Arizona regulators staff opposes Oneok takeover

Wednesday, January 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Phoenix, Arizona-AP) -- State regulators in Arizona are opposing an Oklahoma-based company's plans to take over Southwest Gas. The Arizona Corporation Commission staff cites concerns about Oneok's integrity, safety record and history of consumer complaints. The commission's approval is needed for the two billion-dollar deal to go ahead.

The proposed merger is the focus of an investigation by the F-B-I and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. They're looking at whether Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jim Irvin misused his office to get Southwest Gas' directors to approve the deal over a higher bid. They also are looking into a financial arrangement between the Corporation Commission's former executive secretary, Jack Rose, and Prudential Securities. Rose stood to receive a substantial commission if the Oneok deal went through.