Mayor Charlie Pierce resigned due to workplace harassment situation, not to focus on gubernatorial campaign

Today, Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) Mayor Charlie Pierce announced he is resigning as mayor to focus on his campaign for governor. In a statement sent from the campaign, Pierce said he “announced today that he is stepping down as KPB Mayor and will focus full time on his campaign for Governor of Alaska. He had earlier committed to stepping down after the August Primary.”

However, the Landmine has learned that is not the real reason for his resignation. Multiple sources confirm that Pierce, a Republican candidate for governor, has been under investigation by the Kenai Peninsula Borough for workplace harassment of a Borough employee. The Landmine has been aware of this for several weeks but was unable to corroborate the allegations. Now, we have learned the alleged victim is on paid leave from the Borough stemming from the investigation. When we contacted the Borough to speak to the employee, we were told the employee is “on vacation.”

The settlement allegedly requires a cash payment to the employee and that Pierce resign as mayor. Calls and texts to Pierce and his campaign manager for comment went unanswered. The Borough attorney would not answer questions, instead sending a prepared statement:

The KPB Legal Department received Mayor Charlie Pierce’s resignation from office tendered on August 26, 2022 and effective September 30, 2022.

It is expected that the KPB Assembly will address the issue of a vacancy in the office of the mayor at its next regularly scheduled meeting in accordance with the process proscribed under State law. Operations at the borough are not impacted. Operations will continue as normal and all public services remain open for business.

Next week we will publish a publicly available memorandum to the Assembly regarding the succession process. It is a process outlined under Alaska Statutes, Title 29. With respect, the KPB Legal Department will not comment on that process prior to publication of its recommendations to the Assembly. I anticipate that the memo will be available Tuesday (8/30) afternoon.

The KPB Legal Department has no further comment at this time.

An executive session item regarding an “Attorney-client discussion regarding litigation strategy on a specific legal matter that may have an immediate adverse effect on the finances of the borough” was added to Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting agenda.

Pierce and his running mate Edie Grunwald are in fourth place in the gubernatorial primary. The top-four tickets advance to the November ranked choice general election. The withdrawal deadline for the general election is September 5. If Pierce were to withdraw from the ticket before September 5, his running mate Edie Grunwald would become the gubernatorial candidate and would then pick a new running mate. If they were to both withdraw, the fifth place finisher, Representative Christopher Kurka (R – Wasilla) and his running mate Paul Hueper would be moved up.

This is a developing story.

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Renae
1 month ago

Hmmmm. Where have we seen this play book before? Man starts to become a threat politically, and BOOM, all of a sudden he’s under investigation for some kind of sexual misconduct. Yawn. Sorry if I just don’t buy it anymore. Prove it. Until then, he’s innocent. That’s the ONLY way our society can function.

Careful – your bias is showing.

turbodigits
1 month ago
Reply to  Renae

I didn’t see anything in the story about sexual misconduct. Did you?

Renae
1 month ago
Reply to  turbodigits

You know, you’re absolutely right. I stand corrected. Thank you.

Dumbo
1 month ago
Reply to  Renae

The article doesn’t mention sexual misconduct.

Elstun Lauesen
1 month ago

The Republican Party is a rattler’s nest of poisonous snakes whose goals are to satisfy their craving for legitimacy. Pierce? Perhaps Kurka? What a pair of needy, insecure goblins. I will guess that both of those candidates have spent exponentially more time fantasizing about the trappings of power than pondering the challenges of governance. The last thing Alaska needs are incompetent bullies gaining access to the levers of power.

Ryan Nelson
1 month ago
Reply to  Elstun Lauesen

Hmm they were quick to cover it up when it was mayor Berkowitz, now we have an unproven allegation and all of a sudden a hit piece?

Actual credentialed journalist (retired)
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryan Nelson

What coverup? Berkowitz shared a voicemail in which Athens was fucking crazy, then resigned the next day while explaining exactly why he was resigning.

Mommy Carlo
1 month ago
Reply to  Elstun Lauesen

Pretty bigoted statement. Are you sure the conservatives are snakes? Incompetent bullies? Or are you on the scandal bandwagon?

