Attorney General Demands Contempt Finding Against Enron for Refusing to Comply With Subpoenas

Monday, March 18, 2002
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SAN FRANCISCO) – Fed up with Enron Corp.'s stonewalling in the state's investigation, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said today that he is renewing his demand that the company be found in contempt of court for not responding to the Attorney General's subpoenas.

The Attorney General last week sent a team from his Energy Task Force to Enron's west coast energy trading office in Portland, Ore., to speed retrieval of subpoenaed documents and computer files.

"Instead of being able to quickly pack up materials, my Energy Task Force found a near-useless index to more than 940 boxes in Portland and even had to sift through ‘recycling' boxes that contained crusted food containers, food residue, discarded Kleenex, mail order catalogs and personal mail," Lockyer said. "Enron has been equally contemptible in failing to turn over subpoenaed materials from its offices in California and Texas."

The Attorney General filed his renewed demand with the San Francisco Superior Court, which set a hearing for March 28. The San Francisco Superior Court had delayed a contempt ruling after ordering the company to comply by March 13 and furnish documents and computer files not specifically protected by attorney-client privilege.

"Each time we've gotten close to court sanctions, Enron's backed down and said it would turn over the materials we want," Lockyer said. "Despite being ordered five months ago to comply with our subpoenas, Enron made little or no effort to produce the materials we want for the state's investigation into possible misconduct during California's energy crisis. We'll accept no more excuses from Enron."

Lockyer said the aim is to get information from the company for the state's investigation into potential unfair and illegal business practices by power generators and other companies.

The Attorney General last year warned Enron against the destruction of subpoenaed materials and reinforced protection of the documents through a court order issued January 23 by Judge A. James Robertson.

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