Ashcroft Report Shows FBI Investigating Leak of LP&L Information

Published 03/07 2014 02:36PM

Updated 03/07 2014 02:53PM

LUBBOCK, TX -- Lubbock Power & Light on Thursday mailed to the local media copies of the comprehensive report from its internal investigation. The full report – received by on Friday – revealed that talk of an FBI investigation was more than just rumor or mere conjecture late last year.

The internal investigation was conducted by the Ashcroft Law Firm after allegations surfaced in mid-October that LP&L Director Gary Zheng might have mishandled bids on a major power supply project.

The executive summary of the report was released in February; it cleared Zheng of wrongdoing, but it did not clear the bids. This week the LP&L board threw out bids for power supply starting in the spring of 2019. A new bidding process is underway.

“As reported by some LP&L employees, the FBI’s investigative activity revealed … potentially improper leaks of confidential … information,” the full report said.

Parts or all of a confidential document made to LP&L in September had been leaked and “made its way to the press.” Specifically, names of confidential bidders in a sealed bidding process were not kept secret during the time period required by law.

An LP&L executive – not listed by name – told the Ashcroft Firm that the document which was leaked “contained all the specification numbers and all of the pricing/cost figures…” If that’s true it would be a violation of Texas law concerning a confidential bidding process.

The FBI as a matter of routine does not confirm or deny the existence of its ongoing investigations.

However, “An [LP&L board member] advised the board, in the presence of Mayor Robertson, that he had specifically been granted permission by the FBI to share information about the investigation with the [LP&L board].”

The report – given to LP&L in late January – states that LP&L staffers did not leak the information. Board members, including the mayor, were not cleared by the Ashcroft report; but they also were not accused by the report.  The possibility of a former employee leaking information late last year was also not ruled out.  

The report does not state to what extent the FBI has continued to talk to LP&L officials since mid-October.

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