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City slammed with class action suit for taking $88M in MEAG funds from ratepayers

By   /   November 18, 2010  /   Comments

By Kevin Hogencamp

The Albany City Commission’s decision to increase public expenditures by using millions of dollars of Water, Gas & Light Commission funds is illegal because the money belongs to utility customers, two Albany residents and a business say in a class-action suit filed Tuesday.

In March 2009, the City Commission “unlawfully amended the city charter in an attempt to use such funds for its benefit, as opposed for the benefit of the ratepayers,” Ardessa Floyd, Dianne Carr and P.J.’s Decorative Fabrics say in the lawsuit, filed in Dougherty County Superior Court by Albany attorneys Robert Margeson and Patrick Flynn.

“This complaint arises out of defendants’ unlawful use of funds intended to benefit citizens of Albany who purchase electricity from the Water, Gas and Light Commission (WG&L) of the City of Albany.”

The plaintiffs are asking the court to require the City Commission to obey the law and to pay fees paid to the plaintiffs’ attorneys in an effort to require the City Commission to comply with the law.

“Such conduct constitutes breach of contract and violates the plaintiffs’ rights as protected by the Constitution of the State of Georgia …,” the plaintiffs say in the lawsuit. “By failing to use the MEAG distribution for the exclusive use and benefit of plaintiffs, and by unlawfully withholding and using same for uses other than the lawful use, the defendants have regularly and systematically taken plaintiffs’ property and are continuing to take plaintiffs’ property without the process of law.” WG&L is receiving $88 million from 2009 to 2018 in distributions from a trust fund administered by the Municipal Electric Association of Georgia (MEAG). According to an agreement between WG&L and MEAG, the funds may be used only to benefit WG&L electric ratepayers.

In the late 1990s, electric utility experts concluded that the electric utility industry ultimately would be deregulated and opened to compensation. As a result, in 1999, MEAG member cities, including the City of Albany, created the Municipal Competitive Trust to prepare the cities for deregulation. The trust was funded over the next 10 years by ratepayers in MEAG-member cities, including the City of Albany.

Deregulation did not occur and in 2009, WG&L began receiving payments from MEAG that will amount to $88 million over 10 years.

Albany Mayor Willie Adams, who chairs the Water, Gas & Light Commission, spearheaded the initiative to use the MEAG windfall for city operations. In 2008, the Albany Journal exposed that the City Commission met secretly and illegally to mastermind the abolishment of the WG&L Authority, the governing board whose members are appointed by the City Commission.

Unable to carry through with that plan, the City Commission decided in 2009 that it will use one-third of the MEAG windfall to help fund its operations, a decision that has enabled the city to increase spending during the past two fiscal years. Another one-third of the money was put in the fund for the City Commission for its discretionary use, and the other third was allowed to be used legally by the WG&L Commission.

Albany City Attorney Nathan Davis has said he agrees that the funds belongs to WG&L’s customers, but that it would be too complicated to return the funds to them.

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Comments

  1. Truth B Known says:

    Albany City Attorney Nathan Davis has said he agrees that the funds belongs to WG&L’s customers, but that it would be too complicated to return the funds to them.
    Just goes to show you they know how to take away,but not give back.With the raises they got they should be able to do it if they pass the hat around,and no one fudges on how much they have.But we know that will not happen.You cant teach an old dog new tricks.Not these Officals in Albany,they took corruption 101 in school.
    Also they are real good about taking things that dont belong to them.

  2. BillS says:

    Kevin, Do you not think there is some serious illegal activity going on here? I think someone needs to report this to the state’s attorney office. I think this information along with all the other corruption and scandal should be forwarded to the major media outlets.The crooks in Bell, CA got cuffs and the same thing needs to happen here. The gunslinger’s remark that it is too complicated to fix is not the correct answer. Someone has to be held accountable. Enough is enough.

