AIF's Bishop calls for IG investigation into Argenziano's messages to aide
Associated Industries of Florida pulled out the stops Thursday in the case to promote Florida Power & Light's $1.3 billion rate hike, and called for an investigation of Public Service Commissioner Nancy Argenziano for "consistently and knowingly violating her oath of office."
AIF President Barney Bishop cited numerous BlackBerry PIN messages, first sought by the Herald/Times and obtained by several news organizations, between Argenziano and her former aide, Larry Harris. Argenziano fired Harris, and helped him get reassigned to the general counsel's office, after the Herald/Times reported that he and other PSC aides had given their PIN codes to an FPL lobbyist.
AIF did not single out any other commissioner for an investigation by the PSC's inspector general. The same records show that Commissioner Lisa Edgar sent PIN messages to FPL lobbyists Jorge Chamizo and told the Herald/Times: "I don't even know what they are. I don't use them. I don't PIN ... I do not recall receiving them ... I don't think I have ever gotten a PIN from FPL."
AIF, which has filed to be an intervenor in the rate case has posted the PIN records on its web site. FPL Vice President Ed Tancer serves on FPL's board. Here's the AIF release: Download AIF calls for investigation of PSC Commissioner Argenziano.
Here are some excerpts of the PIN messages:
When the Public Service Commission changed their BlackBerry accounts in March 2008, the agency downloaded all information on the phones to make sure no data was lost in the transition.
Included in the data sweep were about 3,000 private messages, sent through the BlackBerry PIN service, including nearly 2,000 between Argenziano and her aide. Because PIN messages were normally not retained on the server, staff and commissioners could use them to avoid having them scrutinized under the public records laws. These offer a window into the usually unrecorded conversations:
* From Progress Energy Attorney Paul Lewis to Commissioner Lisa Edgar's aide, Roberta Bass, on Mar 11, 2008 3:38 p.m.: "Sorry I missed your call. Alex glenn in town wed and thur. We wanted to stop by and visit thur after lunch on the 2 nuke cases. Maybe around 130 if u r open Paul''
Bass replied: "Hey 1:30 works for me. Come visit''
Lewis: "Sounds good. C ya then''
(Bass told the Herald/Times Wednesday that this was a meeting scheduled with me to discuss two cases that PEF had filed on March 11, 2008.)
* From FPL lobbyist Jorge Chamizo to Bill Garner, the chief policy aide to Chairman Matt Carter: sent Mar 4, 2008 7:25 a.m. "What up Blue? Whats news with u dawg?
Garner: "Just trying to figure out how I can get an insider like LHo has with her boy KHoff'', (a reference to PSC Commissioner Katrina McMurrian's aide Lorena Holley, who worked in the Tallahassee law firm with FPL vice president Ken Hoffman before Hoffman was placed on FPL staff.)
Chamizo: "U got me dude although not any insider."
Garner: "I got you babe."
Chamizo: "Could u share a draft copy of your FEC presentation on energy efficiency and decoupling?"
Garner: "When I have one."
* From Edgar to Chamizo, sent: Feb 21, 2008, 10:49 a.m. during legislative committee week: "Hey. Had to take the last flight back last night. What have I missed?"
Chamizo: "Not a whole lot."
Edgar: "Plse let me know if there is anything of interest from the discussion or otherwise in Murzin comm on interim report or with Bennet on appt process bill."
* Chamizo: "They passed out Bennetts psc bill, in the end i see that bill as final product, dont see House approach getting any steam."
(Edgar told the Herald/Times that she didn't remember the conversation "(over 20 months ago!), but it looks like a quick summary of some discussion at committee meetings.")
* From Chamizo to Garner Feb. 26, 2008, 4:29 p.m.: "Tomorrow let's rock out!''
(Garner did not respond to requests for comment.)
* From Commissioner Nathan Skop to his former chief aide Bridget Groom, March 10, 2008, 12:35 p.m.: "Pin me: Look up allegany energy, call and try to get a number for ann greely Also: Need number for twomey and peoples gas (lew)''
(Skop told the Herald/Times he was out of town and had received a call from a customer and wanted to help him by providing him the numbers directly. "It's important to do that kind of customer service," he said.)
* Commissioner Nancy Argenziano to Larry Harris, her chief aide, sent March 4, 2008, 2:06 p.m. during a hearing: "Tell twomey to be ready'' a reference to utility lobbyist Mike Twomey.
Harris: "Got it."
(Argenziano said it was a reference to a meeting with Twomey who brought people in who do storage for natural gas. She had a short time to meet and wanted them to be ready "or forget the appointment.'' It was not related to any pending case and told them to bring the issue to the legislature.)