Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cauley Arrest Tied to Relationship with NERC Subordinate

By Peter Key

NERC CEO Gerry Cauley seems unlikely to return to his job if his estranged wife’s allegations are true.

NERC FERC Gerry Cauley

Cauley | © RTO Insider

A police report, obtained by RTO Insider from the Gwinnett County Police Department in suburban Atlanta, quotes Cauley’s wife as saying he attacked her after she discovered him having cybersex with a “young female employee of his.”

Cauley was arrested for battery, a misdemeanor, in the early morning of Friday, Nov. 10. NERC placed Cauley on a leave of absence after his arrest and named General Counsel Charles Berardesco as interim CEO. (See NERC CEO on Leave After Arrest for Domestic Violence.)

Reached at home Tuesday night, NERC Board Chairman Roy Thilly declined to say whether NERC would investigate Cauley’s alleged relationship with a subordinate. The employee was not identified in the police report.

“I cannot talk to you about this matter,” Thilly said. “It’s a personnel matter, and it has to be handled very carefully.”

NERC later issued a statement saying the board “has engaged counsel to assist in conducting a thorough investigation” of the allegations. “The board takes the allegations seriously and based on a deliberate and objective investigation will act in NERC’s best interests,” it said.

The statement quoted Thilly, who said he is “in constant communication with NERC’s senior management team as they remain fully focused on NERC’s mission to assure the reliability and security of the bulk power system.”

Gerry Cauley couldn’t be reached for comment.

A FERC spokesman declined to comment.

According to the report, Jean Cauley told a responding police officer that she and Gerry are getting divorced and that he was living in the basement of their home in the Sugarloaf Country Club gated community in Duluth, Ga.

Jean told the officer she had washed several of Gerry’s shirts and was bringing them to his room. When she entered the room, she found her husband in front of an iPad. Shocked, she took the iPad, which she said is hers, and also found what the report describes as “several personal pictures of Gerald.”

At that point, Jean said her husband pushed her into a wall and then into a bathtub. “She stated that while Gerald was pushing her around, he asked her what she wanted and stated that if she calls the police, he will lose his job and she will get nothing from him.”

Police reported observing scratches and bruises on Jean and “that the bathmat was dishevelled [sic] and several of the shower curtain rods were pulled off.”

The arresting officer said she “could smell a strong odor of alcoholic beverage from several feet away” when she spoke with Gerry, who denied causing his wife’s injuries “and refused to say any more.”

Gerry was handcuffed and transported to the county jail. Jean, who was transported to a local hospital, was experiencing a great deal of pain in her back — which had recently been operated on.

The NERC Board of Trustees posted a notice Saturday saying it “is aware of the personal incident involving” Cauley and saying he is on a leave of absence “until further notice.” The board added that it is “taking steps to ensure the work of NERC continues seamlessly.”

NERC’s loss of its CEO comes as the reliability agency has found itself sucked into the debate over Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposed rescue of coal and nuclear plants that he contends are vital to the reliability of the grid.

On Tuesday, NERC officials held a webinar to announce the release of a report on potential reliability problems from natural gas delivery disruptions. There was no mention of Cauley. (See NERC: Dependence on Natural Gas Alters Resilience Planning.)

Rich Heidorn Jr. contributed to this article.