Texas electric provider rejects claims it mined blood diamonds

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by JASON WHITELY / WFAA

khou.com

Posted on September 14, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 16 at 5:37 PM

DALLAS - The allegations laid out in Randy Prengler's lawsuit against Glacial Energy could be ingredients for a novel.

"I'm owed a little less than a million dollars plus attorneys fees and costs," said Randy Prengler, plaintiff. "And I didn't leave the company on my own. I was fired."

He sued Glacial Energy, a retail electric provider selling power to Texas businesses, trying to collect almost a million dollars in what he claimed are unpaid commissions from two business ventures Prengler had with Glacial's CEO, Gary Mole.

But Prengler's suit doesn't stop there. It also accuses Glacial Energy of wiring millions in cash to the Congo.

"This money, to my belief, is going for illegal diamond mining operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo," Prengler added.

The illegal diamonds are often referred to as 'blood diamonds' or 'conflict diamonds' because the precious stones are mined under harsh conditions with forced labor.

For the first time, Prengler has unveiled what he said is proof of his allegation.

He showed News 8 dozens of ledger entries which appear to show Glacial Energy sending money to a company called 'Gemico,' a subsidiary of Glacial Energy.

The entries, dated in 2006 and 2007, add up to more than $13-million in funds.

"It's almost unbelievable that this sort of thing is going on and no one is doing anything about it," said Bretton Gerard, Prengler's attorney.

But in a response to the lawsuit, an attorney for Glacial Energy characterized the claim as scandalous, incendiary, and irrelevant.

"At no point has Glacial Energy or any of its subsidiaries been involved with or invested in diamond mining anywhere in the world," a company spokesman wrote to News 8 in an e-mail. "The allegation is patently false."

Attorneys for Glacial Energy even filed a counter-claim alleging Prengler actually owes the company $20,000.

"My true belief is the documents speak for themselves," Prengler added.

The back-and-forth has devolved into a nasty legal fight set for trial on September 26.

Both sides return to court Wednesday morning for a hearing.

Glacial Energy said it hopes the judge reduces the case to a simple breach of contract claim but Prengler, with his proof, is preparing for trial.

E-mail: jwhitely@wfaa.com

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