When U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller and wife Kathleen applied for their low-income resident fishing, hunting and trapping licenses in 1995, they were homeowners with a mortgage and embarking on an extensive remodel of their Hillside property.
Since our initial reports on Monday in the Politics blog and Wednesday in the print newspaper, we‘ve gotten files on the Miller property from the state recorder‘s office and two city offices — property appraisal and the building safety division, which issues building permits and inspects the work that was done.
In 1995, residents who qualified for the low-income fish and game license paid $5 instead of the regular $55 fee. Non-residents paid $300.
The Alaska resident low-income license requires a person to have been a permanent Alaska resident for the previous 12 months. The person must also either be on welfare or have an annual family gross income of less than $8,200 for the year before applying for the license.
The public records raise new questions about the indigent status of the Millers, who, before they got the low-income licenses, were able to obtain a mortgage and start the remodel that would more than double the size of the home.
Original Home: Anchorage assessor photo of the original Hillside home purchased by the Millers in 1994.
Miller was a second-year Yale law school student in 1994 when he and Kathleen Miller came to Alaska.
According to a resume he provided the state when he applied for a judgeship in 2004, he worked as an intern from July to August 1994 in an Anchorage law firm. Then, from August to January 1995, he said he was an intern for the state law department in Alaska and in New Haven, Conn., where Yale is located.
He didn‘t say in the judicial application how he divided his time in the state internship between Alaska and Connecticut, but in any event he returned to school for the 1995 spring semester before getting his law degree that May. A campaign spokesman said Kathleen Miller remained in Alaska during that time, and that Joe Miller made several flights back to the state.
On Sept. 19, 1994, Joe and Kathleen Miller bought a modest Hillside ranch home. Public records don‘t say what he paid, but in 1994 the city appraised the home and its acre lot at $98,500. The original house, built in 1982, was about 1,000 square feet, according to the assessor‘s office.
A Miller campaign spokesman, Randy Desoto, said earlier this week that the home was purchased with the sale of some of the farmland Miller owned in Kansas, his state of birth.
But the public records also show Miller and his wife took out a $92,000 mortgage from the California company Countrywide to buy the Hillside property. The recorder‘s office document, a deed of trust showing that the property was collateral for the loan, doesn‘t contain the actual promissory note; the payments, interest rate and term aren‘t available from public documents.
The public records don‘t show when the addition was begun or when the new structure became habitable. A photograph in the assessors file, dated December 1997, shows the new two-story structure appearing to be complete. The city granted a certificate of occupancy on July 10, 1998.
The assessed value of the property jumped from $93,100 in 1997 to $201,800 in 1998.
Miller became a state magistrate in Tok in 1998. He and Kathleen sold the Hillside home in 2003, about a year after they had moved to Fairbanks. He never again purchased a low-income fish and game license, though she did one more time, in 1996, according to state records.