Former Executive William Murray Sues TXU
May. 05, 2003
DALLAS (AP) _ A former executive has sued TXU Corp., charging that the utility manipulated its earnings and fired him for speaking out about the company's financial practices.
William J. Murray, a senior vice president of capital management at TXU's energy-trading arm until last August, said in a court filing that top company officials, including chairman and chief executive Erle Nye, violated federal securities laws.
Murray filed a lawsuit against TXU last week in U.S. District Court under a recent law designed in part to protect whistleblowers. He is seeking his old job and unspecified damages.
Murray's 48-page complaint portrays him as pushing TXU to disclose more information to shareholders. In one memo contained in the filing, Murray said he told the treasurer in 2001 that the company was ``bending over backwards to avoid having our book accounting reflect economic reality.''
TXU said Murray was dismissed as part of downsizing at the company, which has cut more than 1,000 jobs during the past year.
``The fact that he raised concerns had nothing to do with the fact that his job was eliminated,'' a company spokesman, Joan Hunter, told The Dallas Morning News. ``In fact, in several instances, his comments were solicited. We responded to them.''
TXU's stock dropped 75 percent after it disclosed problems in its European division last September. It later sold its European operations.
Murray, who joined TXU in December 2000, said TXU engaged in so-called round-trip trading, a method which energy companies used to inflate revenue, and provided false information to the government.
Hunter said the issues Murray raised ``were outside his professional expertise and area of responsibility. He was not an accountant. But we still did respond to his issues just as we do to any employee.''
In trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, TXU shares fell 27 cents to close at $19.01.