Caveat Emptor: Questions for the Coop

By: Bill Whaley
17 December, 2015

Beware the CEO’s BS at the Coop: the man is losing touch with reality. Unlike the Traveling Trustees at Kit Carson Cooperative Electric, Inc. who gather round their CEO like true believers, I am no businessman. No doubt, the Trustees can tell you why they have borrowed $100 million, while encumbering the assets of the $134 million Coop. The only truly honest Trustee, Virgil Martinez, has said, “We should all be in jail. I’ll go if they’ll go.”

Despite the high gloss on technology at the Coop, I’ve never had an “email” message or “smartphone” note from a Trustee. Yet they do know how to use the telephone. Though they are in the Internet/Broadband business, the business of “adding” and “subtracting” seems like Calculus to the Trustees but without a guide like the teacher, Jaime Escalante, played by Jaime Olmos, in “Stand and Deliver.”

Coop politics remind me more of “Machete” the way the Trustees and Manager send out paid employees to try and “allegedly” intimidate members. Apparently, after a visit from a Coop thug, a local business owner, whose employees had been signing up members to demand a forensic audit in Questa, threw the petitions in waste basket.

Below, the Chicano Chamber of Commerce submitted a list of questions to the PRC in hopes that members will get answers on hearing day. (Despite the CEO’s claims to the contrary, the PRC has received enough “protests” to guarantee a hearing.) Given the complex form, we encourage readers to continue submitting “email” protests.

Commissioner Valerie Espinosa is running for re-election and she wants to hear from Taosenos. She’s been up here campaigning and taking the pulse of the community. Check the website. Check KCEC’s website for Luis’s secret meeting times with members.

On Wednesday, we visited the PRC and, due to good fortune, got a quick meeting with a couple of Commissioners and staff. Apparently, KCEC’s reputation in the state of New Mexico is not dissimilar to its reputation at home. Though the bureaucrats are polite, they are also skeptical about some of the Coop’s activities during the last decade.

BTW: The word is out around government offices in Albuquerque that someone lost out on a big-time job due to a sexual harassment claim. The Shadow knows.

Questions

Questions for Kit Carson Electric Cooperative re: Rate Increase: Members need to see the answers vetted and on the record i.e. recorded on hard copy.

1. The Coop files IRS form 990, a consolidated tax report. Where are the audit reports, balance sheets and P&Ls for the Coop’s electric division and side ventures: Call Center, Command Center, Internet, Propane, and Broadband?
2. How much are Coop members owed by ventures into non-electric entities?
3. What is the Total Debt now and when will Broadband Debt be entered on the books?
4. When will capital credits get paid? How much is owed?
5. Does the Coop have a business plan for liquidating losing ventures? See above.
6. Why doesn’t the Coop cut costs? Number of employees? Sell Side Ventures? Cut Travel and take Coop courses online? Reduce number of Trustees? What’s wrong with redistricting and reducing the number of Trustees? What’s wrong with “one person, one vote?” Or email balloting?
7. Why not do a “forensic audit” and place a “monitor” in the Coop offices since the Coop, according to their own consultant, is “underperforming”? Why not bring Mr. Terry Bruner in to tell why USDA/RUS doesn’t appear to monitor its grantees? Command Center was over-designed and underbuilt, according to its grant from RUS?
8. Why don’t you sell these empty buildings with only a couple of people working in them? 5,000 square foot Command Center (2 employees) 10,000 square foot Call Center: 3 or 4 Employees?
9. Who will pay the $37 million for the Tri-State exit fee? Is it in writing?
10. Where’s the proof in your claims and request for a rate increase? Shouldn’t some one else manage the Coop since the current Trustees and Executive seem to have failed, according to their own reports?
11. When will you be back for another rate increase or bailout by members?

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