Westar forced to reorganize; chief executive indicted

SSN Staff  - 
Sunday, December 1, 2002

TOPEKA, Kan. - Westar Energy Inc. was told by state regulators in early November that the company would have to restructure its operations amid concerns that the company was forcing its electrical ratepayers to shoulder debt from its non-regulated utilities, including its 88 percent share in Protection One.

The order from the commission came one day after David Wittig, Westar's chief executive officer was indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges by a federal grand jury on Nov. 7. The charges stem from a personal real estate transaction where Wittig and a bank executive allegedly conspired to swap an extension of Wittig's credit at the back in exchange for payment on the real estate transaction bank executive Clinton Odell Weidner was looking to invest in.

Officials said Westar's board of directors granted Wittig's request to be placed on administrative leave without pay. The board said it intends to name an acting chief soon.