Former Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) General Manager Bennie Fuelberg awaits sentencing from a state district judge in January after a jury in Gillespie County found him guilty of third-degree theft, misapplication of fiduciary property and money laundering last week.
Texas Attorney General spokespersoon Jerry Strickland said the 10-year probated sentence recommended by the jury leaves open the possibility that Fuelberg will serve jail time. Fuelberg also will be required to repay funds illegally diverted from co-op members, the Attorney General’s office said.
The jury found that Fuelberg funneled payments through PEC’s outside law firm to his brother Curtis Fuelberg and to Bill Price, the son of a member of the PEC board member, without the apparent knowledge or approval of anyone at PEC. Though Fuelberg was indicted on first degree charges, the prosecutor allowed for the reduction to third degree during the two-week trial in Fredericksburg.
Fuelberg’s 30-year reign as the co-op’s general manager ended in 2007, when members took legal action accusing the co-op leadership of mismanagement and fraudulent spending. Amid that furor, Fuelberg and former PEC President W.W. Burnett retired.
Since then, PEC has eliminated its self-perpetuating nominating committee for directors elections, as well as it’s proxy voting system.
PEC is the nation’s largest electric cooperative, serving more than 200,000 customers over 8,000 square miles in the Texas Hill Country.Email | Print