This is going to get really serious.
As you know, Phil Falcone is pulling out all the stops to get his telecom company, LightSquared, up and running. One thing that stands in his way is approval from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration. They have to confirm that his system works well and doesn’t interfere with GPS communications.
Another thing standing in his way is Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Last week the Senator claimed that Falcone had a connection to Todd Ruelle, an executive at Fine Point Technologies: Ruelle, said Grassley, had contacted his office offering a quid pro quo deal re: LightSquared. Ruelle said that if Grassley pushed LightSquared, there could be a nice call-centre deal in it for the state of Iowa.
That’s ugly stuff. So, last night Phil Falcone’s lawyer sent one serious smack-down of a response from Harbinger.
Here are our favourite parts:
- “… on January 12, LightSquared personnel received a call from a reporter at Bloomberg news with information that your staff called him suggesting a story related to an illegal quid pro quo involving a purported request that you drop your investigation of LightSquared in exchange for a call centre in Iowa — an allegation that your staff never mentioned … at the time. It concerns me that the Senate staff would propose such an unsubstantiated story without giving Harbinger and LightSquared the opportunity to address the allegations, especially as your office’s version of the story ties together Mr. Ruelle’s action and those of Mr. Falcone’s despite the lack of evidence of such a tie …”
- “Mr. Ruelle’s first response (to Grassley’s office) stated in part: “As I said on the phone. Conduct the investigation. You should. That is an issue you need to run separately … The second email from Ruelle stated that the subject of the call centre came up only after your staff member asserted that LightSqaured’s plans had no rural component. Thus the e-mails you released indicated that Mr. Ruelle made no nefarious suggestions to a quid pro quo, but rather, appears to be referencing call centres in response to a question from your staff regarding the rural benefits of LightSquared’s business plan.”
At the end of the letter he asks that Grassley meet with Falcone. If he says yes, we wish we could be a fly on the wall at that one. Ruelle, for his part, sent Grassley a letter corroborating Harbinger’s attorney.
The full letter is embedded below complete with Senator Grassley’s office’s e-mails: