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Utilities Whistleblower

Newark, NJ: (Nov-18-07) The New Jersey State Board of Public Utilities has come under public scrutiny, following a spate of whistleblower lawsuits filed against it. One of the cases involved BPU fiscal chief Joseph Potena, who claimed his supervisors became critical of his job performance, threatened insubordination charges, and usurped his responsibilities after he alerted the state Treasury Department of the board's misdemeanors. He accused the board of setting up an $80 million to $100 million Clean Energy account in a private bank without Treasury approval. A source confirmed that the trial was supposed to begin early November 2007, but has seen some delays, possibly paving the way for a settlement. Early in 2007, Kenneth Connolly, another official, brought charges against the utility, alleging that he was demoted from his state parole board post after he told state police that in 2002, then Governor James McGreevey's office ordered a reputed mobster to be released from prison. Records show that the state agreed to a $485,000 payout, as well as agreed to give Connolly a similar paying job at the Motor Vehicle Commission. State officials claim that legal bills to defend the state Board of Public Utilities and three top official could reach $1 million. [COURIER POST: UTILITIES WHISTLEBLOWER]


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Published on Nov-19-07

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