The uproar over tapes in which Enron Corp. energy traders bragged of exploiting “Grandma Millie” and other Californians intensified Thursday as state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer sued the disgraced company and U.S. regulators said they would review the new evidence of market manipulation. “We want our money back,” Lockyer said, announcing a lawsuit that seeks to recover “potentially hundreds of millions of dollars” for Enron’s alleged gaming of the system during the 2000-01 energy crisis, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The suit is an indication of deep public anger that resulted from the tape recordings, in which energy traders laid out strategies for exploiting weaknesses in the state’s electricity marketplace. In colorful and often crude language, traders spoke openly of stealing from Californians – the fictitious Grandma Millie, among them – and even expressed the wish that a large earthquake would push the state into the ocean. Details from the tapes were published by The Times a month ago, but public ire grew with the subsequent airing on television and radio news programs of excerpts in which traders could be heard laughing about the state’s predicament. The tapes came to light after a Washington state utility involved in its own legal battle with Enron obtained them from the Justice Department.