New York’s Anti-Trump AG Is Preparing To Grill Rex Tillerson About Exxon’s Supposed Climate Sins

From The Daily Caller

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Chris White Tech Reporter

October 30, 2019 1:43 PM ET

Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson will take the stand Wednesday in a trial New York’s attorney general orchestrated to hold the Texas-based oil company responsible for climate change.

New York Attorney General Letitia James argues Exxon duped shareholders into believing the company accounted for the potential costs of climate regulations. Exxon is dismissing the accusations, arguing the state doesn’t understand how the company calculates its economic outlooks.

Exxon’s alleged deception “exposed the company to greater risk from climate change regulation than investors were led to believe,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in October 2018 after the state spent nearly four years investigating the company.

New York’s probe took several different routes before landing on a path leading it to focus on Exxon’s so-called proxy costs. (RELATED: NY Sues Exxon For Allegedly Defrauding Shareholders On Climate Change Risks)

The suit focuses on Exxon’s use of an internal “proxy” price for global warming regulations, which was lower than prices put forward in reports to investors and the public. Exxon said it’s been internally pricing carbon dioxide emissions since 2007. Tillerson was the CEO during that time.

The ploy “in effect erected a Potemkin village to create the illusion that it had fully considered the risks of future climate change regulation,” the lawsuit stated. New York’s initial probe stems from research conducted by Inside Climate News, which reported in 2015 that the company downplays whatever role it contributes to man-made global warming.

Barbara Underwood, the state’s former interim attorney general, brought the lawsuit under the Martin Act, a state law giving the state broad authority to prosecute securities fraud. The suit demands Exxon turn over any profits the company made through the alleged fraud and make restitution to investors.

James wants to question Tillerson, who served as President Donald Trump’s secretary of state in 2017, about statements he made at a 2016 shareholder meeting in which he said the cost of climate rules “gets put into all our economic models when we make investment decisions as well.”

Tillerson’s private email account, labeled “Wayne Tracker,” is expected to be front and center during the trial. New York’s attorney general’s staff discovered that the former executive primarily used an email account for company business, wayne.tracker@exxonmobil.com. Wayne is Tillerson’s middle name. The company destroyed emails from the account before August 2015.

The purpose of the side account “was efficiency, not secrecy,” Ted Wells Jr., the lead lawyer representing Exxon in the case, wrote in a 2017 letter to Judge Barry Ostrager, who is presiding over the current case. The older emails were nixed “due to the manner in which email accounts had been configured years earlier,” Wells added.

Neither Exxon nor New York’s attorney general’s office have responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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45 thoughts on “New York’s Anti-Trump AG Is Preparing To Grill Rex Tillerson About Exxon’s Supposed Climate Sins

  1. This has me worried. It takes thousands of intelligent hard working professionals decades to build a multi-billion dollar business. It takes only a single boneheaded executive a moment to screw it up.

    I speak from experience in regard to Al Decrain and Pennzoil vs Texaco.

    • Every company is now subject to a shake down by state attorneys, no matter what their product and service. It’s akin to prosecutors forcing a plea bargain.

    • Based on his brief performance for the Trump Administration … I am not convinced that Tillerson hasn’t turned State’s witness.

    • I wonder if Tillerson is regretting cozying up to the greenies yet. One thing you have to eventually learn – don’t reach out to snakes.

    • No science on trial.
      Purely about did Exxon properly inform investors of climate policy risk to stated assets that could possibly get left stranded (in the ground, or not economically recoverable) and how it pertains to the provisions of NY State’s Martin Law.

      • Exxon should challenge the fake science upon which climate policy is based in order to establish grounds that they knew the scientific truth and that insane climate policies based on scientific malfeasance are only temporary and in the long run, no assets will be stranded owing to climate policy.

      • Understanding that “climate regulations” are at the whim of an irrational legislature, how could anyone predict how onerous (or not) “future regulations” might be. It is “possible” but not probable that they could pass legislation which requires fossil fuels be left in the ground and put Exxon out of business.
        Does the AG really expect to see that assessment as well?

