Horse News

Department of Interior’s “Where Are They Now?”

SOURCE:  PPJ Gazette

by Debbie Coffey

Copyright 2013/ All Rights Reserved.


“But two of the highest-ranking officials who were subjects of the investigations will apparently escape penalty. Both retired during the investigation, rendering them safe from any administrative punishment, and the Justice Department has declined to prosecute them on the charges suggested by the inspector general.”  Their current locations and occupations cannot be verified at this time. ”


Guess where some of the Department of Interior’s personnel are now (after running wild horses off their federally protected Herd Management Areas)?

Ken Salazar

Secretary of the Department of Interior, 2009 – February, 2013

In June, 2013, it was announced that Ken Salazar became a partner in the law firm WilmerHale in Denver.  WilmerHale represented BP after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  (This huge environmental disaster happened under Salazar’s watch as Secretary of the Interior.)  What’s really funny is a quote by Salazar in the Denver Post:

“I said in 2010 I will put my boot on the neck of BP,” Salazar said. “I will be completely segregated from revenues that come in from BP. I am not going to represent BP, and I’m not going to make any money from BP now or ever.”

When asked how much money he is being paid as partner, Salazar said, “It’s a very good package.

Wilmer Hale has also represented Monsanto.  

Ron Wenker

Director of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Nevada and was even the Director of the entire BLM for awhile!

WenkerRon Wenker was arrested in 2012 for sexually abusing a girl (a relative) from the time she was 8 years old until she was 13 years old, when he was finally caught by the girl’s brother.

So, the man who led the Nevada BLM and even led the ENTIRE BLM for a short while, was quoted on as making the following statements to detectives:

“Wenker said inappropriate touching escalated to oral sex. He said his behavior was “very dumb” and “illegal.”

“Ronald added that he has a deep emotional bond with (the relative) and that he thought she was enjoying the touching as much as he was,” detectives wrote of Wenker’s interview.

“…Ronald added that he isn’t a pedophile and that he had a deep, emotional attachment and love for his (relative) that evolved into a sexual relationship,” the detectives continued. “Ronald stated that he had been struggling with the urge to have sexual contact with (the relative) over the years, but he never sought any help or counseling with the issue. Ronald stated that he was telling himself ‘no more’ but he slipped …”

Think about it.  This was happening during the time Ron Wenker was at the pinnacle of major BLM decision making and this is an example of his reasoning, judgment, and (lack of) ethics.

In May, 2013, Wenker was sentenced to three life terms after pleading guilty to Sexual Assault and Lewdness with a Minor Under the Age of 14.  He will be eligible for parole in 30 years.

Bob Abbey

Director of the Bureau of Land Management

Bob Abbey retired in May, 2012 to rejoin his family full time in Mississippi, but in June, 2012 he rejoined his old business partners in what is now called Abbey, Stubbs & Ford Inc. in Henderson, Nevada.

Their clients include the Southern Nevada Water Authority (trying to pipeline all that water out of northeastern Nevada to Las Vegas), Coyote Springs Land Co. LLC, with business connections with Harvey Whittemore (one of Sen. Harry Reid’s closest friends), who controls Coyote Springs,  a proposed development about 50 miles north of Las Vegas (which  might benefit from the pipeline). 

Other clients include BrightSource Energy, a developer of large-scale solar thermal power plants (which has plans to build a 960MW solar thermal power plant within the Coyote Springs development), pharmaceutical companies and many more.

Gale A. Norton

Secretary of the Interior, 2001-2006

Gale Norton was closely linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and after leaving the Department of the Interior, she became General Counsel for Royal Dutch Shell (oil company). 

She is now President of Norton Regulatory Strategies (Denver, CO) a company that helps “CEOs and corporate boards understand risks and evaluate the strength of company plans for energy, mining, and other land-intensive investment projects” and “prepares persuasive materials to ensure agencies consider the effect of new regulations on your business.”

She is also a Senior Advisor at Clean Range Ventures (an energy technology venture capital firm) and an Advisory Board Member at Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute.

J. Steven Griles

former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior

According to ABC news, “J. Steven Griles, the former deputy secretary at the Interior Department, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison and must pay a $30,000 fine after pleading guilty to obstructing a congressional inquiry into disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.  In pleading guilty, Griles admitted that he knowingly and willfully lied and concealed material information from senators and Senate investigators about the unique relationship that he had with Abramoff immediately prior to and during his tenure as DOI Deputy Secretary…”

Before Griles’ conviction, he left the White House to become a lobbyist for ConocoPhillips.  Steve Griles is now listed as a partner at Gresham Consulting Group (in North Carolina, but the company is also registered in Nevada).

Sue Ellen Wooldridge

Deputy Chief of Staff for Gale A. Norton, Secretary of the Interior

Norton’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Sue Ellen Wooldridge, purchased a $980,000 vacation home on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, together with two other individuals: Don R. Duncan, who was the vice president for federal and international affairs (and a lobbyist) for ConocoPhillips, and J. Steven Griles (above), her boyfriend at the time.

Nine months after buying the home with Duncan and Griles, and just before stepping down, Wooldridge approved consent decrees giving ConocoPhillips three more years to pay millions of dollars in fines for a Superfund toxic waste cleanup and install pollution controls (which are estimated to cost US$525 million) at nine of its refineries.

Wooldridge is currently listed as the manager of the Gresham Consulting Group (of which J. Steven Griles is a partner), a Business Entity filed in 2008 in Nevada.

Gregory W. Smith

was the former head of the Minerals Management Service’s Royalty-In-Kind (RIK) office in Denver, CO.  Smith and other workers at the Minerals Management Service RIK accepted lavish gifts, rigged contracts, had sex with and did illegal drugs with representatives of the oil companies.

