• The San Juan Daily Star

Marshals sent to execute arrest warrant against LUMA CEO

San Juan Superior Court Judge Anthony Cuevas Ramos

By John McPhaul

Marshals were sent to the Santurce headquarters of LUMA Energy late Wednesday afternoon to execute a court order to arrest LUMA Energy President & CEO Wayne Stensby.

Marshals were also sent to Stensby’s residence in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, as well as to his attorney’s Hato Rey office.

It was unclear as of press time whether the LUMA CEO had been taken into custody for civil contempt for failing to turn over documents to an island House of Representatives committee as ordered by San Juan Superior Court Judge Anthony Cuevas Ramos.

Attorneys for LUMA Energy and for the House of Representatives appeared at an urgent hearing Wednesday afternoon ordered by Cuevas Ramos in an effort to resolve the controversy.

According to reports, representatives of Stensby told the court that he could not turn over some information requested because it was contained in a broken telephone. In concluding the hearing, the judge said that even though he was keeping the arrest order in effect, he would “suspend” it.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia reacted earlier Wednesday to the arrest warrant saying, “No one is above the law.”

The judge had given Stensby until 5 p.m. Monday to hand over requested documents to the House Energy Committee or face arrest.

“As he was warned and the term provided having expired, the arrest and immediate admission to jail of Mr. Wayne Stensby is ordered,” the resolution read. “Mr. Stensby will remain in jail custody until he fully complies with the requirements identified in the Resolution and Order issued yesterday afternoon. The Marshals Office will proceed with the completion of the Arrest and Admission Warrant without any delay.”

The judge said that as of 6 p.m. Monday, the defendant had presented the brief entitled Motion in compliance with the resolution and order of Nov. 9, 2021 and request for a short term to provide documents to two requests for information.

“It states that, despite having complied with the delivery of a large part of the information ordered in the Resolution and Order, it is still pending to fulfill two requirements for the month of March 2021. It requests a brief additional term, until 5:00 pm today (Wednesday) to be able to comply. It argues that it is voluminous information, stored in specialized electronic formats, the collection and preparation of which to produce it for the Committee in the format known as portable document format (.pdf), takes longer than the five hours granted,” Ceuvas’ resolution said. “It must be made absolutely clear that the defendant has had much more time than the five hours granted in our Resolution. Since last March 15 and 23, 2021 … for the Court to grant only 5 hours, you cannot comply. Reducing the time to a mere 5 hours is totally contrary to the reality of the facts. The truth is that the defendants have had at least 233 days or 5,592 hours to have copied all the information to any digital format of their choice.”

The resolution said that “the defendant has not shown cause why we should not resort to the only mechanism that allows the court to persuade him to fully comply with the orders of this Court.”

“Full compliance with court orders by those against whom they are directed is of cardinal importance for the administration of justice. Nobody is above the Law, NOBODY,” the judge said.

Pierluisi said that “This controversy has been elucidated in the Courts for a long time, but again, here the important thing is that the judge’s directive be followed and avoid the imprisonment of the president of the entity and complying with the judge’s order.”

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez said Wednesday that as soon as today the House will be able to publish the salaries of the executives of LUMA Energy.

“It would be breaking our own rules if I disclosed it without having exhausted remedies,” Hernández Montañez said in a press conference. “Tomorrow we are going to formally notify the administrative determination.”

In various instances, both the House speaker and Rep. Luis Raúl Torres Cruz, who chairs the Energy Committee, referred to Stensby as “a fugitive.”

“In Puerto Rico no one is above the law,” Hernández Montañez said. “And for the purposes of the House of Representatives, for us the president of LUMA Wayne Stensby is a fugitive from the law.”

“If he comes to the House, we will arrest him as good citizens,” he added.

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