The man behind the Neustream coal-cleaning technology, Dr. David Neumann, has long been under attack from City Councilor Tim Leigh, and now Neumann is fighting back.
Neumann, CEO of Neumann Systems Group, has sent two letters to the City Attorney’s office asking for an ethics investigation of Leigh, claiming that Leigh not only is spreading falsehoods about NeuStream and its effectiveness, but has also failed to disclose that Leigh tried to broker an investment deal with NSG and a North Dakota company.
Neumann sent the first letter himself and then hired law firm Wheeler Trigg and O’Donnell to represent him against the city. Neither, he said, has earned a response from City Attorney Chris Melcher.
Friday, he sent this email to Melcher:
“ I was told that for the second time my request for an Ethics Investigation of Councilmember/Boardmember Tim Leigh did not have the proper terminology for you to consider it valid and to act on it in your proper capacity as City Attorney,” the email said. “Both times you have failed to show me the courtesy of a response which informs me that you are rejecting these requests and the reasons for your rejection. To be clear, I and my company NSG request an investigation of Councilmember/Boardmember Tim Leigh by the City’s Independent Ethics Committee for the reasons stated in the previous two letters/emails that were sent to you. If this is still not clear enough, then please provide me with the sample format you require for submission of a request. There is none available that I know of and no specific wording required as part of the City Charter. “
Neumann lists several specific incidents with Leigh that he said triggered an ethics violation investigation.
“First, starting at least in June of this year, Mr. Leigh became making false and libelous statements about NSG,” said the letter from attorneys Scott Barker and Joel Neckers.
Then, the letter said, he suggested that Colorado Springs start looking at redeveloping the land around the Drake plant into a baseball stadium.
“As a commercial real estate developer, Mr. Leigh’s financial interest in the redevelopment of the land surrounding the Drake plant is obvious, particularly where his company, Hoff & Leigh, issued the June 19 and July 15 reports and currently lists no less than six properties on its website that are located near the Drake facility.”
The letter goes on to say that in September 2012, Leigh attempted to broker “an investment deal with NSG and an investment group from North Dakota that Mr. Leigh purported to represent.”
The letter closes by saying Leigh’s work is “clouded by a conflict of interest and a bias against NSG.” It asks that Leigh refrain from voting on NSG or any matter related to the company.
“We are also preparing to move forward with a civil complaint against Mr. Leigh to address the harm he has caused NSG and to stop Mr. Leigh from taking further action that could harm NSG in the event your office and the City Council fails to investigate Mr. Leigh’s apparent conflict of interest.”
For his part, Leigh said he would welcome an ethics investigation.
“…because it will likely show CSU has unnecessarily spent $10 million to $40 million too much to solve our regional haze compliance problem at the Drake power plant,” he said in his market report email. “Please realize, I’m not (for or against) Neumann or (for or against_ Drake or coal. My only interest is protecting the citizen rate-payer by providing the most reliable energy at the lowest cost. (Bad policy produces public waste and drives cost.)”
He also called the call for an ethics investigation a “politically motivated, bullying tactic designed to add another layer of smoke and obfuscation to a conversation designed to protect NSG’s self interest.
“At this point, we must remove the cult-of-personality from the conversation, and objectively peer through fog of war to discover facts unemotionally.”
Leigh said he maintains his assertions that there “were and still are” competitive products out there, and those products “were and still are” less costly. Competive products guaranty a higher toxin removal rate and that NSG offers no guarantee.
“CSU is the finally culpable party,” he said in the email. “If there are cost overruns, we pay. If the technology doesn’t work, we pay.”
“The entire decision-making process around this project should be discussed,” he said. “The CEO and his executive managers should be held accountable for this egregious policy plunder, and specifically, Jerry Forte’s leadership skills questioned.”
Leigh said if the investigation was a way to start studying the economics of the Drake and Nixon power plants, then “let the games begin.”
Click here to read the letter from the attorney.