    • “The suit demands Exxon turn over any profits the company made through the alleged fraud and make restitution to investors.” — Follow the money. Always, always, always follow the money.

      The State (NY) doesn’t give a tiny little rat’s ass about climate this or AGW that. All they care about is how much cash they can swindle out of someone or some corporation.

      Always follow the money.

  2. It’s the Chamber’s abor… cancellation culture. Tillerson may still be able to buy social credits and save his colorful clump of cells.

  3. It is simply a shakedown. NY AG of course doesn’t want to “win,” because a win would be appealed and the appeal will take years and many more tens of thousands of hours of attorney hours and legal filings. They of course want to settle for billions, a lottery pay day. To that end of “settle” the NY AG has obviously forum shopped to get this case before Judge Barry R. Ostrager.
    Just read the comments from attorneys who have recently had to litigate before him. He is a relative newcomer to the bench best I can tell about 10 years. Before that he was a $1,000/hr business law litigator-partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (STB), an apparently very white shoe, prestigious NY law firm. But apparently he made a number of rookie mistakes. The lawyer blogs discussing Judge Ostrager are not very flattering:

    From 2007 when he was partner at STB:
    ” From the “it can happen to anyone” file, the Second Circuit dismisses a cross-appeal by Travelers Insurance Company because its law firm filed the notice of appeal one day late. After the losing party in the district court filed a notice of appeal, Travelers had 14 days to file its notice of cross-appeal. However, the firm calculated the 14 days from the date it received the notice, not from the date the notice was actually filed. The district court denied Traveler’s motion to extend the deadline by one day, explaining that this was a case of “garden variety attorney inattention” and not excusable neglect. The Second Circuit affirms (PDF).

    The law firm that made this rookie mistake was one of the whitest of the white shoes, the venerable Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. The partners on the brief have stunning resumes, and the fifth-year associate has done plenty of litigating, given that he is admitted to practice in three jurisdictions and thirteen courts. So, yes, it can happen to anyone. (And in case you’re wondering, no, STB did not reject me.)

    Decision of the Day is too nice to name the STB lawyers on the brief, but we have no such qualms. These are matters of public record. The attorneys who screwed up here are partner Barry R. Ostrager, partner Andrew T. Frankel, and associate Robert J. Pfister.
    Barry Ostrager, by the way, is routinely named as one of the country’s top business litigators and trial lawyers. See, e.g., here, here, and here. He’s not particularly nice; as one litigator diplomatically observed, Ostrager “doesn’t suffer from the need to be loved.”

    During the ten-minute recess at the hearing, the men’s room on the 15th floor [of 500 Pearl Street] was understandably quite busy — a veritable Grand Central Station… While Seth Schafler and Jay Levin monopolized the two urinals, engaging in animated discussion of the Federal privilege log as they relieved themselves, men were going into the stalls to urinate as well.

    As the person with the rare privilege of using a stall immediately after Barry O., I learned that Barry O. doesn’t lift up the toilet seat when he urinates into a toilet bowl. Of course, I did not follow his discourteous behavior. I gingerly raised the toilet seat before taking care of business, taking are to avoid touching the drops of Ostragerian urine that were splattered liberally along the rim.

    Barry Ostrager may be a genius in the courtroom. But in the bathroom, not so much.”

    source: https://abovethelaw.com/2007/01/barry-ostrager-of-simpson-thacher-bad-at-deadlines-bathroom-etiquette/

    Then there’s these critique of his more recent duties as a judge from 2018:

    “For a former litigator, you would think he would treat lawyers more fairly. He is a cranky and somewhat stubborn judge. He sticks to what he pre-wrote even if the facts at the hearing reveal a different outcome. Despite ample evidence to the contrary of what he wanted to rule initially, he refused to hear or read the evidence and stuck to his initial decision. The best advice is to paper the record as best as possible so you have what to appeal. His primary goal is to move cases along and settle them, regardless if that’s the fair outcome. Be wary of his clerk and support staff, they are just like him, short tempered and have little patience. Hope this helps. ”

    another litigator commented simply: “lazy.”

    read more at the source:
    http://www.therobingroom.com/texas/Judge.aspx?id=24067

    Exxon’s lawyers certainly must know this Judge and his peculiarities since he’s had the case for 2+ years. Still I think they are going to make sure they have all their bases covered for the appeal, because it is clear Exxon has no intention of settling as that would just open up the floodgates for the rest of Dem State AGs smelling money.

