Public Money Used To Buy Influence In Court
Wildfire victims groups have asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali to prohibit PG&E from spending money on lobbying until it has fully compensated those who lost homes, property and loved ones in the series of fires sparked by PG&E’s equipment in 2017 and 2018. Lawyers for the fire victims say it is inappropriate for PG&E to spend millions to lavishly influence state lawmakers and regulators in an attempt to limit their own liability for the immense death and destruction they caused.
Raiding Victims Funds for Corporate Payouts
Records show PG&E spent $11.8 million lobbying lawmakers and the California Public Utilities Commission since 2017. PG&E could have paid the victims settlements before filing bankruptcy and chose not to, instead paying millions in severance to outgoing executives. The company paid its former CEO Geisha Williams $2.5 million in severance when she resigned in January.
Injured Parties Left In Cold
Thousands of victims who fled the deadly wildfires have no home to return to and are struggling to find permanent shelter during the coldest wettest California winter ever recorded. Many more with damaged property and homes buried in debris and ash expect it will take years of rebuilding before they can move back in. Victims advocacy groups and legal experts are watching the case closely to proactively prevent PG&E’s maneuvering out from under their legal and financial responsibilities.