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Judge won't dismiss charge against ex-utility boss

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A judge has refused to dismiss an official misconduct charge against Indiana's former top utility regulator.

David Lott Hardy's attorney told a judge Monday that he would file a pretrial appeal, Marion County prosecutor's office spokeswoman Brienne Delaney said.

The former chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission was indicted in December on three counts of official misconduct. The indictment alleged that Hardy allowed the panel's top lawyer to keep overseeing cases involving Duke Energy Corp. even though he knew the attorney was trying to land a job at the utility company.

Hardy had filed a motion in Marion Superior Court in April to dismiss an amended indictment against him, claiming he did nothing criminal. He claimed the charges are too broad and seek to impose criminal liability for violating administrative rules.

One of the counts alleges that Hardy communicated with Duke Energy employees regarding efforts by former IURC attorney Scott Storms to secure a job with Duke, and that he allowed Storms to continue handling Duke-related matters before the commission.

The two other counts allege that Hardy failed to disclose conversations he allegedly had with Duke employees over the rising costs of the $3.3 billion coal-gasification plant the company is building near the southwestern Indiana town of Edwardsport.

Hardy's attorney, David Hensel, did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment Tuesday.

Gov. Mitch Daniels fired Hardy in October 2010 after an internal review showed that Storms, who was the IURC's top attorney and an administrative law judge, discussed a position with Duke while presiding over hearings concerning the utility.

The utility also fired Storms, and ethical problems related to the project cost two high-ranking Duke executives their jobs.

The cost estimate of the plant, located about 60 miles north of Evansville, has climbed from its original estimate of $1.9 billion in 2007 to the current estimate of $3.3 billion.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy, which is Indiana's largest electric utility with about 780,000 customers, has attributed those cost increases in part to design changes for the plant, which will be one of the largest coal-gasification plants in the world.

The 630-megawatt plant will convert coal into a synthetic gas that will be burned in a traditional turbine power plant to produce electricity.

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  1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

  2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

  3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

  4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

  5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....

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