December 12, 2011-by John Russell in the Indianapolis Star
The former chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has been indicted on a three felony counts of official misconduct in cases concerning Duke Energy Corp.
A Marion County grand jury today issued the indictment against David Lott Hardy, who was fired by Gov. Mitch Daniels in October 2010 after the utility hired Scott Storms, the agency’s general counsel, as a regulatory attorney in its Plainfield office.
The first count of the indictment accuses Hardy of knowingly aiding and abetting Storms by communicating with employees of Duke Energy regarding Storms’ prospective employment while allowing Storms to continue to participate in proceedings involving the utility.
The second count accuses Hardy of failing to disclose a secret, ex parte communication with Duke Energy that occurred on March 17, 2008 with an employee of Duke concerning cost overruns at the utility’s Edwardsport coal-gasification plant.
The third count accuses Hardy of failing to disclose a secret, ex parte communication with Duke Energy that occurred on Feb. 24, 2010, concerning cost overruns at the Edwardsport power plant.
The Indianapolis Star reported earlier on those communications, using open records laws.
“We look forward to vigorously prosecuting this case to its conclusion,” Prosecutor Terry Curry said in a prepared statement.
Duke’s decision to hire IURC administrative law judge Scott Storm touched off an ethics firestorm that has embroiled Duke for months.
The Indiana Inspector General has accused Storms of violating state law by taking a job with Duke while continuing to handle cases involving the utility. Gov. Mitch Daniels fired Hardy, saying he knew about Storms’ ethical conflict but did nothing about it.