Oklahoma AG picks OKC law firm to carry out legal action in 2021 winter storm market manipulation

The same firm hired by Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond to do a preliminary investigation which led to his decision to seek legal action over market manipulation from the 2021 winter storm Uri has been picked to help his office recover billions of dollars from historic high natural gas prices.

Drummond announced late Tuesday his choice of the Oklahoma City law firm Foshee & Yaffe, one of three firms that responded to his request for proposals. He identified the others as Ballard Spahr of Philadelphia and Paul LLLP of Kansas City, Missouri.

Under the original RFP announced and defined a few weeks ago by Drummond, the firm picked to guide the state’s legal work against an unnamed market manipulator will be limited to $50 million in maximum payment for the work. In his announcement Tuesday, Drummond did not reveal how much the state paid Foshee & Yaffe in assisting him in reaching a decision to pursue recovery of the billions of dollars in historic natural gas prices.

“I was greatly impressed by the firm’s extensive experience and their demonstrated abilities to win favorable judgments on behalf of government clients,” Drummond said. “I look forward to working with them to hold accountable any bad actors and fight for Oklahoma ratepayers.”

Alex Yaffe said the law firm is ready to get to work.

“In response to Attorney General Drummond’s Request for Proposal, we have assembled a world-class team to take on this case,” he said. “We are pleased the Attorney General chose an Oklahoma legal team to solve Oklahoma’s problems. We are both humbled and excited to work alongside General Drummond to recover everything owed to Oklahomans because of the bad acts of these out of state, and mostly foreign, bad actors.”

“These are three strong and impressive firms, and I appreciate the hard work that went into their proposals,” Drummond said in referring to the three law firms that submitted bids. “I will continue insisting on an open and transparent process for any contingency fee matter.”

Drummond issued his RFP on the day he announced potential litigation was on the table to address potential market manipulation related to Winter Storm Uri. In a July news conference, Drummond said a review of conduct during the February 2021 winter storm revealed that several entities reaped billions of dollars in profits by manipulating the price of natural gas. He noted that neither Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry nor utility companies were responsible for the scheme. Drummond said at the time that he had retained outside counsel to assist in his review. That outside counsel was Foshee & Yaffe, and Drummond said he is grateful for their work.

Records on file with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission show Alex Yaffe was a contributor of $5,800 to Drummond’s 2022 campaign for Attorney General.

The ice, snow and record-breaking cold of Uri had a devastating impact across Oklahoma. Before it eventually exited the continental United States, the storm was responsible for hundreds of deaths and more than $200 billion in damages.

Source: press release