Public Service Commissioner Caught up in Controversy

Bradley used a memo drafted by Verizon to support the phone company in a case before the PSC. Now, the attorney general says the memo raises serious questions.

In December Rudy Bradley voted to give Verizon the largest rate increase in state history. In 2002 Bradley voted with Verizon over other competitors, at the time he read a Verizon drafted statement verbatim.

Now, he won't talk, but in a statement he says he's never seen the memo. An aide says she isn't sure if she gave it to him. Taking the memo directly from Verizon would be a crime. Common cause says the whole thing stinks.

Ben Wilcox says, "If the phone companies are having that kind of influence to where they are able to slip position papers to public service commissioners and the commissioners are then acting on those position papers. I think we've got some serious problems."

The Bradley memo is reminiscent of a 1975 case that saw three Florida Supreme Court judges forced from the bench after they accepted memos from utility lawyers. A fourth judge was forced to undergo psychological counseling.

Jeb Bush, who appointed Bradley, isn't touching the controversy.

When asked, “Have you talked to Mr. Bradley?" Bush replied, "No I haven't, the PSC is an independent entity, I wouldn't necessarily pick up the phone and call a PSC commissioner about something like that."

But the attorney general says the memo raises serious questions. How formal an investigation Crist will conduct is unclear. The disclosure comes at a time the Legislature is balking at freezing the rate hikes that were approved by the PSC.

Efforts to interview Commissioner Bradley were unsuccessful because he refuses to speak with reporters on this or any other issue. Bradley will only respond with written statements issued by the PSC Communications Office.