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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced a settlement agreement in the Enron bankruptcy proceedings that resolves claims by the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) alleging that, between January 2000 and December 2001, the company engaged in over a thousand violations of Oregon's racketeering law. The agreement, which settles a large number of outstanding claims in the bankruptcy proceeding, must be approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court in New York State and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
In October 2002, Myers filed a claim in the Enron bankruptcy alleging that the company violated state and federal statutes, including Oregon's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). DOJ specified civil penalties totaling over $336 million, asserting the company engaged in a concerted effort to drive up energy prices across the west coast. Enron objected to the claims; yet never denied the allegations of misconduct.
"If approved by the bankruptcy court and FERC, today's settlement will bring some closure to one of the most egregious cases of business misconduct in Oregon history," Myers said. "Unfortunately, Enron will never be held fully accountable for its role in the collapse of the energy market during 2000 and 2001."
Today's settlement resolves claims filed by numerous west coast agencies and organizations, as well as the Attorneys General of Oregon, California and Washington. The proposed settlement calls for the California parties to receive an $875 million unsecured claim in the Enron bankruptcy proceeding, plus $47.5 million in cash. The agreement allows an unsecured claim of over $22 million each for Oregon and Washington. Because total claims against Enron in the bankruptcy greatly exceed total assets, all claims will be further discounted before final distribution is made to Oregon and the other states. Currently, the parties to the settlement estimate that Oregon may receive up to $5 million upon approval and payment of the settlement.
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