Friday, December 10, 2010

Don't Cry For Duke's Departing Jim Turner

Duke Energy's second-highest paid executive may have lost his job after the Star divulged the too cozy relationship he had with the people who are suppose to be looking out for the public's interest at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, but he'll never have to work a day the rest of his life with the $10 million parting gift he gets for being a very sleazy utility executive. The Star's John Russell continues his outstanding reporting on the growing IURC scandal that threatens the presidential ambitions of Gov. Mitch Daniels:

James L. Turner, who resigned from Duke Energy Corp. on Monday after the disclosure that he sent hundreds of compromising e-mails to Indiana regulators, will get a severance and retirement package worth more than $10 million.

The company disclosed Thursday in a government filing that Turner will get $3.75 million in severance in the form of performance shares and phantom stock.

Turner, 51, also will get to keep his retirement package of $6.7 million and will qualify for an annual bonus of more than $500,000.

In return, Turner agreed not to work for a competitor for two years and not to solicit business from Duke customers or entice other Duke employees to leave.

Turner also agreed he will not publish any statements about Duke or its employees or programs that are disparaging or disclose private business affairs, except as might be required by subpoena.

In the agreement, Turner stated that he "has no further or additional knowledge or information regarding compliance issues or possible violations of federal, state or local law or regulations or Duke policy."

Turner was the second-highest-paid executive at Duke, pulling down total compensation last year of more than $4.3 million. He was in charge of Duke's regulated utilities in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Feeling the heat of this growing scandal, Duke has agreed to renegotiate a previous agreement to allow the utility to make ratepayers pick up the tab for the latest cost overruns on the utility's $2.9 billion coal-gasification plant in Edwardsville worth about $500 million. "On Thursday, Duke agreed to reopen negotiations, clearing the way for large industrial customers to push for the utility to swallow more of the cost," Russell reports. The Edwardsville project sort of reminds me of the infamous Marble Hill nuclear power plant project Duke's predecessor company, Public Service of Indiana, on which it spent billions of dollars before mothballing back in the 1970s. As I recall, ratepayers wound up getting hosed on that deal pretty badly as well.


Jon said...

So a company building a plant that is 1 to 1.5 billion over cost can afford to pay their number two executive 10 million. The taxpayers payers are stuck for the excessive cost of the plant and the golden parachute as well. Must be nice to be a monopoly in this state!

interestedparty said...

Continuing my observations on this and the previous posts on the whole debacle, there is not nearly enough outrage about this issue, judging from how many comments there aren't.

Bradley said...

Interested - we can only hope the story will gain momentum. I think people will eventually start to notice because as much as the governor would like the story to go away, it is not. Although the attention is not as high as you or I would hope, or that it should be, does not mean there is none. With the Wall Street Journal reporter asking questions and the FBI as well it sounds like, who knows, there might be a bunch more coming down the pike. Let's hope so for the sake of open government in this state, as much as that's an absolute joke right now.

Anonymous said...

Jim turner and his wife Leah were selfish self serving people when they lived in indianapolis and belonged to my parish. This is no surprise that he is a thief. This is just par for the pair. It is so sad for their children. Shame on the both of them.