    In the extortion business, once they have rich sucker at their mercy, they will keep coming till they bleed their victim dry. The best thing to do is to face them down and then beat them to a pulp.

  4. Don’t trust Darren Woods. He could settle to bag a personal side deal with the enemy. He’s like Tillerson is an alarmist opportunist. In any event these commercial fools and their institutional handelers have themselves to blame for playing the AGW game in an oil company. Liberals now run most majors thanks to the corrupt AGW carbon cartel getting their ducks lined up!

  5. As I understand it the Rockefeller family is behind the NY AG investigation of ExxonMobil ‘the largest direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil’ (Wiki).
    Why don’t the ‘Rockefellers’ go to the source of their fabulous wealth and sue themselves⸮

    • Chris, In a sense they are.
      John D Rockefeller made his fabulous fortune 110 years as the world switched from animal power, coal power, wood power to oil for its transportation energy. He was an early investor business man in oil and became fabulously weathy for it of course.

      But a modern day Peak oil and the resulting scarcity driven high price (>$200/bbl) was supposed to create a huge investment opportunity once again for the early investors in renewable energy being driven also by the climate scam from the eco-environmental movement determined to kill coal and nuclear power.
      So Just like oil investment was the opportunity of a lifetime in 1900,
      30 years ago, the world was supposed to be facing Peak Oil by 2000. Then it became
      20 years ago, the world was supposed to be facing peak Oil by 2010. Then
      10 years ago, the fracking for tight oil was just getting started but still didn’t really register until about 2012 that we were in a new phase where with fracking of the deep source rock formations, there is now no such thing as peak oil.

      And the Rockefellers of the 21st Century are early invested in the renewable energy schemes to continue to build the fortune that has become diluted by generations of inheritance.
      Thus they, along with the rest of the Green Slime billionaires, realized they needed to make the oil that Big Oil produces far more expensive, just as it was originally supposed to be under “post Peak Oil of 2000 when the RE scam really got going.

      Make oil expensive by forcing payouts from oil companies. Just like the tobacco settlements of the 1990’s forced a doubling, tripling of cigarette prices to drive down demand for the product.

      And so there’s a whole army of ambulance chasers and state AGs willing to take on the task for the GreenSlimers for a 40% contingency fee payout on tens of billions of dollars is their hope.

      • Make oil expensive by forcing payouts from oil companies. Just like the tobacco settlements of the 1990’s forced a doubling, tripling of cigarette prices to drive down demand for the product.

        Of course you can live without cigarettes. There is no real downside to stopping smoking and you will be financially better off and likely will live longer. Its a win-win potentially.

        But try living with a hugely increased cost of fossil fuels and your living standards are going to fall very significantly as your disposable income falls. For people on low incomes, in parts of the world where living in winter and in good health requires low cost energy, the impact of huge rises in fossil fuel costs will be to shorten life expectancy and make people even poorer.

        • Which s exactly why the Climate Scam funded by billionaires is a War on the Middle Class. The “true poor” they intend to keep on the dole/welfare state dependence and grow it to the extent possible to buy the vote Chavez-style (Venezuela). The middle class in Venezuela is now completely gone and would take 20-30 years to rebuild if that’s even possible. It takes several generations, starting with education of professionals and skilled workers to build the wealth in savings and property ownership that makes a middle class.

