If the City of Chester were successful in seizing the Chester Water Authority (CWA) and Aqua buys the CWA, it has been established that the residents of the City of Chester, and other ratepayers, will see their water bill rates double.1
Aqua previously sued the City of Chester and the CWA, trying to force the sale of the CWA to Aqua. Aqua has routinely used the law firm Ballard Spahr to represent Aqua in corporate matters including as attorneys: (1) in the issuance of $900,000,000 in Senior Notes due 2029 and 20492; (2) in the issuance of 6,000,000 shares of common stock3; (3) in the issuance of up to $500,000,000 aggregate of common stock4 and preferred stock; and (4) advising on environmental, social and governance disclosures made in Aqua’s ESG report, proxy statement, and Form 10-K.5
Now Ballard Spahr represents the City of Chester, having recently entered its appearance for the City in litigation against the CWA6. In addition, the City is now with Aqua conducting litigation against the CWA7.
Trying to get information about these relationships, Right to Know Requests were sent to the City of Chester requesting documents showing invoices received and amounts paid to law firms, which would include Ballard Spahr. Incredibly, the City of Chester has stated that no invoices exist, despite records showing that Ballard Spahr has received over $200,000 from the City since July of 2020.8
Here are some questions to consider: Who is representing the interests of the residents of Chester if the attorneys for the City government and Aqua are the same? How can the City pay a law firm over $200,000 without having any invoices for what they are paying for? There are a lot of questions to be answered about how Aqua’s corporate attorneys came to now represent the City of Chester in CWA related litigation, after Aqua itself sued the City over the CWA. How much control does Aqua have over the City?
6 City of Chester, Appellant v. Chester Water Authority, pending in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, case number 514 CD 2020 (consolidated with 489 CD 2020, 504 CD 2020, 685 CD 2020. See Docket Sheet at: https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/Report/PacDocketSheet?docketNumber=514%20CD%202020&dnh=ypLQOYyJgwNJ7GqxNYc4AQ%3D%3D
7 See e.g., In Re: Petition for Approval of Declaration of Trust, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 504 CD 2020, https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/Report/PacDocketSheet?docketNumber=504%20CD%202020&dnh=wkgtbqXTCIgVIllnZrTIHw%3D%3D
8 See City of Chester Check Register posted below.