Sept. 21, 2007 — Jeffrey Moorhead offered his resignation as hearing examiner and the Public Services Commission voted not to accept, during a closed executive session Thursday evening.
The PSC made Moorhead examiner on matters relating to Vitelco telephone and Innovative Cablevision. Those public service utility companies are owned by Jeffrey Prosser and his holding companies Innovative Communications Company and Emerging Communications. ICC and EMC are in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
Commission members M. Thomas Jackson, Donald G. Cole and Chairwoman Alecia Wells voted not to accept the resignation. Joseph Boschulte voted no on the motion, meaning he voted to accept the resignation. Verne C. David abstained and Sirri Hamad was absent.
The meeting occurred one week to the day after the PSC was supposed to meet with Stan Springel, the trustee appointed by U.S. Bankruptcy Court to take control of the bankrupt Prosser companies. PSC attorney Tanisha Bailey Roka said last week that meeting was canceled because they could not form a quorum. (See "PSC Cancels Another Meeting with Trustee in Prosser Bankruptcy Case") When asked Tuesday how the PSC was able to find a quorum for this meeting, but not the meeting one week ago, Bailey-Roka referred all questions to Moorhead. Asked if the PSC would be able to find a quorum in the near future for a meeting with Springel, she again referred all questions to Moorhead.
Again, I refer any questions relating to that to attorney Moorhead, Bailey-Roka said when asked whether the PSC formed its own quorums or scheduled its own meetings.
Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone sent out a press release Thursday asking for the minutes of the PSCs meeting that same evening. He announced there will be a joint hearing of the Government Operations and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Labor on Oct. 1, to look into these issues.
The PSCs vote of confidence in Moorhead comes just a few days after an article in the Source documented several instances in which Moorhead appears have acted beyond his authority. Moorhead himself has testified under oath that he lacks authority for his most recent actions in the name of the PSC. In particular, on Sept. 11, Moorhead issued an order on behalf of the PSC forbidding ICC company executives from cooperating with the trustee; something Moorhead has testified under oath he cannot do. (See "Moorhead Orders Companies Not to Cooperate with Prosser Bankruptcy Trustee") Moorhead has also been appearing in court on behalf of the PSC, although he lacks statutory authority to do so. In March, Attorney General Vincent Frazer wrote Wells, telling her Moorhead did not have authority to appear in court and ordering her to have the appearances cease. Despite the order, Moorhead appeared in court as recently as Sept. 7.
When issuing her second order giving Springel control over the companies, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald cited ICCs illegal failure to pay millions owed to its pension funds, while simultaneously giving owner Jeffrey Prosser a $60,000 a month raise, as compelling reasons to wrest control away from the current management. (See "Judge Strips Prosser of Power Over Company Operations")
Wells and Moorhead have been involved in controversial actions in the past. Wells penned a letter to Vitelco president David Sharp supporting Vitelco's position in the bankruptcy. When the letter first came to light Wells denied any knowledge of it. Later she said she wrote it on Moorhead's advice. (See "Attorney Asks PSC to Subpoena Key Players in ICC Bankruptcy Agreement as Signed Letter Comes to Light")
Accounts maintenance officer Claudius F. Moore testified during Senate budget hearings in July that Moorhead is paid $250 an hour and billed the V.I. government $287,000 in consulting fees for the first nine months of the current fiscal year. (See "PSC Comes Under Fire for Unbalanced Regulation of Innovative and Consultant's Conflict of Interest")
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