      • Thanks for your reply Joel.
        The difference is that the J D Rockefeller fortune was built on voluntary consumer demand while the descendants are banking on state-driven demand.

        • They were originally banking on a naturally-occurring Peak Oil delivering scarcity and thus high prices via the market. That was the promise in 1995 to 2005.

          Black Swan: Fracking tight oil and gas, leading to the rise of US energy dominance and its export of oil and LNG has now destroyed that play. It is only now they turn to government policy to drive their scheme. For that they have to get in bed with the Socialists/neo_Marxists like Sanders, Warren in the Democratic Party. They promise a carbon tax to make oil expensive, a GND to provide more taxpayer cash to renewable schemes, carbon trading schemes, and executive action on oil and gas permitting. It’s a deal where they keep their wealth and provide campaign cash in return, while the middle class gets screwed Venezuela-style.

      • Carbon trading is their ultimate goal.
        Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rothschild & Cie Gestion and BlackRock are the primary protagonist with fellow thieves the IMF, World Bank and UN.
        They’re coming for us with extreme prejudice but apparently we won’t feel a thing . . .

  6. How exactly are you supposed to price in the risk of laws which hasn’t been passed yet? This whole case is absurd.

    • If those laws are a reasonable possibility, you have to warn the investors about that possibility. The time frame matters. You don’t have to warn investors about the heat death of the universe.

      Does anyone believe that petroleum could be eliminated within the next twenty years? There’s a practical limit to what legislators can do. So, the question is about what laws can reasonably expected.

    • The same way you supposed to price in the risk of lawSUITS, which were based on laws which haven’t been passed yet. Since this initial suit, all the other companies should now be aware that they and their shareholders are at risk and should plan accordingly lest they be sued.

      (there’s never a perverted, blowhard, self proclaimed risk analyst around when you need one)

  7. Watch the video linked below.

    Andrew Bolt is interviewing ‘Climate activist’ Jacob Andrewartha, who is genuinely one of the stupidest ‘people’ on the planet today, protesting at the International Mining and Resources Conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center. Bolt shows what he can do in this interview, as he’s managed to get a reasonably viable and functional conversation out of Jake which allowed Jacob to expound the merits and features of their approach to “violent non-violence” and other advanced double-think concepts and techniques. As well as to update the planet on the latest old-school commie revolutionary economic and political concepts for collective hateful togetherness in the 2020s. The best and brightest the Australian taxpayer-supported University system can produce.

    ‘We protest because protests are inherently disruptive’
    29/10/2019 | 13min

    https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6098678328001

  8. Lots of great comments here, especially the Joel O’Bryan. Rex Tillerson will handle himself very well on the witness stand. I am sure, based on my experience on a Technical Committee for CONOCO and as a company CEO and Director, that EXXON was careful in wording both external and internal proxy comments to allow for inherent risk and uncertainty. Company officials know that the presumption must be made that all materials may see the light of day due to the cottage industry of environmental litigation. Go EXXON!

  9. From the article: “Exxon’s alleged deception “exposed the company to greater risk from climate change regulation than investors were led to believe,” according to the lawsuit,”

    A ridiculous lawsuit. Exxon is not being sued for enabling human-caused climate change, instead, they are being sued for supposedly not being able to see the future well enough to know what crazy regulations Democrats were going to impose on them. The implication is Exxon did know just how crazy the Democrats really are, and kept this from their shareholders.

    This is a backdoor way of attacking human-caused climate change, and it’s an abuse of power by the New York Attorney General.

    Democrats are prone to abush their political power: Witness the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives . The New York AG is just another example of it.

    The U.S. Department of Justice ought to be investigating the New York Attorney General and where she gets the funds to run her office. They need to look into whether billionaires are buying the services of her office to prosecute issues dear to those billioniares hearts. The People need to know what the impetus is for her prosecutions. Is she working for the People, or is she abusing her authority and working for Special Interests?

  10. “New York Attorney General Letitia James argues Exxon duped shareholders into believing the company accounted for the potential costs of climate regulations.”