Parts of the Department of Interior Inspector General’s report are X-Rated, so you’ll have to read the report if you want the sordid details.

The report contains many details, including “between April 2002 and June 2003, Geomatrix Consultants, Inc. (Geomatrix), an environmental and engineering consulting firm, paid Smith over $30,000 for his work in marketing Geomatrix to various oil and gas companies, most of whom, because of their business relationships with RIK, were considered prohibited sources.”

The New York Times stated this about Smith and his boss, Lucy Q. Denett: “But two of the highest-ranking officials who were subjects of the investigations will apparently escape penalty. Both retired during the investigation, rendering them safe from any administrative punishment, and the Justice Department has declined to prosecute them on the charges suggested by the inspector general.”

Their current locations and occupations cannot be verified at this time.

However, other Minerals Management Service employees were found guilty of felonies.

Not only is there a revolving door between the Department of the Interior and special interests, there is a pervasive attitude, from the leaders at the very top, down to the wranglers at wild horse holding facilities, that they are above the law and not accountable to the public.


19 replies »

  1. OMG on Ken Wenker!!! I shall BARF!!!BLAHHHHHH Lock him for good and cut his you know what off!!!…I am a mother of a 12 yr old and very protective of her… His excuses and words is repulsive to me……
    As for Ken Salazar what a Pathetic individual…I sure hope you get yours soon!!! Karma is a B@tch….A@hole…


  2. This is what I was getting at in my email yesterday – about the serious criminal histories & actions of many of BLM’s employees – particularly the contractors & their employees (employees working directly for the contractor is a loop-hole for avoiding federal background checks) – but it looks like the BLM drops the ball on background checks & supervision for their own, as well – Ron Wenker didn’t just happen to feel like sexually assaulting his “relative” for 5-6 years – she’s not the only victim – she’s just the one he got caught for – Research has shown, that unless perpetrators of children like Wenker are imprisoned, or otherwise “treated” for these crimes, they will continue abusing children until they can’t move – most stop only when they are too old to commit their crimes anymore – this seems to be the type of felonious characteristics the BLM looks for to do their dirty work for them – child abusers abusing animals – its a set pattern for them – people like this should never be allowed to “manage” anything, anywhere, let alone our National Resources. I’ll bet someone who knew Mr.Wenker at the BLM was aware of his activities & there are criminal penalties for not reporting this kind of abuse.


  3. The Land of the Free. Seems Freedom now means free from prosecution for all white collar crimes, while the living symbols of freedom are incarcerated. God Bless America.


  4. Most govt departments are revolving doors for high ranking employees. And they usually go to work for the very people they were supposed to protect their department from.I am becoming very cynical about any good ever coming out of the DOI. The BLM lost its credibility as soon as it was established by the Cattlemen’s Grazing Association. The avarice that is part of these depts that control the public lands is totally out of control. But what can you do when the fox (Salazar) is guarding the henhouse. This will not change until the American people who care rise up in undeniable numbers and demand that said change. When 80 percent of the people don’t like what is going on, those in charge need to listen. If they don’t, consequences should be the order of the day.


  5. Sadly, I am not shocked or surprised. Greed and perversion are the norm within the DOI, and especially the BLM. May God help us all!!!


  6. Great compilation, Deb!! You brought it all together, and the sad thing is, 98% of “citizens” don’t care, thinking this kind of stuff is for wonky political junkies. The elites depend on this obscurity to land their cushy jobs entangled with the agencies they formerly regulated and waved a finger at. Salazar’s annoying mug comes to mind during the disaster in the Gulf, and there he is, now employed by the thugs. GRRRR!!


  7. Ms Coffey,

    Thanks for the proverbial “roundup” of criminals that brutalize OUR lands, resources and wildlife.

    I understand Abbey is actually involved in a NV scandal between the developer, himself and the NV gov’t agency involved WHILE he was still an employee with DOI…something about the sale of land he had a financial interest in.


  8. Made a comment on KOLO TV regarding the “nominations” with a link to the above PPG article.
    Don’t think it made it thru moderation the first time – so commented again. We’ll see if there are still 0 comments!


  9. Hey guys, his name spells it all out Wenker “wanker” maybe he should have just played with his wankie by himself and left everyone else alone. And the “I fell in love routine” is a justification ploy that many pediphiles are using now in order to attempt to reduce public stigma. I think these stories need to be exposed in main stream media to allow the public to understand what “OUR” tax dollars support within the BLM all these years. If these are a few, then you know there should be questions about the rest.


    • Right, these pedophilic “ploys” made in an attempt to get sympathy, just makes them creepier than ever- that they think the general public would, or could ever sympathize with this type of twisted crime & way of thinking is a good example of the felonious way they think & the profound narcissism behind it all. They’ve obviously been covering for each other for a long time & this is another example of it. Felons beget felons.


    • Does Udall know what a felonious psychopath Salazar is? Shouldn’t he be concerned about negative publicity that could end his career by associating with Salazar? I thought New Mexico’s complacency that was part of the problem – but , maybe its the whole Southwest & other rural areas?


  10. Now just what did Salazar say about BP??? Are these guys even capable of speaking truth? He signed a right-of-way for El Paso Land Co. to build the Ruby Pipeline through our wild horse and burro territory. Who was going to use 25% to 30%.


  11. Now just what did Salazar say about BP??? Are these guys even capable of speaking truth? He signed a right-of-way for El Paso Land Co. to build the Ruby Pipeline through our wild horse and burro territory. Who was going to use 25% to 30% BP, but oh I forgot. BP has changed owners..


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