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Investor Lawsuit Against SCANA Blocked

Federal judge tosses case …

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A U.S. district court judge has blocked an investor lawsuit filed against crony capitalist utility SCANA and three of its former executives – former chief executive officer Kevin Marsh, former chief financial officer Jimmy Addison and former chief operating officer Stephen Byrne.

Filed by former shareholders of the company, the lawsuit claimed these three corporate chieftains knew that a project to build a pair of nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear generating station in Jenkinsville, S.C. was doomed – and covered it up.

Is that true? Yes … hence the sprawling criminal investigation into this command economic disaster (a.k.a. #NukeGate) that is now reportedly approaching a point of critical mass.

According to U.S. district court judge Margaret Seymour, though, the shareholder suit is invalid because SCANA is now a subsidiary of Virginia-based Dominion Energy.

Because the petitioners no longer own SCANA stock, Seymour claimed they lacked standing to file suit.

This investor lawsuit is not to be confused with a ratepayer class action case that resulted in some pretty puny settlement checks being distributed earlier this summer. Nor is it to be confused with the aforementioned criminal probe, which is focusing on SCANA and government-run utility Santee Cooper (SCANA’s #NukeGate partner).

As we noted in our original coverage of this lawsuit back in April, we were surprised by its limited scope in naming potential defendants.

(Click to view)

(Via: High Flyer)

“Were Marsh, Addison and Byrne really the only three former SCANA executives who knew this project was going tits up?” we noted. “Seriously: No other members of corporate/ project management were aware of what was going on?

That struck us as a dubious assertion then … and strikes us as a dubious assertion now.

For those of you just waking up from a two-year nap, Santee Cooper and SCANA were supposed to launch their next-generation nuclear reactors in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

That didn’t happen …

The money was spent, but the reactors weren’t completed – and the utilities couldn’t afford the $10-16 billion price tag necessary to finish them. Even worse, documents released in September 2017 showed the utilities knew in 2016 (and perhaps earlier) that the project was doomed – yet they allegedly concealed this critical information from regulators (and the public) while continuing to raise rates and rack up additional debt.

In fact, Santee Cooper actually proposed a rate hike related to the project just days before bailing on it.

Lawmakers are currently debating whether to sell Santee Cooper, allow a private provider to manage it or give the embattled agency one last chance to “reform” itself. For the very latest on that process, click here.

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