Washington Lawyer Eyed To Lead Producer Group
Washington attorney Katherine B. Edwards is among the candidates
being eyed by the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) to succeed
former President Nicholas J. Bush, who departed the trade group
last month amid allegations that he defrauded it of more than $2.4
million, sources say.
Edwards is well known for her representation at FERC of major
natural gas producers, such as Exxon, Shell and BP Amoco. Others
being considered for the NGSA post include a "couple" of
unidentified former FERC commissioners, another Washington lawyer
and "what I call recycled oil and gas executives," which include
mid- to high-level producer executives who have lost their jobs due
to mergers or for other reasons, said a source who requested
Former Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Moler, who is now a
partner in the Washington law firm of Vinson and Elkins, also was
viewed as a potential successor, but apparently didn't express any
interest. "I'm very happy at this law firm," Moler told NGI last
week. "Beyond that, I have no comment."
In related news, NGI has learned that the U.S. Attorney's Office
in Washington D.C. may file criminal charges very soon in
connection with the alleged fraud scheme, possibly by the first or
second week of April.
Washington insiders agree that snaring Edwards, who has a solid
reputation in the natural gas industry, would go a long way towards
helping to restore NGSA's name, which was significantly tarnished
when it was discovered in late January that Bush allegedly had
bilked the association out of millions of dollars over a 12-year
period through an elaborate consulting scheme. NGSA filed a civil
lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court last month seeking recovery of $2.43
million in missing funds, plus $5 million in punitive damages.
"...[I]n my mind I think there's one very clear choice of who
should have the job" - Edwards - because of her strong ties to the
producer community, the source noted. She's the "very obvious
person," he said, adding "I know [she's] on the list." Edwards
"tends to make the other candidates seem somewhat more pale" by
comparison. Asked last week if she had been contacted by NGSA
and/or was considering the position, Edwards would only say "no
comment." She is a partner in the D.C. law firm of Grammer, Kissel,
Robbins, Skancke & Edwards.
It was not clear who actually was at the top of the
association's list of candidates. "Some Houston people," the source
said, already "have turned it down" because they didn't want to
move to Washington. John Sharp, NGSA's vice president of federal
and state affairs and general counsel, has been in charge of the
day-to-day operations of the association since Bush's departure,
but he reportedly isn't being considered as a successor.
While the selection committee pores over the candidates, most
agree on one thing - that NGSA "needs to pick a leader and it needs
to do it soon." Susan Parker