Ken Harrison 3:45 p.m., Aug. 20
Charles Langley resigns from UCAN
So-called watchdog still "irredeemably corrupt," he says
Charles Langley, the well-known and respected executive of Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN) has resigned. He joined the group in 1996 at $25,000 a year. His salary has been slashed to $32,000, which adjusted for inflation is less than he was hired for. Langley and David Peffer, who has also resigned, were the whistleblowers who pointed out numerous examples of wrongdoing at the purported watchdog. Their charges were recently validated when UCAN filed a cross-complaint against its former director, Michael Shames. The suit cited exactly the wrongdoing that Langley and Peffer had told the board about. However, their revelations were met with a massive coverup attempt.
It is not clear whether Peffer and/or Langley will pursue constructive termination suits against UCAN. Whistleblowers have special protection under the law. Among many things, the cross-complaint charged that former executive director Michael Shames had farmed out lawsuits to private attorneys who reaped fat profits from work that had been done by UCAN, a non-profit. The first dozen of those lawsuits were farmed out to the firm of William Lerach, the former hyper-aggressive attorney who wound up incarcerated for his illegal activities. Langley points out that Shames's lawyer in his suit against UCAN, Hallen Rosner, is a former UCAN board member who reaped many of those gains in the private class action lawsuits in which UCAN did the original legwork. But UCAN has not moved aggressively to have Rosner removed from the suit, says Langley.
While at UCAN, Langley provided San Diego with regular information on gas prices, as well as handling public relations, marketing, and fundraising activities for the organization. Even after management changes and the cleaning out of some board members, UCAN remains "irredeemably corrupt," says Langley.