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Cleco: Now I Get It! A guide to the fleecing of Central Louisiana. Unfortunately, it has not been easy for me to find a play-by-play guide to the Cleco scandal. I have relied on statements made by those close to the events and by individuals who seem to understand what this is all about. Last year, as many of you know, two top Cleco officials, Sam Sansing and David Pugh, defected (were terminated) from the energy supplier and quickly formed their own consultation company. Their first client: The City of Alexandria. These former employees informed the City of Alexandria that Cleco was dramatically overcharging the city for utilities. (I'm not certain how or why the City wasn't aware of this in the first place). Cleco fired back, alleging that this information was proprietary and that these two former employees had broken a confidentiality agreement by revealing these price hikes to the city. At least two members of the mayor's administration kept Cleco officials informed about what had been revealed during these closed-door sessions. (See: The Town Talk, July 26, 2005), and therefore, it seems likely that members of the local government were colluding with Cleco, severely jeopardizing the city's ability to broker a fair deal. The city sued Cleco, Cleco sued the former employees (nothing says they're guilty more than this), and one of the former employees, Mr. Sansing, countersued Cleco. Mayor Randolph fired three members of his administration, including his chief of staff. According to WeSawThat, the damages they received from the city were "peanuts," because, in part, the city's lawyer was a member of the Gold firm, the same firm with which the two federal judges had practiced. That said, Cleco also unsuccessfully attempted to get a judge removed from their case against its two former employees, citing that the judge's wife worked for the City of Alexandria. It has also been reported that Cleco used the printing services of Alexandria City Councilman Chuck Fowler. Clearly, the case against Cleco has been complicated by the personal relationships that members of our local government had with Cleco employees and officials, and clearly, Cleco has something to hide. Recently, they have waved the $1 billion plant as a carrot in front of our eyes, and this huge facility will, no doubt, help us tremendously. However, I understand the frustration people have when they see Cleco giving its leaders millions in bonuses when it's obvious they took our city (and therefore our taxpayers) to the cleaners. Should we still do business with them? I'm not sure if we have any other option. But yes, I think someone needs to address the ethics violations and sanction Cleco for its disservice to our community. Now, fill in some of the blanks for me.