FBI Subpoena of Lubbock Power & Light Shows Focus of Investigation

Published 07/01 2014 06:08PM

Updated 07/01 2014 11:14PM

By James Clark and Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- On Monday, in response to an open records request, the City of Lubbock released to EverythingLubbock.com a copy of the FBI subpoena issued to Lubbock Power & Light last year.  The subpoena indicated that LP&L's relationship with Alpine Energy Group and its affiliate AEG West Texas were under investigation.

This was all while there were allegations being raised about the 2013 RFP for future power, in October 2013.

The FBI does not ordinarily confirm or deny the existence of an investigation so there is no way to ask if the investigation is still ongoing.

The October 21, 2013 subpoena had a deadline of November 13 to comply. 

A letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Roberts explained, “Although the subpoena commands your appearance before the Grand Jury, you may comply with this subpoena by delivering the requested documentation and information to the agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

Among the documents demanded in the subpoena were, “Any and all communications with Don Hurd, Andy Hixson, Todd Hewger, Doug Carter, and Paul Trygstad; to include but not limited to emails, letters, and telephone messages.”

The subpoena also demanded copies of evaluation forms or other evaluation documents related to the bids for a major power supply contract in 2013.  Ultimately all bids were scrapped amid allegations that Director Gary Zheng mishandled the bids.  An internal investigation by the Ashcroft Law Firm found that Zheng accepted information from someone associated with one of the bidders. 

Ashcroft ruled out intentional wrongdoing, but Zheng was placed on paid leave on May 20, and LP&L is negotiating an out-of-court settlement for his departure from LP&L.

The subpoena also demanded a copy of recommendations from the Black & Veatch consulting company related to those same bids.  If LP&L’s top management acted completely contrary to the Black & Veatch recommendations it might give insight into allegations of bid rigging.

LP&L released a statement Tuesday in response:

"In October 2013, the FBI sent a subpoena to LP&L in order to gather certain, select documents related to the 2013 RFP for future generation.  LP&L did not hesitate to comply with the request and over a three month time period produced over 70,000 pages of documents for their review.  To the best of our knowledge a Grand Jury was never impaneled to review the documents that were requested over eight months ago." .

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