SACRAMENTO — Enron stood up a panel of state senators Wednesday who had subpoenaed the energy giant to testify about destruction of documents, and now could face contempt charges by the California Senate.
Lawmakers investigating California’s power crisis sought thousands of documents from Enron in June, but an accounting firm’s destruction of some of the company’s financial documents may have violated that order, said Sen. Joe Dunn, D-Santa Ana.
Dunn, chairman of the Senate Select Committee to Investigate Price Manipulation in the Wholesale Energy Market, said Enron also hasn’t complied with the June summons, only sending “a handful” of relevant documents.
In mid-January, Dunn summoned Enron officials to testify about which documents may have been destroyed, but Enron notified the committee Wednesday that it wouldn’t be sending anyone to the deposition.
The committee also has subpoenaed testimony from Arthur Andersen LLP, Enron’s auditors, regarding destruction of some of the energy giant’s documents. The accounting firm has admitted it destroyed some Enron documents after federal securities regulators asked for information about Enron.
Enron Vice President Richard B. Sanders said in a letter to the committee that the company isn’t “aware of anyone from Enron who made inquiries to Arthur Andersen regarding what documents were destroyed.”
Sanders also said he wasn’t aware of any documents in Enron’s financial accounting department that dealt with the California energy market.
The committee has subpoenaed documents from a half-dozen energy companies as part of the investigation into the state’s power crisis last year, when energy prices soared.
The full committee will review Enron’s compliance with the subpoena for testimony and documents at a hearing next Tuesday.