Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Judge: Former top utility regulator conduct reprehensible, but not criminal

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) A judge on Monday threw out four felony counts of official misconduct against Indiana's former top utility regulator.

David Lott Hardy's behavior as Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission chairman in connection with the Duke Energy ethics scandal was not criminal, Marion Superior Court Judge William Nelson said.

However, Nelson scolded Hardy for "betraying the trust" of Indiana citizens and engaging in "reprehensible" conduct, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Hardy was charged with not disclosing several meetings with Duke executives about cost overruns at a $3.3 billion coal-gasification power plant in Edwardsport, about 60 miles north of Evansville. Hardy also was accused of helping the IURC's top attorney, Scott Storms, break ethics rules in seeking a job with Duke while helping oversee the Edwardsport case.

Then-Gov. Mitch Daniels fired Hardy as IURC chairman in 2010.

Hardy's defense argued that he was charged unfairly because there were no underlying criminal charges aside from the official misconduct charges.

Nelson noted that the Indiana inspector general's office found a defect in the state's official misconduct statute in September 2010 and recommended that the General Assembly amend the law. The General Assembly changed the law effective July 1, 2012, to require it apply to a public servant who "knowingly or intentionally commits an offense" in the performance of his duties.

Hardy was indicted in December 2011.

The Indiana Court of Appeals denied Hardy's request to throw out the charges against him in December, but Hardy renewed his request at the trial court level.

Hardy declined to comment to the judge before the ruling.

Posted 8/12/2013