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Ed Tancer’

FPL CEO, other execs dine at White House – on their own dime

Friday, October 9th, 2009 by Dara Kam

FPL Group CEO Lew Hay and three other chief executives broke bread with President Barack Obama yesterday in the president’s private dining room.

But taxpayers needn’t worry about picking up the tab for the Hay and the bosses of Amazon.com, Kraft and Eastman Kodak.

The Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Williamson blogged that the four chiefs whipped out their credit cards at the end of a sandwich and salad luncheon “for the same price as the going rate outside the walls of the White House.”

It was the third Dutch-treat lunch hosted by the president at the White House, Williamson reported.

Obama’s no-free-lunch policy is meant to reflect the administration’s harsh view of coziness between elected officials and special interests.

That attitude is also reflected in Florida’s gift ban laws that make it illegal for legislators or their staff from accepting goodies of any sort – including meals, beverages and even after-dinner mints – from lobbyists or for lobbyists to give them.
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PSC staffer who went to PBC Kentucky Derby party resigns

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Public Service Commission staffer Ryder Rudd resigned this morning after an internal investigation found that he may have broken the regulatory agency’s ethics rules.

Rudd, who earned $92,000 a year, attended a Kentucky Derby party at the Palm Beach Gardens home of Florida Power & Light Co. vice president Ed Tancer although Rudd was involved in at least two of the utility’s rate filings.

Knowledge of Rudd’s attendance at Tancer’s gala was the first in a string of events, the latest including two PSC staff resignations and two commissioners’ aides being place on administrative leave.

Also today, Sen. Mike Fasano asked for a Senate Ethics and Elections Committee hearing into whether the regulators and their staff are too cozy with the utilities they oversee.

“After reading and hearing of what’s happening over at the Public Service Commission, it sounds to me like they’re ready to implode over there,” Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said.

In the meantime, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also conducting an informal investigation into the same possible problem.

Two sitting PSC commissioners – Chairman Matthew Carter and Commissioner Katrina McMurrian – were included in the list of six nominees given to Gov. Charlie Crist last week. Fasano asked Crist to hold off on the appointments until the panel votes on a proposed $1.3 billion FPL rate hike.

Carter’s aide Bill Garner and Commissioner Lisa Edgar’s aide Roberta Bass were put on leave today after the Times/Herald reported that the aides had given secret Blackberry PIN numbers to an FPL attorney. Commissioner Nancy Argenziano fired her aide, Larry Harris, who is seeking reemployment elsewhere within the agency.

PSC Chairman Carter denies he’s “too cozy” with FPL

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 by Dara Kam

matt_carterbioIn the latest installment of intrigue at the Public Service Commission, chairman Matthew Carter issued an indignant press release today saying he takes “great offense” at reports that utility regulators are too cozy with Florida Power & Light Co. executives.

The PSC is in the midst of a FPL rate hearing in which the company is seeking a $1.3 billion rate hike implemented over two years.

The opening of the hearing was delayed after it was revealed that a PSC lobbyist and government liaison attended a party at the Palm Beach Gardens home of FPL VP Ed Tancer. Ryder Rudd, director of the commission’s Office of Strategic Analysis and Governmental Affairs, oversees staff working on two pending FPL cases – the current rate hike and a proposed $1.5 billion natural gas pipeline from the Panhandle to Palm Beach County.

An internal investigation released yesterday found that Rudd may not have broken the law by attending the party but may have violated rules of conduct prohibiting PSC staff from accepting gifts from those whose cases are under review.

Commissioner Nathan Skop, who exposed Rudd’s attendance at the party, demanded that Rudd be fired immediately. Rudd has been taken off any dockets involving FPL.

Carter weighed in today with the press release denying that commissioners and their staff are “too cozy with regulated industries, FPL in particular.”

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PBC Kentucky Derby fete puts brakes on FPL rate hearing

Monday, August 24th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Palm Beachers love parties and a horse race is as good an excuse as any to host one for the county’s elite.

But the Kentucky Derby party at FPL vice president Ed Tancer’s Palm Beach Gardens home in the gated San Michele community has a Public Service Comission staffer in hot water.

PSC governmental affairs director Ryder Rudd and his wife attended the fete at Tancer’s home although Rudd is involved in hearings about FPL’s proposed natural gas pipeline.

PSC Commissioner Nathan Skop interrupted an FPL rate hearing this morning asking that Rudd be removed from the case and also asking for the employee to resign.

Rudd told Skop and PSC Commissioner Nancy Argenziano about the party over the weekend and tried to reach Commissioner Katrina McMurrian, the commissioners said.

McMurrian said she did not listen to his voice message left on her cell phone.

PSC Chairman Matthew Carter said Rudd did not contact him and was taken aback by Skop’s revelations.

Tancer, 46, is a vice-president and general counsel for the utility.

FPL is asking for a $1.3 billion-a-year rate hike for its 4.5 million Florida customers. The rate hearing is scheduled to last two weeks, but Skop suggested that he may ask that the case be dismissed because of Rudd’s possible misconduct.

The rate hearing is now in recess until the commissioners figure out what to do. They may hold an emergency hearing to decide on Rudd’s fate.

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