11 Con Ed workers charged with kickbacks

January 14, 2009 3:01:20 PM PST
Ten supervisors and a retired worker at Consolidated Edison are accused of soliciting and accepting more than $1 million in kickbacks from a contractor. Authorities say the contractor worked at projects in New York City and Westchester County since 2004.

They included the cleanup following a July 2007 steam pipe explosion in Manhattan that killed one person and seriously injured two others.

A spokesman for the utility had no immediate comment on Wednesday.

The defendants were arrested Wednesday and are awaiting arraignment in federal court in Brooklyn.

U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell is scheduled to hold a news conference later Wednesday to discuss the details.

The following communication was sent to Con Edison employees today from Kevin Burke, chairman, president and CEO:

This note is to advise you that 10 current employees and one retired employee were arrested this morning in connection with accepting kickbacks from contractors who performed construction work for the Company.

I was shocked and disappointed upon hearing the news of these arrests and I imagine you were too.

While we are still reviewing the lengthy affidavits, it is alleged that contractors performing construction work for Con Edison were bribing Company employees so that the employees would accept inflated invoices. The bribery schemes allegedly covered different time periods and involved varying amounts of money. The affidavits contain transcripts from recorded conversations with our employees relating to the payment of bribes for accepting inflated invoices.

We are fully cooperating with authorities. The company takes these allegations very seriously and, as you know, sets high ethical standards for its employees. Our ethical standards are embodied in our corporate values of service, honesty and excellence. Remember that you should immediately report any unethical or illegal activities to our internal auditor.

I also know how committed you are to serving New Yorkers honestly, fairly and safely.

Kevin Burke

Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

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