#48 - How Do Politicians Get Rich?

Posted on Thursday, September 12th, 2019 at 10:25 am by LaLonde Jewelers

Over the years I have had the pleasure or displeasure of meeting some unsavory characters. One was a gentleman from Northern Alaska. This guy was the Mayor of the North Borough, where all the oil originated in Prudhoe Bay that supplied the Alaska Pipeline.

North Slope, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

So, I was in Anchorage appraising jewelry and he sent all his jewelry to me to have it assessed.. This was 750 miles away, the same distance as New York to Atlanta. It wasn’t mailed, it was sent on his private jet.

Now, I knew Alaska was different, so I guess you can either go by dog sled or private jet. Still I was a little amazed that this Mayor of a village with 2000 people could afford a private jet. I grew up in a much larger city and I’m not sure our Mayor could afford a Cadillac.

So, when his jewelry arrives, there is a lot of it, again more than most Mayors.
You see, my job is to appraise jewelry, not figure out how how they can afford jewelry.

Alaskan Nugget Belt Buckle

Well, I worked on the jewelry for a few days and was just about finished when ol’ Gene the Mayor walked in.” How is my jewelry coming?” Here is this good looking native Alaskan guy with a tailor-made three-piece suit. Alaskan men didn't dress this way. Most Alaskans are rugged, especially from small outlying villages.

I said, “I’m just finishing and was just getting ready to clean and polish your jewelry.”

He said, “if you had cleaned my jewelry, I would not have paid you.” He continued, “that jewelry has blood from polar bears, caribou, walrus, and whales. I wear them when I hunt, they are part of me.”

Well, I learned something that day, these types are people who have a spiritual bond with what they hunt. It’s not just a hunting experience, it’s a spiritual experience. So, before I clean any gentleman’s jewelry I always ask if they are hunters and what kind of hunter.

I did find out a few years later that Gene was in charge of giving out contracts to the Oil Companies and that he got charged for tax evasion and bribery.

Alaskan Pipeline

It’s amazing how the biggest can team up with the smallest. Probably the only time in history that an Oil Company teamed up with a politician to do an unsavory deed.