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'Squeaky wheel' Arnesen finds irony in payouts of Tyco funds payouts


CONCORD - Anyone who has ever worked with Arnie Arnesen knows she has attitude. In fact, she now has a radio show called "The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen," on WNHN, 94.7 FM in Concord.

A fixture on the New Hampshire political scene throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she's more recently adopted the mantle of liberal media commentator.

She was a state representative from Orford from 1984 to 1992, and the Democratic nominee for governor in 1992. She also ran for Congress in 1996 and was on the board of Common Cause in the 1990s.

Nowadays, she said, "I specialize in being a squeaky wheel."

Arnesen said she's followed the Tyco settlement from its earliest days and was incensed when the announcement came down in July, after 10 years, that UNH and St. Anselm College would get the money.

She first approached the Legislative Ethics Committee, since the Secretary of State serves at the pleasure of the Legislature, but was told the matter was not in that committee's jurisdiction. So she took her case to the attorney general.

"If it wasn't the Tyco money, I might not have paid attention," she said, "but I so followed that Tyco story. He (Dennis Kozlowski) was the bad boy of corporate America, and everyone was so excited because the settlement was supposed to be invested in higher education."

She's hammered away at the disposition of the Tyco funds on her radio program, with guests like Barry Glennon, director of Bureau of Securities Regulation in the Secretary of State's Office.

"We don't hear anything for half a decade, and then all of the sudden, out of nowhere, they announce they are going to give the money to these two institutions," she said. "I'm curious as to how they made their decision."

Given the purpose of the Tyco funds, the irony of the situation is obvious, she said:

"How do current and future corporate and nonprofit leaders and investors learn about openness, transparency, fair competition, ethics and merit when the settlement cash from Tyco's corporate malfeasance, intended to teach such, is distributed by a process devoid of openness, transparency, fair competition, ethics and merit?"-

dsolomon@unionleader.com

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