Report points to fmr. MLGW President Herman Morris as author of VIP list - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Kontji Anthony reports

Report points to fmr. MLGW President Herman Morris as author of VIP list

Page by page, the "Examination of The Marshall Report" points to the MLG&W administration before utility President Joseph Lee as the authors of the infamous VIP list.

Now, former MLG&W President Herman Morris responds.

The most important information on one page of the report are five numbers. They show the date a VIP list was created to notify prominent politicians if their power was in jeopardy of cut-off.

The date listed is May 1st, 2001, when Herman Morris was president of MLG&W.

"I don't think it's a report. I think it's a stretch," says Morris.

Morris says it's the first time he saw the internal MLG&W memo.

It's the last page of the "Examination of The Marshall Report", written by Lee's attorney Robert Spence.

Spence argues The Marshall Report, commissioned by City Council Chairman Tom Marshall, failed to provide evidence for its findings.

Its findings allege that Lee allowed special treatment of City Councilman Edmund Ford when the utility kept Ford's power from being cut off despite an outstanding balance.

Morris adds, "no matter how you spin it, twist it, turn it or tell it, he got services, he didn't pay his bill, he was treated a lot differently than any other customer was."

Spence's report also notes the VIP list was expanded during Morris' presidency after then Commercial Appeal Editor Angus McEachran contacted Morris about a meter malfunction that caused a billing error.

"On our watch, I don't know at any time that policy was not applied across the board to customers equitably and fairly," says Morris.

Morris says too much energy is being put into protecting Lee.

"They're spending a lot of dollars and I hope these aren't ratepayers dollars paying for lawyers to assist Mr. Lee before various investigative agencies," says Morris.

He says MLG&W should focus on providing good service.

Morris says there's a good reason he had contact with people on the list, "I thought it was our job, as an executive of the company, to deal with the elected officials who were calling, in their responsible roles as elected officials, representing their constituencies and base," explains Morris.

Though the subject line in the internal memo is entitled "Third Party Notification," Morris says the list was for all company purposes.

Morris adds, "there were no parameters. It was a list of folks that were generally elected officials and or folks with whom I had some ongoing effort."

"Sometimes they were calls from people whom I might have had projects, whether it was a Civil Rights dinner or whether it was a United Way campaign or some other community effort with which I was having constant back and forth communications with individuals. I wanted those calls to come through," says Morris.

He says the controversy is just a smokescreen to hide bad mistakes by the current MLG&W administration.

It's important to note none of the people on the list was aware of it.

Tuesday the City Council votes whether or not to accept Lee's resignation after pressuring the Mayor to reconsider his decision refuse it.

Herman Morris is a candidate for Memphis mayor.

To read the full report click here.


Click here to email Kontji Anthony.
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