A little over a month ago I posted the contents of an e-mail I received from Kris Heap documenting business dealings of Arizona State Senator Bob Worsley (LD-25), titled, Why would Bob Worsley spend close to $1 million to stay in the Arizona Senate? Well, it provoked a very interesting reaction.
On Wednesday, Kris Heap got a letter from Kory Langhofer, an attorney representing Senator Worsley, and I got what on first inspection appears to be an identical letter. Langhofer, writing on behalf of Worsley and Novo Power LLC, demanded a retraction and a public apology for defaming the senator.
Follow-up note entered October 31, 2014:
We have gotten several comments, now that we have invited them, an additional letter from Mr. Langhofer, and some further communication with Kris Heap. Considering all the comments and references that were offered, there may indeed be inaccuracies in the original post. Partly in the interest of complete accuracy, and partly in the interest of reconciliation, I have decided to take down the original post and move on to other matters. I have decided to leave the responses, though, in this post, though I have edited this post to remove some of the allegations as well as comments that could be particularly inflammatory. I do admit here that the one item, on the source of the money received by Snowflake White Mountain Power, Langhofer may indeed be correct. On the other item of dispute, whether Worsley benefited or not from Senate Bill 1484, we can leave that as a matter for each reader to decide for himself or herself. The positions are laid out clearly. It doesn’t seem to me that the bare facts are in dispute, only the interpretation of them.
I have also left the comments here. Those who have come to Bob Worsley’s defense have some points that some people may find helpful.
I do still believe that if Worsley wanted to truly avoid any conflict of interest, he shouldn’t be on the Senate Commerce, Energy, and Military Committee.
It doesn’t take a deep knowledge of politics to realize that a lot of charges and counter-charges are spoken about public servants. Fortunately, United States law protects free speech and is especially strong in protecting the rights of news media, bloggers, and the public when they are critical of our leaders. Mr. Langhofer has to clearly understand that in order to prevail in a defamation lawsuit he would have to prove that what I published was false and that I knew it was false, or at least suspected it was false and failed to check it out. Which makes the letter even more curious, because he spends three pages, single-spaced, trying to convince me that the information I published is false while alleging that I already knew that.
On the substance of the letter: He asserts two particular errors in the post. After a phone call with Kris Heap, Langhofer maybe has a point on one item, but the error was not in the thrust of the blog post. The post asserts that Snowflake White Mountain Power received a government guaranteed loan of $40 million. Langhofer says that is not true, but says that the Show Low Industrial Development Authority did authorize a bond offering. Further, the blog post says that the bankruptcy of Snowflake White Mountain Power resulted in losses to taxpayers, but Langhofer says that the bondholders were paid in full. This may indeed be true. However, I still have an issue with Worsley’s involvement in the “green energy” industry. This particular industry is reliant on the government and Worsley in the past has used government connections to help his business. And now, in the Arizona Senate, he has greater access to government power than ever before and the potential for abuse in using his influence to help his business is great.
Let me say this much: Worsley’s very committee assignment, on the Senate Commerce, Energy, and Military Committee, represents a serious conflict of interest. No wonder, when someone starts sniffing around too much, he starts threatening. If he really were the upstanding paragon of integrity he claims to be, he would avoid the appearance of conflict of interest and ask for a different committee assignment.
The second error that Langhofer asserts doesn’t involve a dispute over what I would call the raw facts, but just gives a different interpretation of those facts. He says, “Second, the blog post also asserts that Senator Worsley’s company, Novo Power, LLC, is one of only two companies that would benefit directly from Senate Bill 1484.” This is a bill that provides corporate income tax credits for companies investing in renewable energy. He says, “Novo Power, LLC cannot and would not qualify for any tax credits or other benefits under the terms of Senate Bill 1484.” But the post does not assert that Novo Power would benefit directly. It says it would benefit indirectly. The tax breaks go to companies who would do business with Novo Power, giving them incentives to do this business.
This blog does accept comments, and I am open to publishing any responses or disputes to anything posted here. I will not engage in endless back-and-forth banter because I don’t have endless time for this. So whatever you think is important to say, say it up front. I reserve the right to reply. I’m sure you won’t be satisfied with my reply, or my reply to your reply, so at some point I will just cut off the discussion and move on to other topics.
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