03 June 2008

city of alexandria and cleco agree in principal to settle fraud lawsuit - wheres the beef?

according to this mornings ganett/town talk, cleco and the city of alexandria released the following joint statement:

"The city of Alexandria and Cleco Corporation hereby jointly issue the following statement in connection with their agreement in principle to resolve the litigation pending between them before U.S. District Judge Dee Drell.

"The parties have agreed in principle to resolve all disputes relating to Cleco's past supply of power to Alexandria. Accounting for past transactions between the two entities is complex and based on numerous variables and assumptions. In light of this complexity, the mediation process was chosen over a trial to preserve a basis for a future business arrangement between the city and Cleco.

Because of that choice, no findings were contemplated or made by the mediation process with regard to fraud, and the KPMG report made no findings of fraud. The city of Alexandria and Cleco have arrived at a business judgment resolution that is forward looking. In that new agreement, Alexandria would continue to receive electricity and power services from Cleco under a new long-term contract that promises substantial savings to the city's electric customers and Cleco would continue to contribute to the city's growth and prosperity."
it looks like that if the city of alexandria, la. and cleco have agreed 'in principal' (which the insertion of the words 'in principal' seems to give either and/or both party's some wiggle room to back out) to settle their differences, so then why isnt all the court records including the audit being released to the citizenry in order for them to review the documents and audit in order to give an informed opinion to their respective council members as to how they would like for them to proceed?

according to the accompanying gannett/town talk article (see link) alexandria, la. mayor jacques roy "[S]aid late Monday that eventually the public would have access to information on which city officials have based decisions, including parts of the Beck report not covered by Judge Drell's gag order, issued in early 2006 as Cleco and Alexandria prepared for the audit. Drell's order that seals the audit and prohibits those in the know from talking still stands."

why wont judge drell dissolve his gag order and let the citizenry see the court papers before any final and binding agreement is signed? it seems that what is going to happen is that a deal will be signed and then 'eventually' meaning after the fact, the court records and audit will be released at some unknown time in the future.

judge drell should dissolve his gag order and release all the court records including the audit before any final agreement between the city and cleco is signed so that the citizenry can review and have their say. anything less than that gives the appearance that the judge is covering up for corporate and governmental interests to the detriment of the citizenry to whom he is supposed to serve.