Former heard of Pedernales Electric Co-Op is found guilty of money laundering, theft and mis-application of fiduciary property. Bennie Fuelberg faces up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 per offense. Mr. Fuelberg was the PEC General manager for 32 years until 2008. See San Antonio Express News report.
Mr. Fuelberg admitted on the witness stand to asking the law firm for PEC to hire his brother as a lobbyist and secretly bill the utility for the salary, $5000 per month. The lawyer, Walter Demond who agreed to this arrangement is facing similar charges. Mr. Demond was General Counsel for PEC at the time.
Mr. Fuelberg never told the board about the hiring of his brother, Curtis Fuelberg. The board might still be on the hook if some rate payer can allege that the board should have known or failed to undertake due diligence. In fact, one irate rate payer who attended the trial, Ernest Aultgelt says the board’s actions need to be reviewed.
Non-profits and small utilities receive little oversight. Too many such entities operate as minor fiefdoms.
The jury has recommended 10 years probation and a $10,000 fine for Bennie Fuelberg. See Express News report.