Alaskans remember Lindauer

Posted: Friday, March 12, 2004

ANCHORAGE The woman accused of working for the Iraqi intelligence agency is the daughter of John Lindauer, a former Alaska gubernatorial candidate whose campaign disintegrated under legal scrutiny.

''That's her, man. I'm shaking like a dog,'' former state Rep. Vern Hurlbert said after catching the image of Susan Lindauer on television. ''Oh it's unbelievable.''

Lindauer, 41, was arrested on charges she served as a paid Iraqi agent before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

A former journalist and one-time press secretary for four members of Congress, Lindauer is accused of conspiring to spy for the Iraqi agency and engage in financial dealings for the government of Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

''Boy, I would just really, really, really doubt that she would do that,'' said Hurlbert, who met Lindauer through her father when the family lived in Anchorage in the early 1980s.

Brian Parsons, a fish processing engineer in Cordova, remembered Lindauer as a ''bit of a wild card'' in the mid-1980s when they both lived in Unalaska. At the time, Lindauer edited one of 10 rural weeklies in a media chain owned by her father and late mother, Jackie Lindauer.

''She was a little on the radical side just her lifestyle. She was the kind of an individual that set her own pace and had her own way of doing things,'' said Parsons, 53, who has since lost contact with Susan Lindauer.

That was long before the elder Lindauer's descent from Republican gubernatorial front-runner to political pariah.

A former University of Alaska Anchorage chancellor, John Lindauer served a two-year term in the state House until 1984 and owned a chain of rural newspapers and radio stations.

He dropped largely out of sight after his Alaska Rural Newspapers Inc. collapsed in the early 1990s, then emerged in politics after marrying Chicago attorney and heiress Dorothy Oremus in 1995.

In 1998, Lindauer won the GOP gubernatorial primary after claiming he was using his own money to fund a lavish campaign that swamped rivals in television and radio advertising.

The campaign self-destructed after he admitted Oremus was paying most of the tab. The Republican Party of Alaska withdrew its support, and Lindauer received only 17 percent of the vote as incumbent Democrat Tony Knowles coasted to a second term.

After his loss, Dorothy and John Lindauer moved to Chicago.

But his Alaska ties followed him and in 2000 he pleaded no contest to providing false or misleading information about money he owed to the Internal Revenue Service, violating campaign expenditure laws and unsworn falsification, a charge of felony perjury that was reduced to a misdemeanor.

As part of a plea agreement, Lindauer received a one-year suspended sentence and was placed on probation for two years. He agreed not to run for political office in Alaska again and to issue a public apology.

A week after his plea, Lindauer apologized in newspaper ads in the state's three largest newspapers.

''I acknowledge and publicly apologize for knowingly misleading statements during my 1998 campaign for governor regarding the financing of my campaign,'' he wrote.

Lindauer went on to say he regretted any harm done to the integrity of the election process, adding he hoped the public's faith in the process could be restored.

Associated Press Writer Patty Sullivan in Anchorage contributed to this story.

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