x
Breaking News
More () »

Entergy CEO: We did not know about paid actors

West said that there is no evidence in either the council investigation or the an internal investigation to show that Entergy employees knew about people being hired and paid to show support for the project.

NEW ORLEANS – Entergy CEO Rod West, who is also serving as the interim CEO of Entergy New Orleans, wrote a letter to the members of the New Orleans city council, saying that the company is ultimately responsible for the actions of a third-party company but reiterating that it did not know people were being paid to make up support for a proposed gas plant.

Read the full letter from Entergy CEO to the city council

West said that there is no evidence in either the council investigation or the an internal investigation to show that Entergy employees knew about people being hired and paid to show support for the project.

“We do agree that by providing sufficient oversight and asking the right questions, we could have either prevented the actions of the Hawthorne (SIC) group and COD or discovered them and stopped them,” said CEO Rod West, who took over for then-Entergy CEO Charles Rice, who was reassigned to another position in the company. “As we have noted before, we recognize that we are ultimately responsible for the actions of people working on our behalf.”

According to the council investigation's findings, Rice was not only aware of the plan, but had specifically asked for a larger number of actors than was originally proposed. Rice even referred to the power plant campaign as a "war."

Story continues under Clancy's Commentary video

Less than two weeks before the public hearing on the power plant, then-CEO Charles Rice exchanged text messages and emails with another Entergy executive, Yolanda Pollard, asking "How is Hawthorn looking getting people to the hearing."

Pollard responded that the group committed to getting 50 people and ten speakers at the meeting. Rice then responded, "Hell I would pay for more if they can get them" and "If Hawthorn can get more people I will pay."

While taking the ultimate responsibility, West said facts support Entergy’s contention that “confirm Entergy did not know about or authorize any payments to individuals to attend or speak at City Council meetings.”

West said that had Entergy known Hawthorn was hiring actors from a company called ‘Crowds on Demand,’ they would have “ended the engagement.”

West said that after the company’s internal investigation showed credible evidence that the company had worked with Crowds on Demand, and “immediately severed our relationship with Hawthorn and placed both firms on Entergy’s ‘do not hire’ list.’

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out