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This is a job for the master of disaster

Edison hired Fabiani; utility company won't turn over documents

A "privilege log" indicates documents Edison isn't willing to turn over.
  • A "privilege log" indicates documents Edison isn't willing to turn over.

San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson tonight (April 29) received word from Southern California Edison on the documents it refuses to turn over in a lawsuit the lawyers filed against the company in San Francisco.

Mark Fabiani

Mark Fabiani

Mike Florio

Mike Florio

Stephen Pickett

Stephen Pickett

Aguirre and Severson sued Edison, demanding that they turn over documents related to the deal in which ratepayers will pick up 70 percent of the costs of the San Onofre closing even though those costs, they believe, should be paid by shareholders, not ratepayers, since the shutdown was caused by management errors.

Edison is supposed to turn over the documents to the California Public Utilities Commission, which is supposed to release them to Aguirre and Severson. But a so-called "privilege log" reveals the kind of documents Edison won't turn over. There is a listing on May 28 of last year. Edison is refusing to turn over a "proposed action plan" most assuredly prepared by Mark Fabiani, the "master of disaster" who has been representing the Chargers in their dealings with the city.

(In 2008, the Sacramento Bee reported that in the height of the energy crisis early in the century, then-governor Gray Davis hired Fabiani for advice.) Edison cited "privileged and confidential; attorney client privilege; attorney work product (action plan)" for reasons it refuses to turn over the Fabiani documents.

Also, Edison is withholding a discussion among top executives about an earnings call it is having with securities analysts. (Such calls are routinely made after a company releases earnings for a period.) What did Edison discuss telling analysts in that call? Was it the deal it expected to get to have ratepayers pick up most of the tab for the San Onofre nuclear plant failure? I can't think what else it would have been.

Edison has spent $7 million for legal advice on what documents to withhold, says Aguirre. What is particularly interesting is that in spring of last year, there were numerous instances relating to communications between Mike Florio, a CPUC commissioner, and Bob Adler, Edison's lawyer. In some instances, Edison was preparing a "script" for the Florio call. This involved Ron Litzinger, a top official of Edison. Talking points between then-CPUC president Michael Peevey and Edison's Adler, from June of last year, will not be released. On four other occasions Peevey's talking points will be withheld by Edison. Notes on a telephone call between Peevey and Litzinger won't be released.

Also, Edison won't let go of a diary of Stephen Pickett, the Edison executive who met with Peevey clandestinely in Warsaw, Poland. They sketched out the plan by which ratepayers would be stuck with most of the bill for the expenses of closing San Onofre.

Edison did release a statement by Pickett, dated yesterday (April 28), in which he claims, "I did not understand President Peevey's comments to be a directive on how a settlement should be structured." This statement will be contested vigorously.

"This is the tip of a $5 billion fraud iceberg, showing fraud, showing collusion," says Aguirre. He is waiting to see what CPUC turns over, but, he says, "Edison and CPUC are carrying out a massive coverup of a massive fraud."

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Maybe San Diego should borrow from the Las Vegas sign that reads "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!"

Our sign could read "Welcome to Fabulous Fabiani-land, Where the tax-paying public is abused ad nauseum", (courtesy of Mark Fabiani and friends). Perhaps San Diego is merely an amusement park for the likes of Fabiani. The price of admission is certainly getting higher.

eastlaker: I have always thought that when Fabiani was in the back of a meeting, sending messages on his smartphone, he was telling his colleagues, "These San Diegans actually believe me!" Best, Don Bauder

Apparently in addition to me being unable to "thumbs up" articles, I can no longer reply to articles. I guess I should be grateful that I can post comments at all!

At any rate, Don, I consider Fabiani a fabulist. He should not be believed or relied upon.

eastlaker: People have rightfully cocked an eyebrow at Fabiani declarations in his representation of biker/doper Lance Armstrong, the Chargers, and others.

