The State : Energy Firm Settles Lawsuit

An Irvine company that is trying to build a coal-fired power plant in Hanford has agreed to pay a local environmental group $100,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that the city's mayor voted to approve the project while she was having a romantic relationship with a company executive. Andy Wales, former project manager for GWF Power Systems Inc., resigned from the company in the wake of the controversy surrounding his affair with Mayor Patt Rapozo. The mayor is facing a recall election early next year. The environmental group, Tulare County Citizens for a Healthy Environment, agreed to the settlement after learning that the state Fair Political Practices Commission was not going to pursue a case against Rapozo, spokeswoman Marcie Williams said. The group opposes the $30-million plant, saying it will increase smog in the area.

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