Call it the unofficial Bill Johnson Fan Club.
Current and former employees of Progress Energy and Duke Energy are posting their testimonials about the deposed utility chief executive on a web site created by a former Progress PR handler who considers Johnson a personal friend and mentor.
The site -- http://mybilljohnsonstory.com/ -- is reminiscent of a virtual memorial wall funeral homes create for the deceased, suggesting the sorrow Johnson's firing from Duke Energy has engendered among his admirers.
Aaron Perlut, the architect behind the site, wanted to provide legions of Johnson admirers an outlet for their emotions.
Johnson was ousted from Charlotte-based Duke Energy on July 2, mere hours after the company finalized its merger with Raleigh-based Progress Energy. Johnson, 58, had been CEO at Progress since 2007 and was slated to run the combined company.
The N.C. Utilities Commission and the N.C. Attorney General are investigating the ouster. Duke CEO Jim Rogers testified before the commission last week, saying Duke's board lost confidence in Johnson for his "autocratic" bearing. Johnson is set to testify on Thursday.
"The tipping point for me was the use of the word 'autocratic' in Jim Rogers' testimony, because nothing could be farther from the truth," Perlut said by phone. "[Johnson] is really the most democratic leader I have ever dealt with."