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 Report: White House tried to rush Solyndra loan 
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Post Re: Report: White House tried to rush Solyndra loan
Here we go again:
Hot Air wrote:
A Tale of Two (More) Bankruptcies
posted at 10:45 am on October 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Stop me if this sounds familiar. The Department of Energy approves multi-million-dollar loan to green-tech energy firm as part of its job-stimulus bill, only instead of stimulating jobs, the company declares bankruptcy. In this case, it only took a year after the loan was granted for Beacon Power to file for protection from its creditors:

Beacon Power Corp filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, just a year after the energy storage company received a $43 million loan guarantee from a controversial Department of Energy program.

The bankruptcy comes about two months after Solyndra — a solar panel maker with a $535 million loan guarantee — also filed for Chapter 11, creating a political embarrassment for the administration of President Barack Obama, which has championed the loans as a way to create “green energy” jobs.

Beacon Power drew down $39 million of its government-guaranteed loan to fund a portion of a $69 million, 20-megawatt flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York.

Well, who could have seen this coming? Er … anyone who could read a ledger, apparently:

The Tyngsboro, Massachusetts-based company was spun off of SatCon Technology Corp in 1997 and went public in 2000. It said in documents filed with Delaware’s bankruptcy court that it had $72 million in assets and $47 million in debts.

Beacon currently operates at a loss and its revenues are not enough to support its operations, it said in court documents.

How well did Beacon operate? NASDAQ delisted the company not too long after getting the DoE loan, and no one else but the DoE was prepared to offer financing for a company that couldn’t turn a profit even with taxpayer-backed loans. Beacon blames this on the “current political climate,” but it sounds a lot more like the problem is Beacon’s current economic model.

That’s not the only noteworthy taxpayer-backed loan recipient to go under in the last few days. The other case doesn’t involve a green-tech firm, nor did its loan originate in the Obama administration. However, it’s a good object lesson in crony capitalism and in regulatory interference. Open Range promised that it could deliver high-speed Internet access via satellite to isolated, rural areas, but despite having a $267 million line of taxpayer credit, never delivered:

As the government prepares Thursday to commit billions of dollars to bring high-speed Internet to rural areas, the biggest-­ever such project has collapsed.

The company Open Range, backed by a commitment of $267 million in loans from the Agriculture Department, filed for bankruptcy this month. Taxpayers are on the hook for $74 million that the upstart hasn’t repaid. And now the company, some analysts and a senior government official are blaming poor judgment and Washington bureaucracy as the reasons Open Range failed.

Democrats are demanding a probe of Open Range, thinking that the Bush-era loan guarantees will soften the blow of Solyndra and Beacon, among other Obama Porkulus flops. However, there is more to this story than just the original loan, and the Washington Post points to a regulatory effort to boost an Obama crony. In order to make its system work, Open Range had to get the FCC to approve waivers for usage of frequency ranges — but the FCC chose a different company to boost instead:

The FCC’s handling of the matter has come under scrutiny by lawmakers partly because the agency promoted a similar venture called LightSquared about the same time it was turning its back on Open Range. Critics of the FCC have accused the agency of favoring LightSquared because it is backed by Democratically connected hedge fund financier Philip Falcone.

“There is clearly the perception of favoritism,” said Tim Farrar, an independent analyst at TMF Associates. Farrar said his consultancy has no financial interests in LightSquared or Open Range’s venture. A similar charge was levied by Globalstar in a recent letter to the FCC.

Readers will remember the LightSquared story, where a 4-star Air Force general accused the White House of pressuring him to change his Congressional testimony to favor the firm, and a second witness got “guidance” to do the same. The House Oversight Committee is already probing LightSquared’s deal. What we can say at the moment that having government conduct these loans tends to distort the marketplace, and it’s hardly a coincidence that those distortions end up favoring political allies — at the expense of taxpayers.

Update: Verum Serum makes a notable catch on the Beacon Power story, which is that the firm was alerted to a possible NASDAQ delisting before the DoE granted the loan:

In mid-September [2009], Beacon received word from NASDAQ that it was out of compliance with the exchange’s minimum trading-price of $1 per share. Beacon Power closed at 72 cents a share the day NASDAQ sent its notice. Beacon said it believes it meets applicable standards, other than the minimum bid price requirement.

