Sempra Energy: Media Statement on Michelon Lawsuit (USA)

In response to Rodolfo Michelon’s employment lawsuit against the company, Sempra Energy issued the following statement:

“Mr. Michelon is a disgruntled ex-employee whose claims are false – this is nothing more than a veiled attempt to extract money from the company. When Mr. Michelon first voiced his claims earlier this year, the Sempra Energy board of directors promptly ordered an independent investigation by an outside law firm. The investigation was extensive and found his claims to be completely without merit.

“Mr. Michelon was one of approximately 90 employees whose positions were eliminated in a corporate reorganization in April. The company offered Mr. Michelon and all other displaced employees both a severance package and outplacement support. Mr. Michelon rejected these offers and, instead, is demanding money from the company by making these allegations and claims. We do not intend to accede to his demands and look forward to addressing his claims in the appropriate legal venue.

“The Casa Azul conference center is part of Sempra LNG’s $1 billion-plus operations complex for Energía Costa Azul, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receipt terminal in Baja California, Mexico. Since Energía Costa Azul is the first and only facility of its kind on the entire West Coast of North America, the terminal attracts high-ranking dignitaries, top corporate executives and other special visitors from all over the world. The Energía Costa Azul operations complex is remotely situated away from populated areas, so the company has built the Casa Azul conference center on site, where it can host current and potential customers, suppliers and foreign visitors, as well as hold internal management meetings.

“Mr. Michelon’s claim that utility ratepayers had to pay directly or indirectly for the construction of Casa Azul is patently false. Customers of San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Co. – Sempra Energy’s two California utilities — had no part in the funding of the facility. “Mr. Michelon also has made unfounded allegations about bribery in Mexico that are absolutely false. The company has complied with all applicable laws in its business dealings on both sides of the border.

Additionally, on behalf of Sempra Energy’s board of directors, William C. Rusnack, lead independent director, provided the following comment on the investigation of Mr. Michelon’s post-termination claims: “Responding to allegations made by Mr. Rodolfo Michelon, earlier this year, the Sempra board of directors ordered a thorough and independent investigation into this matter. The Sempra board is satisfied with the results of the independent investigation that the allegations made by Mr. Michelon are without merit.”

Source: Sempra Energy, November 15, 2010

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