The crux of the Duke Energy Corp scandal surrounds the company’s $2.8 billion power plant located in Southern Indiana. Michael Reed, president of Indiana operations, and Scott Storms, regulatory affairs lawyer, both based out of the Plainfield Indiana office were fired, according to a newsletter announcement that went out to employees.
Duke Energy Corp had been hit hard when it came to the attention of the public that Reed and Storms created a conflict of interest by proposing to raise fees for consumers while discussing a job opportunity for Storms with Duke. Specifically, Reeds was speaking to Storms about a job opportunity with the company while Storms was an administrative law judge for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. During Storms’ term as an administrative law judge, he ruled on Duke Initiatives that help to pass cost overruns for its coal gasification plant in Edwardsport onto customers.
Duke hired the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Duke to investigative the matter internally. Based on the attorney’s findings, Storms and Reed were fired. Duke has revealed some of internal information with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Indiana State Ethics Commission had initially granted permission for Storms to work for Duke Energy Corporation. However, the ethics panel would like to review the case a second time. The question now becomes was the government made aware of Reed and Storms discussions about employment while Storms was employed by the government.
Watchdog groups believe this is a clear case of conflict of interest and a state ethics code violation. Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana and Common Cause/Indiana would like to see a federal investigation on this matter.
Burton Padove, Indiana and Illinois lawyer, is available to help those who are injured because of wrongful termination. He can be reached at (877) 446 5294.