The Inspector Generals Office of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) descended on KCTS-TV this week. Two CPB staff members, including Deputy Inspector General David Tanner, were to spend the week at the public station to look over financial records and meet with management and board members. Were gathering data about whats been happening and why its been happening, says Inspector General Ken Konz. Earlier this year, a long-brewing financial crisis, including the questionable handling of donated funds, led to the ouster of former station chief Burnill Clarkand deep cuts in budget and staff. Konz says the results of CPBs preliminary work will determine whether his office will conduct a full-fledged audit of the station. If it were to audit KCTS and find transgressions, the quasi- governmental CPB could reduce the amount of federal money the station gets. But CPBs Tanner says he is trying to be positive, looking not so much to assign blame but to learn what went wrong as an object lesson for public stations around the country. Says interim KCTS CEO Bill Mohler: "Were going to open up the books." NINA SHAPIRO
When the Seattle Sonics lose, so does the city treasury. Thats because the city borrowed $74 million to help remodel KeyArena for the basketball franchise in 1995. From now until the debt is paid off in 2015, the city has to pay $6.4 million annually to creditors, explains Seattle Center spokesperson Perry Cooper. The citys revenue stream from the arena includes money from sales of suites, club seats, and concessions at Sonics games. When the Sonics stink up the joint, like they did last year and like they will probably do again this season, the citys revenues fall. In 2001, KeyArena lost $835,000, and last year the deficit was $2.3 million. Cooper stresses the positive: KeyArenas net revenues since 1995 are more than $1 million in the black. He notes the Sonics revenues are not the only factor. KeyArena is also used for the Seattle Storm, the Seattle Thunderbirds, and a variety of concerts and extravaganzas. The recession, Cooper says, has hit the entertainment sector very hard, so sales and rentals have been a problem throughout Seattle Center. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
He was a Seattle merchant-mariner-turned-terrorist back when terrorism wasnt always lurking around the corner. And last week the 1983 conviction of Edwin P. Wilson, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who sold 21 tons of plastic C-4 explosive to Libyan Col. Muammar Qaddafi, was termed a double-crossing and was reversed by a federal court in Texas. A judge said U.S. prosecutors used false testimonya dishonest [CIA] memorandum issued from a bunker in Langley, Va.to send him to prison, where hes been for 20 years of a 52-year term. Now 75, the Idaho-born Wilson made his first overseas trips as a Seattle-based mariner in the 1950s, then became a CIA agent and eventually an international arms merchant who supplied Libya and other terrorist states in the 1970s. Author Peter Maas, who wrote a book about Wilson titled Manhunt, said in a 1986 Seattle interview that some of Wilsons C-4 was likely used that year by Libyan terrorists to kill four Americans aboard a TWA jetliner en route from Rome to Athens. Though Wilson was convicted of two other related charges, reversal of the arms-sales conviction could mean hell be eligible for parole this year. RICK ANDERSON