Monday, November 21, 2005

Bustamante, Gas Companies come to friendly terms

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and defendants in his case over energy price gouging have come to terms...very close terms.

Natural gas companies seeking to settle a lawsuit filed by Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in the wake of the energy crisis have offered to sweeten the deal by paying $200,000 to endow a university professorship in his name.

Bustamante's lawyers have agreed in principal to the deal, saying they would accept a settlement of $20 million — though that is a fraction of the money, perhaps $1 billion or more, Bustamante hoped to recover when he filed the case on behalf of overcharged California consumers.

Bustamante's chief lawyer, Raymond Boucher of Beverly Hills, said it was he who suggested to gas company attorneys that the firms pay for the University of California professorship.