It's top shelf all the way when utility companies are treating
By LOUIS HAU
Published May 8, 2006
Who says utility companies aren't a generous lot? Turns out that Progress Energy Florida and Tampa Electric were among those that paid for a swanky 2002 dinner in Miami Beach that has two former state utility regulators in hot water, according to an investigation by the Florida Commission on Ethics.
The ethics commission found probable cause last month that former Florida Public Service commissioners Braulio Baez and Rudy Bradley had violated state ethics rules against receiving gifts from regulated utilities when they attended a private dinner arranged by ex-PSC commissioner Susan Clark, who was working at the time as a lawyer for the Tallahassee law firm of Katz Kutter Haigler Alderman, Bryant & Yon. The dinner, which cost $5,197.26, or about $200 a person, was attended by other PSC personnel, including then-general counsel Harold McLean, who is now public counsel.
The ethics commission investigation found that seven Katz Kutter clients split the bill for the dinner, including Progress, Tampa Electric, Florida Power & Light and BellSouth.
The final bill for the dinner reveals that the utilities provided a lavish spread. About half of those dining had an $82 fillet of sea bass, while the other half opted for an $88 beef tenderloin.
They washed it all down with an ample supply of wine, beer and mixed drinks, including seven bottles of a $75 Sonoma-Cutrer chardonnay, four bottles of a $55 Mercury Les Rochelles chardonnay and six bottles of a $60 Cotes de Beaune Joseph Drouhin pinot noir. The liquor bill came to $1,825.99.
[Last modified May 8, 2006, 08:36:48]
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