preliminary audit to a reporter.

Stedman said preliminary audits are considered to be confidential documents. In a statement, the Sitka Republican says the confidentiality of audits in progress must be maintained.

Stedman chairs the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee. His vice-chair, Democratic Rep. Andy Josephson, says he supports Stedman’s position.

Misuse of confidential information is a misdemeanor.

Messages seeking comment were left for Abbott and the Mental Health Trust Authority, and the Department of Law.

AP-WF-07-19-18 0003GMT

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