One of SCANA’s chief accountants left a five-minute voicemail warning in early 2016 to a key Santee Cooper employee that accused her utility’s bosses of “mismanaging” the multibillion-dollar nuclear construction project and “breaking every friggin’ law that you can break.”
Carlette Walker, CPA, SCANA’s former VP of finance for nuclear construction, left the message in January or February of that year for nuclear manager Marion Cherry to encourage Santee Cooper, the project’s minority owner, to stop paying SCANA for skyrocketing construction costs. The voicemail was obtained and first reported by the Post and Courier.
Walker message included accusations that SCANA’s executives were not backing away from the doomed V.C. Summer construction site so they could achieve profit goals and collect millions in compensation bonuses.
“I just wanted to let you know that I know the truth now, and I don’t want you and Santee to get screwed any more by the executives of SCE&G and SCANA,” Walker also said in the message.
Walker’s attorney, Jake Moore, said he does not believe Walker knows anything else about the project’s problems. She is planned to be deposed in five ratepayer lawsuits filed against the Cayce utility, but has yet to testify under oath. Moore told The State newspaper that Walker “is more than willing to participate in any court proceeding. She is not trying to hide from anybody.”
Walker’s job included providing sworn statements, budgets and forecasts to state regulators to endorse rate hikes that SCE&G, the SCANA electric subsidiary, said were required to fund the nuclear project. Internal emails show she was in close contact with SCANA’s top leadership. She retired from SCANA in May 2016, a company spokesman said.