NAV
1 month ago
Reply to  Elstun Lauesen

You have no clue about Alaska politics and what goes on in Juneau much less KPB.

Floridawoman
1 month ago

Thnx Jeff….solid investigative reporting on this one.

Doug
1 month ago

As a Person who has followed politics for decades, these accusations are without a doubt from a disgruntled employee who appears to be cashing in on the Borough and the tax payers before they possibly could find themselves with out a job Possible up coming administration , it’s really amazing how simple it is to extort money from the tax payers. It’s sad now days rather then deal with a long court process that takes months if not years, the Goverment entities are forced to settle for Cash pay outs rather then fight a battle that would drag on for… Read more »

WinterSun
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug

This is nothing but speculation based on the writer’s own grievances. Not one fact or statistic is cited.

Harassment definitely does happen, in many occupations. And certainly the KPB would have investigated and substantiated any such claim before coming to any settlement. They wouldn’t just cave.

Hugh Wade
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug

How do you know? Aren’t you maybe jumping to conclusions here? What facts do you know that support “without a a doubt from a disgruntled employee who appears to be cashing in on the Borough and the tax payers before they possibly could find themselves with out a job Possible up coming administration.” Really, you’re stating this as insdisputable truth, when really it’s just an opinion? An opinion based on what?

DLB
1 month ago

harassment? Really? Now? why now? did he have to ask he person to do their job several times? That harassment? I’m tired of this shit coming up right when the politics are involved. Unless there is more information made public… yawn…..

suze young
1 month ago
Reply to  DLB

As borough taxpaters, this isn’t the first time we will be paying for bad behavior. And the other times have NOT NOT been during election time.

Suze
1 month ago
Reply to  DLB

I suspect you have not spent much time watching CP “manage” the business of the borough. We have lost numerous qualified, professional dedicated borough employees because of his “leadership” style, aka bullying. And then there are the previous bad actions we taxpayers have gotten to subsidize. And then there are the unqualified persons he has hired – but that’s another story. One got passed on to Gov. D where they eventually checked his credentials (either CP didn’t check or didn’t care) and he got sent back to the peninsula. So much more…

Shelia
1 month ago

Interesting timing. Remember Troopergate? That disappeared right after the election, but served its purpose in helping to defeat Sean Parnell, who had a lead in the polls at the time. Walker won that race. If Pierce is taken out of the race, that leaves Dunleavy virtually alone vs. the combination of Walker and Gara, both supported in part by a donation by Walker’s law firm. Together Walker and Gara total over 40% in the polls. Dunleavy doesn’t have a significant enough lead to beat that combination of votes at this time. And Kurka is virtually out of it. Factor in… Read more »

suze young
1 month ago
Reply to  Shelia

We agree totally on your last sentence. The coming week is guaranteed to have new reveals that will benefit the citizens of the borough and the voters.

James
1 month ago
Reply to  Shelia

Troopergate involved the Palin administration, and while Parnel was part of that administration, he wasn’t involved in Troopergate at all.

wlmleitch
1 month ago

But wait, there’s more. Soon, we will see more of similar behavior from the Walker / Mallot administration. Seriously. Wait. Those who note the nexus of politics and former bad behavior of candidates are correct. But don’t jump to the conclusion that it is a well-engineered conspiracy of some sort. Usually, it stems from real people who know a candidate too well – the candidate’s strengths as well as their deep flaws – and the whistleblower(s) can’t bear to see that candidate climb the ladder to achieve higher authority – so they speak up. Stand by. Walker will have some… Read more »

NAV
1 month ago

The only work place harrassment is most likely due to cry babys who are pink pussyhat card carrying liberals paid by criminal in charge. How about it Penny you or Francis want to chim in ?

Hugh Wade
1 month ago
Reply to  NAV

Just like Clarkson? Why so quick to dismiss when you just don’t know?

V907
29 days ago

This wreaks of a “Stormy Daniels” situation. Charlie is gaining momentum so the Libs and Rinos have to try and smear him? What page is this in the ” installed politicians” playbook?

Suze
27 days ago
Reply to  V907

I