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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Complaint against PSC's Edgar raises question of perjury



In a letter to Ethics Commission Director Phil Claypool, the author of the complaint against Public Service Commission Lisa Edgar details the timeline of events and raises questions about whether she told investigators the truth.

Edgar argued that she had not violated state ethics laws when her aide, Roberta Bass, transmitted a message from and Florida Power & Light attorney Ken Hoffman in the midst of a case because the issue did not related to the matter before them. But Doc Tomkiel reviewed the timeline and produced this summary. "This raises the inference of possible perjury by Edgar and Bass and tampering with evidence to conceal whatever was discussed in the email sent at 9:48 AM,'' he wrote.

Claypool is investigating and would not comment on the allegations. Edgar did not respond to requests for comment. Here's Tomkiel's email:

Mr. Claypool:

I do not know who has been assigned to work the complaint I filed against Edgar, so I am sending this email to you.  I filed a complaint with the FCE as you know because it was reported by the press that you said you needed another complaint filed in order to listen to the audio tape that had not been reviewed during the first investigation.  As I understand, the time of the email from Bass to Edgar and the time on the audio tape of when Hilton raised the protective order matter is the issue to be investigated.  I want to further clarify the nature of my FCE complaint. 

  As I understand:

  Re:  The Edgar Interview:

Bass testified that she sent an email to Edgar at 9:48 AM asking to speak with her about a suggestion that Hoffman (FPL) had made concerning a protective order. 

Edgar testified, “As soon as I could, I stepped over and Bass said to me, “That’s what I was going to tell you.”  Right about then, our DAG (Hilton) says they (PSC) could issue a protective order.”

It appears that the issue to be clarified is this - the email from Bass to Edgar was allegedly sent at 9:48 AM.  However, according to the audio tape of the hearing, Hilton raised the protective order issue at 10:30 AM.  This leads me to question the valdity and the actual content of the email in question.

Edgar and Bass have testified that both incidents occurred at the same time.  Please have your investigator verify the time of the email and the time of Hilton’s statement to the PSC from the hearing audio tape.  There needs to be an explanation for the 42 minute discrepancy. 

NOTE:  This raises the inference of possible perjury by Edgar and Bass and tampering with evidence to conceal whatever was discussed in the email sent at 9:48 AM.

Re:  The Bass Interview:

FPL’s document and their request for it to be deemed confidential had already been filed with the PSC, but the PSC had not ruled on FPL’s request for confidentiality prior to the hearing as they normally do.

FPL (Hoffman) wanted to protect the document for security reasons.  Hilton wanted to see the document.  Bass and Edgar have testified that Bass told Edgar of Hoffman’s protective order suggestion at the same time that Hilton was addressing the PSC about the same protective order issue.   

Bass emailed Edgar asking to speak with her.  As Bass told Edgar at the corner that Hoffman had suggested the PSC could issue a protective order – at the same time, Hilton said to the PSC that someone (Hoffman) had just reminded her that there was another way to protect the document in question. 

Edgar told Bass, “Wait, I have to listen to this.”  This happened as Edgar was talking to Bass at the corner – about the same issue.  

Therefore, it appears as though Bass was talking to Edgar at the same time Hilton was addressing the PSC on the issue of the protective order.  If this is true, then the time and the validity of the email is called into question.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:15pm]


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