A great little sub-story in the Ted Stevens corruption saga is the battle between his oil-services-company patron, VECO Corp. CEO Bill Allen, and Allen's nephew, Dan Anderson. Anderson worked with Allen on renovations to Ted Stevens's house. But then he helped blow the Stevens story into a media frenzy when, Allen claims, he tried to blackmail Allen about it. Taking the stand in an associated corruption trial last October, Allen revealed his nephew's attempted blackmail -- and why he didn't simply kill him in retaliation for it:

"I wasn't going to kill him," Allen said under cross-examination in the bribery trial of Rep. Vic Kohring, a former Republican state legislator. "I wouldn't have done that because his mother is my sister."

At the time, Anderson intimated there was more to his feud with Allen than met the eye, but didn't say what. Yesterday, in a rambling interview that must have sent Stevens into a fury, Anderson spilled tons and tons of juicy details about the illegal renovation to the Anchorage Daily News -- tidbits like his quest, while he was a VECO employee, to find "rustic-hippy tree cutters to come out there and cut [a] tree down" to make room for Stevens's renovations -- and also revealed the source of his problems with Allen:

Anderson said that when he began dating one of Allen's girlfriends, Allen became enraged and Anderson lost his Veco job.

One of Allen's girlfriends? If people can be judged by the company they keep, Stevens ought to be political toast no matter what happens in the courtroom.

--Eve Fairbanks