Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) General Manager Juan Garza announced a settlement last week with the Clark, Thomas & Winters law firm that provides for $4.1 million in damages from the cooperative’s former legal counsel.
One of the principals in the firm, Walter Demond, had been indicted by a Blanco County grand jury earlier in the week on numerous charges connected with PEC business.
Garza worked with Houston attorney Jimmy Williamson to reach a settlement after authority was unanimously approved at PEC’s June 15 board meeting.
“This settlement represents a prudent business decision that allows us to effectively sever all ties to Clark, Thomas and Winters, recoup damages suffered by PEC and its members, and focus our attention on providing safe, reliable electric service at the fairest price,” Garza said.
The settlement ends several months of investigation into allegations of improper payments from Clark, Thomas & Winters to Curtis Fuelberg, a Texas lobbyist and brother of former PEC general manager Bennie Fuelberg, and attorney William Price, son of former Board Director E.B. Price.
The allegations arose following the December 2008 release of the PEC-commissioned investigative report by Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Williamson, principal of Houston law firm Williamson & Rusnak, was retained on the basis of a one-third contingency by PEC in January to lead a formal investigation into the questionable payments made by Clark, Thomas & Winters while the firm served as the cooperative’s legal counsel.