    For total compliance in the future, shouldn’t Exxon be warning investors of the potential costs of Democrats controlling the federal government, particularly if Sanders, Warren, or Steyer is elected President?

    I would love to see the reaction if Exxon, BP, Conoco, Phillips66, et al announced their companies had the potential of becoming worthless if that were to occur, and x hundred thousand people would be lose their jobs.

    Sometimes, to defeat really stupid people, you just give them what they ask for.

    • “I would love to see the reaction if Exxon, BP, Conoco, Phillips66, et al announced their companies had the potential of becoming worthless if that were to occur, and x hundred thousand people would be lose their jobs.”

      They should just stop selling petroleum products in the states that are suing them.

      • Jeff, think bigger than a short term sales stoppage…that’s actually what the states want….but not to reduce emissions…think nationalization…

  11. All petroleum concerns should remove themselves from Greenunist states. I say start with California.

  12. From the headline:

    “New York’s Anti-Trump AG Is …”

    Click baiting, of course, to get the dander up of the minority of Americans who are Trumpkins.

    Of course, 60% of all American voters are anti-Trumpers .. and that number is growing. Puts the NY AG in a highly select group, huh?

    LOL

    Whether the AG is like most Americans and detests Trump has exactly zilch to do with the lawsuit. Just right wingnut click bait, is all it is.

    How’re ya liking that 1.9% GDP growth just announced this week? Or the 12th American coal company in the last year that just declared bankruptcy – how ya liking that “Make Coal Great Again!” mantra that the Trumpkins have been promoting here at WUWT. Not to mention endangering American national security by using Congressionally-mandated defense funding for Ukraine to fight off Russia as his personal political piggy bank – which is getting Trump impeached.

    Here’s a hint – stick to the science of global climate performance, and leave the Trumpsterism at home .. it doesn’t sell well.

    • I see you live in Progressive Goebbels-ville Duane. People like you are why those methods work.
      And PLEASE don’t pretend you give a good Goddamn about national security.
      Personal piggy bank – a statement like that, literally in the face the slimiest, most outrageous and constant acts of treason committed by the progressive left in this nation’s history – and it couldn’t be more obvious. Treason has literally become a leftist demographic.
      And of course you’ve got to pad yourself with your ‘most American’s’ line. Conformity, of course, being your selling point.

      Here’s a hint – sometimes things are exactly as they appear. This HAS been a coupe and it’s been set up by Obama and his allies – which was the dirtiest administration to ever sit in office. He spent eight years corrupting every office, every department possible.

      Save your Huffington Post/CNN rhetoric – it doesn’t sell well.

    • Duane is going to be real disappointed when Trump is reelected. I predict Trump will get a lot more votes than the 63 million he got last time.

      I noticed in today’s U.S. House of Representatives vote to formalize this charade of an impeachment inquiry, all the Republicans in the House voted against the measure. That might be the first time every Republican has held the line. And then you have 50 Republican U.S. Senators who signed a letter to Nacy Pelosi complaining that they did not think she was treating the president fairly.

      It looks like the abuse of power being perpetrated by the Democrats in the House of Representatives against President Trump is bringing the Republicans together like never before.

      Keep it up, you ignorant Democrats. Show your true, ugly face to the American public. See what it gets you. You have nothing on Trump.

  13. article: The suit demands Exxon turn over any profits the company made through the alleged fraud and make restitution to investors.

    As jtom wrote, Exxon should warn investors of the potential cost of electing democrats.

    Having bilked the taxpayer and squandered tax dollars they use the fraud of climate change regulations to bring a lawsuit under the Martin Act, another NY creation hardly used for 80 years.

  14. Quote “The suit focuses on Exxon’s use of an internal “proxy” price for global warming regulations, which was LOWER than prices put forward in reports to investors and the public.”

    If the internal “poxy” price was HIGHER this would make sense. This actually looks like Exxon was playing it safe by giving the worst-case numbers to investors.

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