So how did Beacon get the loan? The company spokesman explained in 2009:

Beacon is using the money to develop a 20 MW regulation plant at a site in Stephenton, NY. The site will use several 1 MW flywheels to store energy as well as electrical and technological equipment.
Company spokesman Gene Hunt said Beacon didn’t have financial advisors per se, just its outside law firm of Edwards, Angell, Palmer & Dodge. “We also used our in-house expertise and we have good relationships with our congressional members.”

Who needs financial advisers when you have Congressmen in your pocket? Other than taxpayers, I mean.

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/10/31/a-tale-of-two-more-bankruptcies/

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October 31st, 2011, 1:52 pm
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Post Re: Report: White House tried to rush Solyndra loan
Well, it could have been worse:
AP wrote:
Obama administration considered Solyndra bailout

By MATTHEW DALY
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Days before a solar panel maker collapsed, the Obama administration considered a bailout that would have provided an infusion of cash and a new board of directors, including two directors appointed by the Energy Department.

Officials rejected the plan, which was recommended in August by the investment banking firm Lazard Ltd. Lazard was paid $1 million for analyzing options related to the faltering company, Solyndra Inc.

Details of the bailout plan were among nearly 1,200 pages of documents released by the government Wednesday, hours before a House subcommittee was set to vote on a plan to subpoena White House documents related to Solyndra.



http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SOLAR_INVESTIGATION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-11-02-19-19-58

Obama may be stupid, but I guess he isn't THAT stupid.

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November 2nd, 2011, 9:23 pm
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Post Re: Report: White House tried to rush Solyndra loan
This is only going to get worse:
Daily Caller wrote:
Inspector General launches criminal probe into more than 100 Energy Dept. loans
Published: 4:58 PM 11/02/2011 | Updated: 8:16 PM 11/02/2011
By C.J. Ciaramella

Solyndra is being investigated by the FBI, but that may just be the tip of the shovel-ready iceberg.

The Department of Energy is investigating more than 100 potential instances of criminal abuse of stimulus loan monies, according to the department’s Office of Inspector General.

In prepared testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday, Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman said his office has launched more than 100 probes into possible criminal activities related to the 2009 stimulus funds behind the loans.

Friedman said the investigations used “various schemes, including the submission of false information, claims for unallowable or unauthorized expenses, and other improper uses of Recovery Act funds.”

The investigations have already led to five criminal prosecutions and more than $2.3 million in recovered stimulus funds, Friedman said, including “a series of cases involving fictitious claims for travel per diem resulting in the recovery of $1 million alone in Recovery Act funds.”

Friedman’s office and the FBI are also investigating possible criminal activity related to Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar company that received a $535 million loan from the Energy Department.

While Friedman declined to comment on the Solyndra investigation, he attacked the DOE loan program in general. (RELATED: Financial turmoil grips two more green companies receiving federal loan guarantees)

Ads by Google“The Loan Guarantee Program had not [been] properly documented and as such could not always readily demonstrate how it resolved or mitigated relevant risks prior to granting loan guarantees,” Friedman said.

The testimony was red meat for congressional Republicans who have assailed the Obama administration for the loan program, saying loans were rushed through without proper vetting to fit the president’s political agenda.

“We end up in a situation where we continue to throw good money after bad because we can’t stand to tell people it was bad policy, it was a bad program,” said Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Mike Kelly.

Friedman went on to criticize stimulus spending, specifically the Obama administration’s claim that it was sending money to “shovel-ready jobs.”

“Our reviews have identified a fairly consistent pattern of delays in the pace at which Recovery Act funds had been spent by grant and other financial assistance recipients,” Friedman said.

Friedman said the delays and abuse of stimulus funds are partially due to few “shovel ready” projects actually existing when the Recovery Act was launched in 2009.

“The concept of ‘shovel ready’ projects became a Recovery Act symbol of expeditiously stimulating the economy and creating jobs,” Friedman said. “In reality, few actual ‘shovel ready’ projects existed.”

