City Council's nearly three-month review of the proposed sale of the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works is beginning to look more like foot-dragging than careful due diligence.
City taxpayers, who for years have begged for a buyer to take the debt-prone PGW off their hands, must be wondering whether the intent of Council's deliberative pace is to kill the deal. Supporting that view is disturbing news reported Sunday by Inquirer staff writer Andy Maykuth that a politically connected unsuccessful bidder for PGW is positioning himself to benefit if the bid is rejected.
Liberty Energy Trust, a year-old firm started by former Enron executive Boris Brevnov, has been quietly promoting alternatives to the plan to sell PGW to UIL Holdings Corp. of New Haven, Conn., for $1.86 billion. Sources said Liberty's bid was not only $160 million short of UIL's, the offer was discounted because Liberty has no experience running a utility and no assets. What Liberty does seem to have is the backing of labor groups that don't want to see PGW privatized.