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The State

Perot Backs Off Promise to Cooperate With Probe

June 15, 2002|NANCY VOGEL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO -- H. Ross Perot, who promised to testify "any time, any place" before a state legislative committee investigating Perot Systems' blueprint for gaming the California electricity market, said that he would not be available to testify until next month and would not deliver requested documents to the committee.

In a letter sent Thursday to Sen. Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana), attorneys for Perot said he would not be available to appear at the Capitol until after July 8. In a separate letter written Friday, Perot's lawyers told Dunn they would deliver subpoenaed documents to the state attorney general, not to Dunn's select committee.

Documents subpoenaed by Dunn's committee from Reliant Energy of Houston show that Perot Systems, founded by the former candidate for president, peddled ways to manipulate California's fledgling electricity market. Perot Systems had been hired in 1997 to help set up the computer systems for the California Power Exchange, the now-defunct marketplace for electricity under the state's deregulation plan.

Dunn said that Perot had promised full cooperation a week ago, and that the news of a delay in testimony and in producing documents "tells me that the evidence ... probably is greater than even we expected."

The senator said he would ask the Senate Rules Committee next week to issue subpoenas requiring Perot and his employees to testify.

Dunn's committee has determined that Perot Systems offered advice on gaming California's power market to at least five energy companies.

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