Former exec resigns as top Texas regulator

Saturday, January 19, 2002

AUSTIN, Texas -- A former Enron executive resigned Friday as the top utility regulator in Texas amid questions about his appointment by Gov. Rick Perry and his ties to the bankrupt energy trader.

In his resignation letter, Mario Max Yzaguirre said he and his family have been "subjected to a series of negative attacks which have nothing to do with my job performance and which seemed to be politically inspired."

He said he believes Texas and its Public Utility Commission deserve a "situation free from this debate."

Yzaguirre, the former president of Enron de Mexico, was appointed by Perry last June to head an agency that regulates electricity issues and telecommunications. He had led the PUC in its move to deregulate the electricity market, an area of great interest to Enron.

Democrats and public interest groups have questioned the timing of a $25,000 campaign contribution Perry received from Enron chairman Kenneth Lay a day after the PUC appointment.

The governor, who is running for a full term in the job he inherited when George W. Bush resigned to become president, has called the timing of the donation "totally coincidental."

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