Some residents may recall Duke Energy (a massive coal fired Eastern U.S. electrical utility conglomerate) and Areva (a massive French nuclear power corporation) were the parent companies of the bastard child, Adage. The smell of money and the promise of possibly half-a-dozen permanent low wages jobs induced virtually all local officials and business tycoons to crawl into the sack with a rapacious biomassacre proposition advanced by this bastard company intent on raping our environment, destroying the quality of life/health local residents cherish in the bargain. Chief among these sycophants was Tim Sheldon, Terri Jeffreys, Ross Gallagher, Linda Ring-Erickson, Jay Hupp, Tom Wallitner, and Dick Taylor, et ux. The 1st 3 of these now want to be elected as our County Commisioners, while Ring-Erickson aspires to even higher office, i.e. Fred Finn’s seat in Olympia for our region. Fred has endorsed Linda out of brand loyalty to his political party rather than his constituents.
The grandmothers of Mason County rose up, smote Adage, voted Ross Gallagher out of office, and defeated one of the greatest threats to our community many had ever witnessed. The chicanery, environmental disaster, graft, and outright theft residents narrowly escaped despite the arrogant ineptitude of these elected officials has befallen North Carolina as reported in the following story:
Meanwhile, a leading Wall Street credit rating firm put Duke on a watch list for a potential credit downgrade in the wake of Johnson’s exit. Johnson’s abrupt resignation, announced Tuesday, raises questions about Duke’s internal stability, planning and management, Standard & Poor’s Financial Services said. Scores of former Progress executives were recruited by Johnson, with many moving to Charlotte this week for their new jobs.
The former Progress Energy board members were the most vocal in their outrage.
“Frankly, I felt misled,” said Alfred Tollison Jr., who lives in Georgia and served on the Progress board until the completion of the merger. “Just from circumstantial evidence you would have to think it didn’t happen overnight, that there was a lot of forethought given to it.”
Another former Progress board member, John Mullin III of Virginia, sent a letter to the Wall Street Journal, stating: “I do not believe that a single director of Progress would have voted for this transaction as structured with the knowledge that the CEO of Duke, Jim Rogers, would remain as the CEO of the combined company.”
In the letter, which he shared with McClatchy Newspapers, Mullin wrote: “In my opinion this is the most blatant example of corporate deceit that I have witnessed during a long career on Wall Street and as a director of 10 publicly traded companies and as a former trustee of Putnam’s numerous mutual funds.”
The recent, rapid developments pose new challenges to Duke’s leadership. The company’s merger with Progress created the nation’s largest electric utility.
Duke spokesman Tom Williams said, “We will be working with S&P in the coming weeks to resolve their ‘credit watch’ listing as expeditiously as possible.”
Credit ratings are crucial to utilities, which depend on capital markets to finance power plants and other infrastructure projects that can cost billions of dollars. Lowered credit ratings could result in higher interest rates and millions in added costs.
Moody’sInvestor Services, however, affirmed its ratings and “stable outlooks” for Duke and Progress, citing their strong financial profiles and merger benefits.
But Johnson’s departure,Moody’sadded, creates uncertainty over the company’s long-term leadership “and could also lead to some additional turnover in the newly constituted company’s senior management team.”
Details emerged Thursday revealing that Johnson was asked to resign Monday afternoon, shortly after the merger closed that day at 4:02 p.m., suggesting to some that his ouster was choreographed in advance. The merger had received final approval from South Carolina regulators earlier Monday.
Johnson signed his employment contract with Duke on June 27, days before the merger closed. He was CEO of the combined company for about 20 minutes, Mullin said. After the merger closed, Duke’s board went into executive session and voted to request Johnson’s resignation, Mullin wrote.
Murawski and Ranii write for the News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)/McClatchy. Bruce Henderson, who writes for the Charlotte Observer/McClatchy, and the Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.