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.