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The Biz: Verizon appointment stirs strange PSC memories

Verizon appointment brings back memories of strange days at PSC

Last month's announcement of Michelle Robinson becoming Verizon's top officer in Florida, the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama and her relocation to the Tampa Bay area did not mention an interesting controversy from 2002. Former Public Service Commission member Rudy Bradley's long-running encounter with the Florida Commission on Ethics was based, in part, on his offering — while on the PSC — a point-by-point argument to limit reductions in the wholesale rates that Verizon Communications charges competing phone companies to connect to its network. Turns out Bradley's presentation matched, word for word, a memo written by Verizon — in fact by Robinson, who at the time was the phone giant's regulatory affairs chief in Florida. (In a 2004 story in the Times, Robinson said she was "moderately surprised" to hear her own words read back by Bradley at the October hearing.) Compounding the coziness, when Verizon lost its case before the PSC, it approvingly quoted Bradley (who actually was quoting Verizon's pitch) in a brief to the state Supreme Court. Last summer, Bradley was fined $5,000 for reading from that Verizon memo as part of a rate hearing, in violation of a law that bans ex parte communication between PSC members and the utilities they regulate.

Will copier services chief be man of action?

Ikuo Nakagawa last week was named the new chairman and chief executive of Konica Minolta Danka Imaging, the company resulting from the acquisition of Konica Minolta by St. Petersburg's Danka Business Systems. Nakagawa, it turns out, has a rather surprising nickname: "Indiana." And yes, the company acknowledged last week, he is named after Indiana Jones, the Harrison Ford character in the blockbuster Indiana Jones movies. What was left unanswered: Does Nakagawa like to crack the bull whip just like the real Indy? Time will tell. He'll move to the area this summer. Nakagawa, 50, picked the Indiana name himself, because American colleagues said he needed a nickname and there are few good American nicknames starting with "I" —like his first name.

Chico's CEO accepts criticism with style

Dissident shareholders gave top management a tongue-lashing at the Chico's FAS Inc. annual meeting in late June. "It was not a fun day," said Scott Edmonds, chief executive of the apparel chain that also owns White House/Black Market and Soma Intimates. Edmonds promised to further slow store growth and improve the "fit, fabric and quality" of its fashion to reconnect with women ages 35 to 65. The company's stock has been in a two-year tailspin as sales declined. Edmonds accepted much of the blame for not building proper infrastructure during the debt-free company's go-go years.

Times staff writer

The Biz: Verizon appointment stirs strange PSC memories 07/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 2:16pm]
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