Anderson Testimony Damaging To Stevens, But Judge Will Soften Blow

Dave Anderson, a former employee of VECO Corp., testified this morning in Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-Alaska) corruption trial, and he spelled out for the jury the extensive renovation of Stevens' home in Girdwood, Alaska, performed by VECO and its subcontractors. Stevens has been indicted for failing to report improper gifts from former VECO CEO Bill Allen.

Prosecutors walked Anderson through the extensive work done on Stevens' chalet, overseen by Anderson and Rocky Williams, another former VECO employee. Prosecutors showed a series of photos to Anderson, who then told the jury how they jacked up Stevens' home, poured a new foundation, built a new first floor, then did custom work on a deck, stairway and other parts of the home, and installed a generator and rope lights.

Andeson estimated that he spent "10 hours a day, six days a week" working on the home project for months, although he left Alaska for Oregon for a roughly 10-week period in late 2000.

The photos displayed by prosecutors showed extensive work in completely remodeling the home, as well as numerous construction vehicles.

But Anderson also offered some outs for the defense team, who assert that Allen, on his own authority and without Stevens' approval. Stevens' attorneys said the Alaska Republican paid every bill that he received for the renovation work, roughly $160,000, but the Justice Dept. alleges the remodeling was far more expensive than Stevens has stated, a claim that was buttressed by Anderson's testimony and the photos.

"This was basically Bill's thing," Anderson said, referring to Allen, the government's star witness in the case. "Bill wanted to do it, take care of Mr. Stevens."

Anderson also said, "Mr. Stevens didn't come out [to the Girdwood home] very much." Stevens' lawyers have said that Catherine Stevens, the senator's wife, oversaw most of the construction work.
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