Former Rainier park chief profited from cozy deal

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ASHFORD, Wash. (AP) -- A new report says that the former superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park was promoted to head Grand Canyon National Park this summer even though he'd been previously reprimanded for selling his home to a contractor at far more than market value.

An investigation by The Seattle Times (http://bit.ly/pWeTBn) revealed that David Uberuaga (oo-bur-AH'-gah) was reprimanded by the Park Service in 2008 after investigators learned he sold his three-bedroom home in Ashford for $425,000 to Peter Whittaker, whose company, Rainier Mountaineering Inc., then held a multimillion-dollar monopoly as the park's official climbing-guide service. The sale took place six years earlier, and the price was more than three times the home's assessed value.

Uberuaga conceded the sale looked suspicious, but said it wasn't a kickback.

Whittaker told the Times he paid a premium on the land in part to keep a competitor from buying it.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com