“The concept of ‘shovel-ready’ projects was not realized, nor, as we now have confirmed, was it a realistic expectation,” he continued.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/11/02/inspe ... z1cbcPKRK8

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November 2nd, 2011, 10:35 pm
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Post Re: Report: White House tried to rush Solyndra loan
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse.....
Mercury News wrote:
Solyndra executives collected hefty bonuses in months before Fremont company filed for bankruptcy
By Dana Hull
Posted: 11/02/2011 12:56:18 PM PDT
Updated: 11/02/2011 08:34:10 PM PDT

Senior executives at Solyndra collected hefty bonuses -- ranging from $37,000 to $60,000 apiece -- as the Fremont company bled cash and careened toward bankruptcy this summer.

Bankruptcy documents filed in Delaware earlier this week reveal that more than a dozen senior executives at the defunct solar manufacturing company were awarded sizable quarterly bonuses April 15 and again July 8. Solyndra ceased operations in late August and filed for bankruptcy Sept. 6. About 1,100 employees were laid off without severance pay.

The bonuses, awarded to more than a dozen executives, came on top of what were already highly competitive salaries. Karen Alter, Solyndra's vice president of marketing, had an annual base salary of $275,000; she was awarded a $55,000 bonus in April and again in July. Ben Bierman, Solyndra's executive vice president of operations and engineering, had an annual base salary of $300,000; he was awarded $60,000 in April and again in July. Will Stover, the company's chief financial officer, was also awarded a $60,000 bonus in April and again in July.

Details of the bonuses come as Solyndra attempts to auction off the manufacturing equipment that remains in the idled Fremont factory.

Bruce Grohsgal, Solyndra's Wilmington, Del.-based bankruptcy attorney, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

But a former Solyndra employee, who spoke on condition that he not be identified, said the bonuses were put in place in an effort to retain talent at Solyndra, which suffered from enormously high turnover during its five years in operation.

"There was a retention bonus to keep people until July since turnover was around 30 to 45 percent," the former employee said. The former employee said he believes the retention packages began in late 2010 under Brian Harrison, who was named CEO in July 2010.

Jason Kilborn, a resident scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute, said Wednesday that the payments to Solyndra executives could have been standard practice, since quarterly bonuses are a common form of executive compensation. He also said they could be retention bonuses.

"It's not uncommon for companies facing serious financial distress to say 'we need you now more than ever, will you agree to stay?' " Kilborn said.

Bonnie Glantz Fatell, an attorney for the creditors committee, said Wednesday she was reviewing the payment information but declined further comment.

Chris Gronet, the company's founder and original CEO, had a base salary of $400,000. When he was replaced by Harrison, his severance package totaled $456,000. The bankruptcy documents show that Gronet never received the money.

Solyndra was awarded a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in 2009, and the company's implosion has raised numerous questions about the company's financial health. The Department of Energy agreed to restructure Solyndra's debt in early 2011, and had observer status on Solyndra's board of directors.

Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.

Bonus bonanza


More than a dozen Solyndra executives were awarded bonuses this year. Here's what three top execs got.


Will Stover, chief financial officer: $60,000 bonus paid in April and again in July.


Ben Bierman, executive vice president of operations and engineering: $60,000 bonus paid in April and again in July.


Karen Alter, vice president of marketing: $55,000 bonus paid in April and again in July.

http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_19248768

Don't even get me started on the bonuses paid to executives at Freddie and Fannie, while milking the taxpayer out of billions of dollars. This is completely acceptable to libtards since they know that some of the money will be returned to them via campaign donations. Meanwhile, the taxpayers get screwed.

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November 3rd, 2011, 1:56 am
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Post Re: Report: White House tried to rush Solyndra loan
regularjoe12 wrote:
so how can a normal guy get to bid on some of those discounted solar panels??

Today is your lucky day. Now you too can own a piece of failure:
AnarchistBolshevikCommunist News wrote:
For Sale: Banner That Greeted Obama at Solyndra

A banner that greeted President Obama on his 2010 visit to California solar energy start-up Solyndra was to be a memento of the presidential push which helped get the company off the ground.

Now it’s up for auction, part of a trove of Solyndra assets for sale after the company filed for bankruptcy, all relics of a federal loan program gone awry.

A website for the auction company Heritage Global Partners lists the banner among dozens of computers, pieces of office furniture, robots, even electron microscopes worth $500,000 or more.

