SEC to Release Independent Audit Report
Article was added on Friday, October 29, 2010
KINGSTREE, SC -- Santee Electric Cooperative, Inc. will release
the report of an independent review of board and management
practices on October 29, 2010. Last August, the
cooperative's board of trustees hired Charlotte law firm Smith and
Christensen to conduct a comprehensive internal audit. The action
was taken in response to questions raised by a group of Santee
Electric members who sued the cooperative concerning corporate
"We thought it was very important to open the door completely,"
explained Billy L. Morris, Jr., chairman of the cooperative's board
of trustees. "The consumer-members of the cooperative have a right
to know how it is being run."
Britt Smith and Aaron Christensen specialize in cooperative law
and are widely regarded as two of the nation's foremost experts on
cooperative governance. As part of their investigation, they
were encouraged to communicate with the member-plaintiffs in the
lawsuit and to solicit input from the general public.
"Santee Electric placed no limitations on the firm's
investigative authority," said Morris. "They were given complete
access to all cooperative records and personnel, and they were
asked to review all Santee Electric policies, practices and
procedures, whether written or unwritten."
Smith and Christensen specifically reserved their right to
withdraw from the engagement if they did not receive complete
"We are not going to quibble about the facts," said Floyd Keels,
the cooperative's president and chief executive officer. "We need
to get the facts on the table so we can collectively decide what's
best for the co-op," Keels said.
Keels expressed hope that the report might positively affect the
pending litigation. "We take the lawsuit seriously. If Santee
Electric can make changes to better serve the membership, we need
to focus on those solutions."
After spending several weeks working on the investigation,
including more than a week on site in Kingstree, cooperative
leaders have been told the law firm is nearly finished with its
"We believe the board has done a good job," said Morris. "But if
the review indicates changes need to be made to improve our
processes, we'll adjust."
"As far as management is concerned, we're focused on finding the
best outcome for the membership as a whole," said Keels. "That's
The report will be made available on the cooperative's website,
www.santee.org. Members without access to the Internet will be able
to obtain a copy at any of the cooperative's offices.
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