Tillerson, now U.S. Secretary of State, used the pseudonym account for sending sensitive messages to company board members, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is investigating whether the company misled investors for years about the possible impact of climate change on its business.
A New York judge is holding a hearing into Schneiderman’s request for the emails and management documents from dozens of other sources.
Exxon said in court filings before the hearing that Schneiderman is exaggerating the potential loss of relevant documents. The issue that affected the Wayne Tracker account was an “isolated occurrence” that resulted from the standard configurations of Exxon’s Microsoft Exchange system, the company said.
New York’s claim marks the latest email-handling matter to make headlines, from Hillary Clinton using a private email server as Secretary of State to more-recent revelations that Vice President Mike Pence used a private email account to conduct some official business as governor of Indiana. Neither of those instances involved an alias.
Schneiderman’s request is part of protracted legal dispute between New York and Massachusetts and Exxon, which is trying to upend the states’ investigations. The Wayne Tracker email account was discovered by Schneiderman’s team while reviewing other Exxon documents.
“Exxon has failed to produce management documents from critical time periods when Exxon is known to have been formulating and publicizing key policies and related representations regarding the company’s resilience to the impacts of climate change and climate change regulations,” the attorney general said in a letter to the court.