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Beleaguered Utility Consumers' Action Network will probably get a new executive director, according to the second report of the court-appointed receiver, Richard Kipperman, which has been filed with Superior Court.

Kipperman says in the filing that a potential global settlement is near. However, as of today (May 23), it does not appear that all parties have agreed to the settlement. If a new executive director were hired, co-founder Michael Shames is expected to become a consultant to the watchdog group, handling the general rate case that San Diego Gas & Electric has filed with the California Public Utilities Commission.

Most of the parties involved in the long-running UCAN dispute are happy with the potential settlement. UCAN earlier filed to dissolve, but whistleblowers within the organization opposed a dissolution. Under the agreement, UCAN will be able to continue, it appears.

I spoke with Kipperman and got more details. In the controversial deal by which $1 million was to be passed through UCAN from Nucor Steel on its way to Peter Navarro for a documentary on China's trade abuses, $1 million came in and UCAN has only passed $600,000 to Navarro. The rest reposes with UCAN.

There is a proposal on the table to iron out that deal, says Kipperman. Money in accounts with a different spelling of the UCAN name have been accounted for, says Kipperman. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing UCAN's books, and Kipperman turned over all materials to investigators. There is a court hearing with Judge John Meyer Friday at 2 p.m. and Kipperman hopes that the settlement can get court approval June 29.

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Comments

Visduh May 23, 2012 @ 8:31 p.m.

This account does not come across as a full airing of the scandals. "Money in accounts with a different spelling of the UCAN name have been accounted for" says the receiver. Does he explain why all those accounts were established? Any mention of criminal charges aimed at "Shameful" and his cohort? June 29 is an awfully short deadline for dealing with an operation like UCAN and all the commitments it made, all the promises still undelivered, and all the funds involved.

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Don Bauder May 23, 2012 @ 8:55 p.m.

Glad you asked, Visduh. Those representing the whistle blower side basically say that the receiver did no audit. He left that up to the FBI. There was lot of money in those accounts that were misspelled. (Incidentally, tucking money in accounts with a one-letter misspelling is a trick that has been around for awhile. Thus, the FBI should look at it carefully.) Yes, you are correct that this blog item is not a full account of the scandal. However, I have been writing about it at length since last July. So the Reader's account has been comprehensive. This blog item is not, because the settlement has not yet been signed by all parties. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh May 23, 2012 @ 9:39 p.m.

My comment wasn't aimed at your reporting, Don. It is obviously nearly impossible to get the full story on this UCAN mess, and it will take months or years for it all to be revealed, if that ever happens. And I've learned more from the Reader about this than from any other source. The "account" I was really describing is the receivers account.

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Don Bauder May 24, 2012 @ 7:55 a.m.

Absolutely. One cannot say those accounts with the misspellings have been accounted for until there has been a thorough audit, and that is being left to the FBI. If the FBI doesn't perform it, then the whole thing will be buried -- something that happens in San Diego all too often. Similarly, there must be a complete investigation of the $1 million that was to go to UCAN and thence to Navarro -- why this circuitous route? (There is still $400,000 owed Navarro.) There are many other loose ends that need to be tied up, and the public should be informed. Will it be? Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 24, 2012 @ 10:38 a.m.

Meyer is an iditot, he will screw up any global settlement, mark my words.

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Don Bauder May 24, 2012 @ 11:38 a.m.

I hope you are wrong, SurfPup. We all want UCAN to survive under honest, dedicated management. That is being worked out, it appears. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 24, 2012 @ 11:44 a.m.

KIM MALCOLM WILL BE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UCAN. Utility Consumers' Action Network this afternoon will be announcing that Kim Malcolm will be the new executive director. She is now executive director of the Community Energy Services Corporation, which strives to deliver innovative energy resources to the Bay Area. She was former chief of staff at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to Loretta Lynch, who as head of the commission did NOT have the pro-utility, anti-consumer bias of the current commission leadership. She was also an administrative law judge at the CPUC. She has a bachelor's in political science from UC-Davis and a Master of Public Policy from UC-Berkeley.

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SurfPuppy619 May 24, 2012 @ 12:19 p.m.

How could she be an ALJ without a law degree?

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Don Bauder May 24, 2012 @ 1:11 p.m.

Good question. That came up last night as I was doing reporting on this. Apparently, one doesn't need to have a law degree to be an ALJ at the CPUC. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 25, 2012 @ 7:39 a.m.

SHAMES CONFIRMS THAT HE IS OUT, LAUDS REPLACEMENT. Michael Shames, co-founder and executive director of Utility Consumers' Action Network, has confirmed on his facebook page that he is out. "I get my long-delayed freedom from the UCAN [executive director] position and we've got a top-notch person to take my place. Kim Malcolm was my first (and, frankly only) choice to take over the reins of UCAN," writes Shames. He says he will do some of UCAN's "more complex" cases but "but I'll try to stay out of Kim's way." Then he takes a poke at the press: "Bauder and the U-T will try to spin it like Aguirre forced me out but you all will be the wiser. Hey, they gotta try anything to sell papers, given their dwindling market share." (Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre was the original lawyer for the two UCAN whistleblowers, but Chris Morris of their firm, Aguirre Morris & Severson, is now representing the whistleblowers' position.) Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 25, 2012 @ 2:52 p.m.

KIPPERMAN RECEIVERSHIP ENDS; MALCOLM TAKES OVER. Following the hearing today (May 25) in Superior Court, the UCAN receivership of Dick Kipperman ended and UCAN was turned over to new executive director Kim Malcolm. UCAN's lawyer said during the hearing that the confidential settlement has been signed by all parties. It will be ratified at a court hearing June 29. Although the agreement is confidential, I have learned that some UCAN board members will have to leave within the next six months. Best, Don Bauder

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