A couple of days ago, Mike Magnoli of KALB interviewed Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy about the prospective resolution of the City of Alexandria versus Cleco case. The entire interview can be watched here. Check it out.
The joint statement issued by Cleco and the City reads (bold mine):
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 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.
The dispute has been going on for well over two years, and it appears to be approaching a conclusion. From the Town Talk (bold mine):
In 2005, however, the city of Alexandria alleged in a lawsuit that Cleco committed fraud in a number of ways, including bidding up the price of electricity and then selling it to an unsuspecting Alexandria market.
Monday’s statement, which U.S. District Judge Dee Drell on May 23 ordered both sides to compose, also alluded to the complexities of selling power and proving fraud in a courtroom….
KPMG, an international consulting company, in early 2007 completed an audit of the city-Cleco transactions. Alexandria had its consultants with R.W. Beck overlook KPMG’s work. There is no mention of R.W. Beck’s report in Monday’s joint statement.
Roy said 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.
By the way, although I work in the Mayor’s Office, I am not “in the know” about the details of this case, only the timeline of events. Negotiations and discussions are always discussed with the strictest scrutiny toward the judge’s orders.
It’s also worth noting that this process began way before Mayor Roy took office. Indeed, the resolution has been a long time coming.