NYC Comptroller Complains about High Gas Prices

May 5, 2006 ( - New York City Comptroller William Thompson Jr. has gotten involved in the uproar over spiraling gas prices with a demand to ExxonMobil to investigate price gouging complaints as well as shareholder concerns about executive compensation.

Thompson, on behalf of the city’s pension funds which hold $1.2 billion worth of shares in the energy giant, made the request in a letter to ExxonMobil, according to a New York Sun news report.

In the letter to ExxonMobil, Thompson wrote, “I am concerned that the growing perception of unfair windfall profits and egregious executive pay could strengthen the maelstrom of public outrage, pose significant long-term risks to the company’s reputation, and negatively affect consumer preference at gas stations around the country.”

“Are short-term earnings good for the portfolio? Sure,” Thompson told the Sun during a phone interview. “But in the long run there is greater damage being done to the companies.”

Thompson denied that his actions were driven by further political ambitions, asserting instead that he has tried for a long time to rely on the fiscal leverage of the pension funds to influence company practices. “I don’t think it has anything to do with 2009, and I think it has everything to do with the job I’m in now,” Thompson told the newspaper. “In that regard, it’s incredibly consistent with what we have done for the last four or four and a half years and what city comptrollers have done in the past.”