  3. Truth B Known says:

    So Nathan said it would be too complicated to return funds.It s not that hard.Just all of you get together,get a hat,and start dropping money in it.We The People will let you know when you get close.(Albany Officals)Starting with the Mayor since chairs it.Oh thats right,you cant find him when the going gets tuff.Just when it matters to him,and Al,and Nathan and the rest of the good ole boys.The only thing not complicated for Nathan is where to hide his gun and knife now,since his hidding place was found out and reported.Everyone of you need to be put behind bars,and the key lost.Since you all are so good at losing files,and other things against your way of working the system..
    You know i knew there would come a day that others besides me would get tired of your crooked ways.I have been called all kinds of names by each of you.For pushing for my rights and the rights of My Mother.It has not hurt me,nor netrurd me.And if i cant fight alone,i bet now i can get others to back me up.You all do what you like with our money.not your money,OUR,We The People.And if you have not noticed,we are tired of it.New law suits will follow.Alfred please stay around for mine,you and the Mayor,and gunsinger Nathan.You dont scare me,never have.Because what i speak now and then was the truth.You all are worried about the baggie pants,well honeys,lets me tell ya,you all have been cought with your britches,not baggie,but all the way down.And if you expect Nathan to get you out of this one,i think you may be how do they say it?S— out a luck.And i have also learned it s not just who you know,it s who you blow downtown.Now get your minds outa the gutter,it was ment as blow the whistle on.How many more whistles are gona have to sound off before this town gets more lawyers to back them up.When my case came up,no one wanted to touch it.Not becuase i did not have a good case,i have a great one.Its just now that i did get a lawyer (out of Albany) my case has not went before the court again.Dont i get a fair and just hearing? Dont i since i payed for the courts time,get my time?When my case does go back to court,i will be asking for alot more than what i was.It was not about the money.But you all take and take,and dont give except to your buddies.
    And Concerned,the traffic ticket probley got done like Lotts did in Lee County when he parked in a disabled parking space,and only got a warrning.You know how them closed door meetings go.And since the Mayor has the room swept for buggs before each closed door meeting,which we pay for,we dont have an idea what they are planning.Bull crap we know,the same ole stuff just diffrent day.CORRUPTION!It is well past time that everyone in Albany get together,and take our town back.
    I would give anything to be able to set up a watch group,but for our Officals.I can go back through the Journal and there is enough on each and everyone off you to put you out of Office.And you all know it.That is why you are SCARED of the Journal.they tell the truth.And you all would not know the truth if it hit you up side the head.
    Well you all know the truth,it s just now there are lawyers that are getting into it that are making you very nervous.You are wondering if you shreaded all the evadivance.I would even like to be a hard drive on your computers.There are always bits and pices left behind.Now lets see all of you run to your computers,or get new hard drives.
    And let me just say this for WG&Lights,God Bless you all.Alot of people just dont know what you do,do for us here.I do.You all do have a heart.And everyone who wants to know why there lights still get cut off,why not ask the Chair of WG&Lights.After all he is the Mayor.But he will just send in his buddies,AL,and Nathan.And if that does not work he will just bring in a judge from another County as to not look suspicous..I also note that i have seen one Judge stand up to them.Goss.He will not let rules be broken no matter who you are.And not just that,he knows when a law is broken,does not matter who breaks it,he will hear the case,and do the right thing.Unlike the judge in my Moms case,where he said he could not hear the case because he worked for the same people as my co dfendent does.That is not in there Oath they take by the way.But yet they spent tax payers money and brought in a judge from Grady County.Now i will say this.The Corruptions goes higher up even.Because when i wrote the Judicial Qualifications Commission about the way both judges handle my case,well on the one from Grady County they said they did not see anything wrong with the way he done.Even tho there was a women during the trial that fell in the court room and knocked herself out,but they called no EMS,no medical treatment was done on this women untill she went to the hospital that night with a bad headache,and found out she had a bad contusion.Then when another whitness came in the court room with a cell phone and the judge scolded her(78 years old) when it went off and told her to give it to the court guard,and he took it outside the court room,yet right after that,The judges phone went off not once but twice,and he laughed about it,then the defendents lawyers phone went off,and they all laughed.Yet the JQC said they saw nothing done wrong.I have the letter.So that shows you it is not a do as i do,but a do as i say.
    The journal is welcome to a copy of this if they like since they have found no fault in the 2 Judges that pertain to my case.It is way past time for those in Office to answer to there crimes.And if found guilty,go to jail,do not pass go,do not collect anymore tax payers money.And what happened to a speedie trial?It s been 2 yeras since the last one,where i was told i did not need a lawyer(that was my stupitidty).Are you all waiting for everyone in my case to drop dead?They are all still alive and waiting like me.
    People in albany are tired of you all getting away with murder.(just an expreshion).But would not doubt it may have happened since they allow just anyone to carry guns and knives in there desk drawers.Now what do you all have to say for your selfs.Why dont you answer the Journals questions? Scared huh? Why dont you have faith in your lawyer Nathan?Or your City mang.?Or police cheif for that matter?

  4. BillS says:

    Doesn’t Alfred Loot, the gunslinger and all need the funds to pay for all of the other lawsuits they are racking up?

  5. Concerned says:

    There’s lawyers in Agony willing to take on the City & WG&L? I didn’t think there were any who couldn’t be bought off with the City’s taxpayer money. You’re my hero among the legal community. Kudos to you and I hope you win big. Can someone tell me what happened to the traffic ticket issued to Asst. City Attorney Jenise Smith for failure to wear her seatbelt? I know she complained to Chief Proctor that she was stopped because she was black, but now it appears the ticket has diappeared. Does anyone know? I wonder if she used the same excuse for failing the Bar in 2008 and that’s why the City hired her?

  6. Concerned says:

    This sounds just like what happened in Bell, CA just before the Mayor, City Manager, and Commissioners were arrested and escorted out in handcuffs. It’s about time someone did something about City Hall crime and corruptions. It’s out of control. I say, slap the bracelets on every one of them. Hey Kevin, can other WG&L customers join this class action suit to get their money back?

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