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Superior Court John S. Meyer today (March 23) named Richard Kipperman to be receiver of Utility Consumers' Action Network, the beleaguered watchdog that is under investigation of the U.S. Attorney's office, has been sued by whistleblowers, and has engaged in several questionable financial transactions that have not been explained.

In essence, neither side got what it wanted. The whistleblowers wanted no receiver named. UCAN originally wanted Bob Ames, who had served as chief operating officer since April. That was clearly a conflict and Ames has left the organization.

UCAN's lawyer wanted Kipperman, but he says that he has "fairly limited duties." He will "take over the cash, investment accounts, try to maintain operations" as a neutral party. "I want to take the fear out of employees," he says. This is important because whistleblowers fear that a receiver will fire employees, particularly the whistleblowers, and then set up a new organization.

"We will try to be as close as humanly possible to business as usual," says Kipperman. The U.S. Attorney investigation will go on, as will the whistleblowers' civil suit. UCAN says it is broke, but its chief executive, Michael Shames, has told the North County Times that the organization has $2.5 million in the bank.

Kipperman says that if it makes no sense to keep the organization going, then UCAN may have to be shut down and a new organization set up. This, however, is what Shames threatened to do a year ago, and whistleblowers think Ames, who has spent his career doing bankruptcies, was trying to move that process along.

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Jimgee March 23, 2012 @ 6:44 p.m.

Sorry to add another criticism, but those of us who read via smart phone are suffering. We don't have the space to jump all over.

Question: is there a way to create a bookmark to a single author's work? My link to Don's bio no longer shows me his blog work.


Don Bauder March 24, 2012 @ 8:07 a.m.

I will find out whom to complain to and post something Monday, perhaps before. I am not that person. Best, Don Bauder


Reader Staff March 25, 2012 @ 12:09 p.m.


Don's latest log entries are located just below his 3 latest stories.

Please let us know if we can be of any other assistance: [email protected]


Twister March 26, 2012 @ 8:23 a.m.

Look, webadmin, we like the idea of an open forum--that's why we post here. We like the idea of anonymity too, even though we know you know who we are. Sending you a personal email implies that our concerns are selfishly motivated rather than submitted out of concern for the Reader as a community-service institution. What we are having here is a continuing failure to communicate.

Why not try this: Open up your own blog to concentrate a discussion like this one where everybody can either burn you at the stake or defend you from evil in public. That way, specific issues can receive specific responses from which everyone can benefit, no?


AnthonyStJohn March 24, 2012 @ 5:28 a.m.

It became most obvious that Shames is motivated more by greed than consumer protection at the conclusion of 2006 San Diego Sewer Refund Settlement, as documented by S&P:
"In 2007, the sewer system settled a lawsuit by agreeing to reimburse residential customers a cumulative $40 million, less $5 million for legal fees, for previous overcharges of their sewer bills (Shames Settlement)." http://www.sandiego.gov/investorinformation/pdf/sp_pffa_sewer_2009b.pdf

The era of "legal fee" larceny which uses the "Rule of Law" to give highest priority to enriching greedy lawyers at the expense of taxpayers must be ended.


Don Bauder March 24, 2012 @ 8:08 a.m.

I have been told, Tony, that Shames did not get money out of that settlement. Possibly I was misinformed. Best, Don Bauder


AnthonyStJohn March 24, 2012 @ 8:27 a.m.

Then why did Shames fail to protect the ratepayers against the $5 million larceny by the lawyers he hired to sue San Diego?

In any case, Shames/UCAN participated in the larceny against the people of San Diego and they owe over $4 million back to the ratepayers.

So far it proves our legal/judicial system is corrupt with larceny part of their business as usual cultural code that allows lawyers and judges to fleece San Diego and America with imperious impunity.

This is one more example of why San Diego, California and America are bankrupt due to out of control greed, this era has to end to protect quality of life for all future generations, or our legacy will be one of a totally unacceptable life.


Don Bauder March 24, 2012 @ 1:37 p.m.

