STATE TELEPHONE REGULATION REPORT
A California appeals court stayed a lower court ruling that would have immediately ousted PUC Commissioner Henry Duque from office because of a financial conflict of interest. The California Court of Appeals for the First District issued the stay without comment. The California Superior Court in April ruled Duque must be removed from office and fined 5,000 because he had held stock in a company subject to the PUC‘s jurisdiction.
Duque bought shares in wireless carrier Nextel in 1999 and sold them in 2000 for a substantial profit. The suit seeking his removal was brought by the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights, which said Duque made a 69,000 profit on his sale of a stock he never should have owned because wireless carriers were directly affected by PUC policy actions even if that agency didn’t regulate their rates. Duque’s term ends Jan. 1. The appeals court will take briefs over the summer.