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Updated on November 3, 2010

The Pretend Energy Expert - Fraud Is an Ugly Word

One year ago the Alliance To Protect Nantucket Sound changed CEOs. There are probably two reasons for what happened. One of them is ugly. After thirty years of experience as a consultant with internationally significant firms such as Arthur D. Little and Andersen Associates (as a partner), Glenn Wattley brought serious credentials to the job. His engineering degree from Columbia and his Harvard MBA established his education credentials, but his thirty years of involvement in various phases of the energy business clearly mark him as an energy expert. In fact, he is officially designated as an accepted expert witness in the economics of energy by the U.S. federal courts.

As CEO of the Alliance Wattley brought with him three decades of experience dealing with leading energy firms and their executives; also their issues and economics. He was accustomed to dealing with high caliber law firms, enormous egos and complicated issues. Wattley is a true professional but he found himself among various levels of amateurs at the Alliance. Some had the presence of mind and wisdom to let him run the operation as he knew it should be run. Not so others, including his successor.

During his two years at the helm of the Alliance Wattley came to see that the Washington, D.C. office of Perkins Coie were simply not getting results. On one occasion he even had approval from the Alliance board of directors to have Perkins Coie (PC) draft a letter notifying a federal agency of its intent to sue. PC dragged their feet and eventually offered a lame excuse for not doing so. This law firm has been paid millions of donated dollars and all they have to show for their so-called effort is total failure.

In September of 2008 a small group of petty minds, all members of the Alliance board, hatched a scheme to vote Wattley out and save the relationship with PC. It was time for a change, anyway. Wattley had put his own projects on hold and since departing the Alliance has made repeated trips to China where he is respected as an energy expert, where he has introduced a major U.S. product line to the Chinese energy industry and where he does not have to deal with a law firm or subordinates whose only goal is self preservation. In addition; he has assisted a U.S. business in successfully penetrating the tangled web of government/business bureaucracy to place a client's product on the front lines of the clean up of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and is now a partner in an energy consulting firm based in Boston.

By contrast, his successor as CEO at the Alliance said to me at an informal gathering after one of the Massachusetts DPU hearings on Cape Wind, "Peter, do you know what it will mean for me if I succeed?" She should instead be asking what failure will do to her and her career. With an undergraduate degree from Brown University and a first place finish in her class at MIT's Sloan School where she received an MBA, Audra Parker is no chump...on paper, at least.

However, she had been a high ranking Alliance staffer long before Glenn Wattley arrived and she was the direct and probably the intended benficiary of his departure. One wonders if she was the equivalent of Marc Antony. It has been said that Audra finds it difficult to be the "smartest person in the room." How would she know?

While Audra Parker has been the Alliance's CEO:

- A Perkins Coie Attorney was publicly scolded for completely misquoting Massachusetts law during the Cape Wind hearings before the DPU. Audra said nothing and PC are still representing the Alliance.

- A Perkins Coie attorney was publicly reprimanded and threatened with sanctions by a Massachusetts energy official for leaking confidential documents during DPU hearings on the Cape Wind/National Grid power purchase agreement. Audra said nothing and PC still represent the Alliance.

- Ken Salazar, United States Secretary of the Interior lied during his press conference announcing approval of the Cape Wind project. Audra has still not said one word publicly about this incredible fact. Salazar gave the Alliance a gift and the Alliance said no thanks.

But, here is the worst thing Audra Parker has done as CEO of the Alliance: It is well known that the Alliance board of directors wanted Glenn Wattley to remain involved after his tenure as CEO as an expert in the economics of energy, something the smartest person in the room could not claim to be. It is also known that Wattley did produce a report/analysis for the Alliance which was submitted to a federal agency as part of the ongoing review of Cape Wind's development application. However, no such report can be found bearing his signature. It appears that Audra Parker removed Glenn Wattley's signature and replaced it with her own.

So, the smartest person in the room appears to have committed plagiarism and intellectual fraud at least. if the questionable submission is held under penalty of perjury by the receiving agency, something which is very common in these situations, Audra Parker may have committed perjury in a federal regulatory procedure. That should help the Alliance's efforts to stop Cape Wind. Further, Ms. Parker has cost the Alliance the ability to refer to the federally recognized expertise of Glenn Wattley when offering this report as an opposition piece in the Cape Wind matter because in spite of her lofty self-assessment she is not recognized as an energy expert....anywhere. One wonders if Perkins Coie knew of this matter, in advance. For that matter, one wonders who of the board of directors knew or might have or should have known.

Yes, Audra, I have thought about what your involvement in the Cape Wind battle might mean for your career. Have you, honestly? Nantucket Sound is considerably more important than you.


COPYRIGHT By Peter A. Kenney 2010


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