From Modern Care
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s ownership in a carwash was nothing more
than a real estate investment. Although she and her husband, Todd Palin,
did hold a 40 percent stake in a company called Anchorage Car Wash LLC,
the business never got off the ground, according to Carolin Wells, one
of Palin’s partners in the aborted venture.
“Things happened on
both sides, and we never even got it going. We just sold the land and
went on our merry way,” said Wells, who held 60 percent of the company
with her husband Ray. “There was just nothing really but a land deal. I
did go and get an LLC right away just to protect us because, when we
first started, we thought we were going to go ahead [with the project].”
The Washington Post
reported Sept. 2 that the Republican candidate for vice president had
been part of a failed Anchorage carwash while she was mayor of Wasilla.
The Post said Palin failed to disclose her interest in the
company when filing paperwork as a candidate for governor in Alaska’s
While Anchorage Car Wash LLC was technically still
registered with the state when Palin campaigned for the governorship,
the Wells and Palins had already sold the property and parted ways by
the time Palin filed her financial disclosure forms with the state.
to state records, Wells filed a certificate of organization for the
company in 2004, listing herself as the registered agent. She also
outlined in an initial biennial report that the Wells each held 30
percent of the company and the Palins 20 percent. There is no record of a
business license for Anchorage Car Wash LLC on file with the state,
which would have been required to run an operating business.
records show that the Wells and Palins purchased a plot of commercial
property in Anchorage on July 1, 2004 and then sold it for a small
profit Jan. 4, 2006. Records also show Palin filed financial disclosure
forms for her governor’s race June 1, 2006, nearly five months after the
land was sold.
So what happened?
“I had always wanted to do
a carwash,” Wells said, explaining that her husband knew Todd Palin’s
brother, who initially spoke to the Palins on the Wells’ behalf. After
some discussion, the Palins agreed to be silent partners, she noted.
project ran out of steam, however, when the man hired to run the
operation backed out. Neither the Wells nor Palins had the desire to run
a carwash day-to-day, she said.
“We just decided to disband it,”
Wells said. “It was actually just an investment for both of us over a
piece of property as it turned out.”
Once the property sold, Wells
did not maintain current registration with the state. Alaska requires
businesses file biennial reports every two years. Wells did not file a
second biennial report for the company, due Jan. 2, 2006, two days
before signing deed papers for the sale of the land.
division of corporations, business and professional licensing didn’t
issue a customary, 60-day notice requesting the biennial report and
associated fees until Feb. 11, 2007. When Wells did not respond to the
letter, the state issued an involuntary dissolution of Anchorage Car
Wash on April 3, 2007. Gov. Palin took office Dec. 4, 2006.
sounding ominous, involuntary dissolutions are fairly common. Alaska
averages approximately 675 such terminations each year, according to
Gordon Evans, a business registration examiner with the state.
Dissolutions occur primarily, he said, due to failure to maintain a
registered agent or file biennial reports.
“We have had a number
of people actually request to be involuntarily dissolved,” Evans said,
noting that even in such cases, the state must still issue a 60-day
notice and follow typical involuntary dissolution procedures.
also said it is not unusual for companies to register with the state
but never actually conduct business. For example, several foreign
corporations are on record in Alaska and maintain current paperwork but
do not actively operate businesses. “They’re not even doing business
here,” Evans stated, “but they want the corporation in place just in
Companies that ultimately do not maintain a registered
agent, file a biennial report or pay associated licensing fees do not
need to notify the state or provide any reasons for the inactivity, he