Other lawyers made money in that case but as I am told (and I could have been misinformed), Shames did not make money on it. Best, Don Bauder


Visduh March 24, 2012 @ 8:15 p.m.

Some lawyers made out like bandits. There's a rule that the legal system and profession follow, and that is that whatever happens in a lawsuit or prosecution, the lawyers always get paid, and get paid first.


Don Bauder March 25, 2012 @ 8:12 a.m.

Amen, Visduh. The judges are complicit, too. Best, Don Bauder


AnthonyStJohn March 25, 2012 @ 5:22 a.m.

Very well summarized reality check Visduh.

The paramount fact of life in San Diego is that politicians, lawyers, judges and Shames/UCAN have failed to protect San Diego families, indeed their highest priority is fleecing San Diego families and plundering the wealth of San Diego with impunity and continuous acts of larceny that have been perpetuated for far too many decades.

The greatest threat to all San Diego families today is that San Diego is bankrupt with public safety agencies that are dangerously underfunded while our infrastructure and quality of life are literally being destroyed by the culture of greed.

UCSD Prof. Erie's book Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diego documents the facts that far too many San Diego leaders who are supposed to protect and serve San Diego families from corruption are corrupt themselves.


Don Bauder March 25, 2012 @ 8:14 a.m.

Paradise Plundered is an excellent book that I highly recommend. Best, Don Bauder


AnthonyStJohn March 25, 2012 @ 8:55 a.m.

The #1 QUESTION still remains, even with the enormous quantities of excellent investigative reporting produced by you and Erie, what does it take to wake people up to the fact that political and judicial corruption are destroying quality of life in San Diego?

At the rate quality of life in America, California and San Diego is declining already because American Democracy is totally controlled by oligarchs who have disallowed the basic needs of We The People, 2012 may well be the last opportunity we have to prevent destruction of the American Way of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness that will make the long term future unlivable for our newest and all future generations.

Truly, our only remaining hope for long term survival of American Democracy and acceptable quality of life for all families is to support the rapid rise of leadership and power by women in all political, economic, social, education and religious institutions because males have proven to be totally unable to get the job done.


AnthonyStJohn March 25, 2012 @ 12:13 p.m.

P.S. Barbara Bry is one of the the best woman to make certain the right things happen in San Diego and Sacramento, and Hillary Clinton in Washington. It's time to support the best women who have proven themselves most capable of providing leadership for getting the job done at last to guarantee an acceptable quality of life for all future generations before the window of opportunity closes due to excessive population, degrading resources, climate changes and immorality that overwhelms all of our institutions throughout the world today.


Don Bauder March 26, 2012 @ 7:39 a.m.

Agreed: women are key to any ethical revolution. One reason is that, generally, women are less greedy than men, and certainly less violent. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 26, 2012 @ 7:37 a.m.

You know what it will take to wake up San Diegans? Snow, sleet and cold weather. San Diego's perfect weather is its biggest enemy. The metro area attracts people who want to go to beaches and play golf. They are permanent tourists. They can easily be fleeced. That's why crooks, including politicians, are attracted to San Diego, too. Best, Don Bauder


Jimgee March 26, 2012 @ 6:56 p.m.

Years ago, when Susan Golding was running for re-election, the UT reported that her favorable rating was high among people who had been in SD for less than 5 years. For longer-term San Diegans, her rating was much lower. I always wondered if there is a honeymoon effect for people who move here from colder climates.


Twister March 26, 2012 @ 8:15 a.m.

Hey, man, like I like told you this a couple a years ago.


Don Bauder March 26, 2012 @ 5:01 p.m.

Of course, Twister, I have been saying this for some time. So I don't know which of us said it first. I'm sure it was said many decades ago by many observant souls. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 26, 2012 @ 5:24 p.m.

Like, dude, I like, concede my, like, conceit and like, acknowledge my like, lack of, like, fee title to the idea.


Don Bauder March 26, 2012 @ 9:09 p.m.

I like, like, your humility. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 27, 2012 @ 8:16 a.m.

I like, like your humility, Twister. Best, Don Bauder


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