Today, AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE:AGR), a leading sustainable energy company, filed suit in New Mexico against Security Limits, Inc. and its owner and CEO Paulo Silva for defamation and tortious interference. In the suit, AVANGRID lays out how Silva, a disgruntled former AVANGRID Networks sub-contractor, interjected himself into the merger review process between AVANGRID and PNM Resources in New Mexico after AVANGRID rebuked his threats to do so if AVANGRID would not agree to enter into a new contract with him.
Security Limits’ Silva is using the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) merger review process as part of an effort to extort AVANGRID. His claims are being echoed by the lone opponent to the merger, New Energy Economy (NEE), in efforts to have the merger be denied by the PRC.
Despite his criticisms of AVANGRID, Silva has touted and continues to tout his affiliation with AVANGRID on his LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulosilva-cybersecurity/.
Under New Mexico Statutes Section 30-16-9 (2020), Extortion is defined, in relevant part, as follows:
Extortion consists of the communication or transmission of any threat to another by any means whatsoever with intent thereby to wrongfully obtain anything of value or to wrongfully compel the person threatened to do or refrain from doing any act against his will. Any of the following acts shall be sufficient to constitute a threat under this section:
- a threat to do an unlawful injury to the person or property of the person threatened or of another;
- a threat to accuse the person threatened, or another, of any crime;
- a threat to expose, or impute to the person threatened, or another, any deformity or disgrace;
Whoever commits extortion is guilty of a third-degree felony.
“At the PRC public comment in August, while decrying the purported corruption within Iberdrola and AVANGRID and making false, outrageous statements, Silva was just five days earlier desperately trying to secure additional contracts with AVANGRID and its companies,” said Robert Kump, AVANGRID President and Deputy CEO.
According to AVANGRID’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel R. Scott Mahoney, “AVANGRID will vigorously defend itself against the meritless allegations and claims made by Security Limits and echoed by NEE.” Mahoney added, “In fact, AVANGRID has previously reviewed unsubstantiated allegations made by Silva’s company Security Limits and sent it a cease-and-desist letter.”
AVANGRID is pursuing all legal remedies against Security Limits, Silva and anyone that has aided him.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT, with approximately $39 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 7,000 people and has been recognized by Forbes and Just Capital as one of the 2021 JUST 100 companies – a list of America’s best corporate citizens – and was ranked number one within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment and the communities it serves. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2021 for the third consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.