It is clear in his representation of the Chargers that he wants to turn San Diegans against the team, which really wants to decamp for L.A., and needs to convince the N.F.L. that San Diego doesn't want it. However, it is not clear that any deal will come through in L.A. for economic and political reasons.

One strong possibility is that the Chargers will continue playing at Qualcomm, which the city might agree to spruce up a bit. This could create a problem because of the ill will the team has created locally, and also the loss of around one-third of its audience when another team (or teams) go into the L.A. market. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder, Not that it really matters, but Lance Armstrong is a cyclist/doper, not a biker/doper.

danfogel: Please expatiate: what is the difference between a cyclist and a biker? I am not saying there is not a difference. I am simply saying that I do not know that difference. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: Wow. Stupid me. I guess I should have known that. But I don't follow the motorcycle world. In fact, I have never ridden on one. Best, Don Buder

"It is clear in his representation of the Chargers that he wants to turn San Diegans against the team, which really wants to decamp for L.A." -- Fabiani works for Spanos. Fabiani is antagonizing San Diego not because he's bored or cranky, but because that's what Spanos wants.

I think that Spanos used to just want San Diego to build the Chargers a new stadium at no cost to Spanos, but that when the Rams owner started making his moves toward L.A., the Chargers concluded that if another NFL team was in L.A., the Chargers, to maximize their franchise value, had to also be in L.A. and not in San Diego. They decided that the franchise would be worth more (when the Spanos family ultimately sells) as one of two teams in L.A. than it is as the team in San Diego.

Matt101: Correct. In antagonizing San Diegans, Fabiani is doing what Spanos wants. I believe the Chargers, beginning in the late 1990s and accelerating into the 2000s, were going down two tracks. One led to L.A. and the other led to San Diego. I wrote that for the U-T several times.

Now that the existence of either one or two L.A. teams looks like a real possibility, the Chargers are leaning more toward L.A. But does the Spanos family have the wherewithal to put significant money in either an L.A. or San Diego stadium? That's the question. Best, Don Bauder

eastlaker: I can't reply either or add a photo. I think a script, possibly called '...amazonaws...' or maybe 'googleapis', has to be accepted by your browser before some functions will work on this site. On this particular page there are seven spyware trackers trying to follow me, and seven script sources that want to do things in my browser. These are invisible to most internet users. None of them identify themselves in a meaningful way, or explain what they want to do in my computer. And they are everywhere, often working together gathering data about me and you. They can be examined and/or blocked by Firefox addons but sometimes functionality is reduced.

Hey, thanks for your many thoughtful comments here!

swell: I agree. Swell makes many thoughtful comments. So do you. But I confess I don't understand this message sent to swell. Hopefully, we can get some clarification. Best, Don Bauder

Gary Hjelm: Of course the ratepayers shouldn't be stuck with 70 percent of the bill for San Onofre's closing costs. The nuclear plant's closing was completely caused by management incompetence. Shareholders should pay for all or at least almost all of the cleanup.

The argument proponents give for forcing ratepayers to cough up is that Edison would go to court, and the end result might be ratepayers paying even more. This argument is phony as a three-dollar bill. Edison is foisting the costs on to ratepayers as a result of its collusion with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which since 2002 has only cared about utility profits and has never given a damn about ratepayers. Best, Don Bauder

Mark Fabiani is kind of like San Diego's own antichrist. He's always close by whenever evil needs a voice.

At least we still have Aguirre on the other side, battling the corrupt CPUC.

dwbat: In the papers distributed yesterday, Edison piles up an elaborate legal scheme to say that it was innocent as a lamb in this rape of the ratepayers.

But neither Edison nor the CPUC can wiggle out of this truth: they WERE responsible for the scam by which 70 percent of the cost of the San Onofre shutdown would be borne by ratepayers, who had nothing whatsoever to do with the egregious management failure. Best, Don Bauder

Ponzi: Fabiani is a crisis communicator. He speaks for those in trouble, and plots escape strategies for those in trouble. Maybe you could call him an anticrisis, which sounds very much like what you called him. Best, Don Bauder

Hurray! The 'thumbs up' function has returned!!

Calling Fabiani a crisis communicator has to be the nicest thing that has happened to him in a long time!! You have a very generous soul, Don! (In addition to being a great journalist)!

eastlaker: Fabiani and I have swapped insults by email. Best, Don Bauder

eastlaker: I predict that before the Chargers and Edison battles are over, you WILL agree with Ponzi even more. Best, Don Bauder

Don - you are the most creative thoughtful thinker of our generation (here). The grift goes on but many understand corrupt gameing without doubt thanks to your commitment.

shirleyberan: From the information you have given us in prior posts, I concluded that you were not of my generation. You are a good deal younger. (I am not asking you to reveal your age.) Best, Don Bauder

Charles Langley: The Edison executives were rewarded with bonuses because, in all probability, the company thought it had gotten away with its deception that led to the rape of the ratepayer. Best, Don Bauder

Don - What we are seeing is that the BIG's are using the Courts to assist their high paid lawyers to make any challenge of their public rip offs a very long legal ordeal but that said in this case, Aguirre will prevail because, as you say, there is N☢ way that ratepayers were in any way responsible for SanOnofreGate.

===> #SanOnofreGate. The new Twitter hashtag that will allow you to keep up to date on the ongoing investigation into the multi-billion $ SCE-CPUC ripoff.

CaptD: Aguirre may not prevail because of a biased legal system, but he has the most important and persuasive evidence on his side. Even if he loses, one thing appears certain: the public will not feel the same about Edison, PG&E, and SDG&E again.

Whatever public esteem those utilities once had is gone for now. Best, Don Bauder

Fibiani is right out of Central Casting. The rest are pretty good too. A B- movie on this would be an hilarious cult classic. Black and White, of course. Film Noir.

Twister: Would you cast Peter Lorre in the role of Fabiani, whom you call Fibiani? Best, Don Bauder

Twister: Maybe so, and you can tell how old I am when the only relevant star I can think of is Peter Lorre. If I am telling a joke and want to refer to a movie beauty queen, the only one I can think of is Brigitte Bardot. Best, Don Bauder

Ty Burrell ("Modern Family") could play Fabiani if his hair were greyed.

None

by dwbat

dwbat: There is a resemblance there. Burrell's smile looks genuine, though. Best, Don Bauder

Don Bauder May 1, 2015 @ 7:43 a.m.

Matt101: Correct. In antagonizing San Diegans, Fabiani is doing what Spanos wants.

For the majority of Sin Diegans, all that hot air is aimed at making them afraid "they" will "lose" the Chargers. NFL in a league with organized crime.

Twister: As I have written in several columns, from its founding, the National Football League has been in bed with organized crime. Literally. Read Dan E. Moldea's book, "Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football."

From the 1920s through the 1960s and well beyond, teams have been owned by gangsters and/or big-time gamblers. It's not as prevalent now, but offspring of mobbed-up owners still own teams. Best, Don Bauder

And, obviously, with the government prosecutors. In my movie, I would have the "Boy Scout" character named RICO. Irony, you know . . .

Twister: The character could be a tenor whose first name is EnRICO. Best, Don Bauder

Since the NFL is leaving the "non-profit" business, supposedly they will be able to operate with less scrutiny, according to one article I read.

Is the timing of this particularly interesting?

Will SDSU get Qualcomm?

eastlaker: Too much has been made of the NFL not paying taxes. The owners of teams and the teams have paid taxes all along. It was just the league's administrative arm that was excused by Congress of paying taxes. I don't know that the timing means a thing.

Will SDSU get Qualcomm? You are assuming that the Chargers are all but gone. That's likely, but not a sure thing. It's also likely that after all this, the Chargers will continue to play at Qualcomm.

Twister: Good pun. You must be referring to Foyle's War. (I confess I had to look it up. I had never heard of Foyle's War.) I googled foyle and figured out the pun. Best, Don Bauder

FYI Foyle's War is worth watching, in my opinion. Makes me wish there could be more like him.

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