The seven-foot-by-30-foot banner featuring an American flag and heralding Solyndra and “Made in the USA,” a backdrop for Obama’s tour, has yet to receive any bids, according to the auction website.

More than 1,000 potential buyers have already signed up to view the Solyndra property, auction house partner Kirk Dove told San Francisco ABC television affiliate KGO.

“It could be solar panel manufacturers looking for extra capacity and need manufacturing equipment, it could be wholesalers of finished good products because we’re selling finished good panels. It can also be buyers of household items, of office furnishings, personal computers,” Dove said. “There’s biopharma equipment. There’s electronic test equipment.”

The federal government awarded $500 million in grants to help the solar panel maker get started. But now, little if any of that money is expected to be recovered for taxpayers. More than 1,000 workers also lost their jobs at the company when it abruptly shut down in August.

Obama has defended the Solyndra loan, which had been the poster child of the administration’s green jobs push, telling ABC News last month that “hindsight is always 20/20.”

“It went through the regular review process, and people felt like this was a good bet,” he said.

The White House has since ordered a review of the entire Energy Department loan program. House Republicans are conducting a separate investigation into the Solyndra affair.


http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/for-sale-banner-that-greeted-obama-at-solyndra/

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November 5th, 2011, 10:55 am
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Post Re: Report: White House tried to rush Solyndra loan
Why does this not surprise me?
Weekly Standard wrote:
Obama Admin. Pushed Solyndra Layoff Announcement Until After Election
12:06 PM, Nov 15, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER

The Washington Post reports on newly released emails that reveal "the Obama administration urged officers of the struggling solar company Solyndra to postpone announcing planned layoffs until after the November 2010 midterm elections"

Solyndra’s chief executive warned the Energy Department on Oct. 25, 2010, that he intended to announce worker layoffs Oct. 28. He said he was spurred by numerous calls from reporters and potential investors about rumors the firm was in financial trouble and was planning to lay off workers and close one of its two plants.

But in an Oct. 30, 2010, e-mail, advisers to Solyndra’s primary investor, Argonaut Equity, explain that the Energy Department had strongly urged the company to put off the layoff announcement until Nov. 3. The midterm elections were held Nov. 2, and led to Republicans taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“DOE continues to be cooperative and have indicated that they will fund the November draw on our loan (app. $40 million) but have not committed to December yet,” a Solyndra investor adviser wrote Oct. 30. “They did push very hard for us to hold our announcement of the consolidation to employees and vendors to Nov. 3rd – oddly they didn’t give a reason for that date.”

Even Solyndra's advisers found it odd the Department of Energy would make such a request. Nevertheless, the failed solar energy company announced on November 3 a number of layoffs, a factory closure, and other bad news.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-admin-pushed-solyndra-layoff-announcement-until-after-election_609004.html

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November 15th, 2011, 4:03 pm
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Post Re: Report: White House tried to rush Solyndra loan
Here we go again:
Big Government wrote:
Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s ‘Green’ Company Scored $1.4 Billion Taxpayer Bailout by Wynton Hall

President John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Robert Kennedy, Jr., netted a $1.4 billion bailout for his company, BrightSource, through a loan guarantee issued by a former employee-turned Department of Energy official.

It’s just one more in a string of eye-opening revelations by investigative journalist and Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer in his explosive new book, Throw Them All Out.

The details of how BrightSource managed to land its ten-figure taxpayer bailout have yet to emerge fully. However, one clue might be found in the person of Sanjay Wagle.

Wagle was one of the principals in Kennedy’s firm who raised money for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. When Obama won the White House, Wagle was installed at the Department of Energy (DOE), advising on energy grants.

From an objective vantage point, investing taxpayer monies in BrightSource was a risky proposition at the time. In 2010, BrightSource, whose largest shareholder is Kennedy’s VantagePoint Partners, was up to its eyes in $1.8 billion of debt obligations and had lost $71.6 million on its paltry $13.5 million of revenue.

Even before BrightSource rattled its tin cup in front of Obama’s DOE, the company made it known publicly that its survival hinged on successfully completing the Ivanpah Solar Electrical System, which would become the largest solar plant in the world, on federal lands in California.
In its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, BrightSource further underscored the risky nature of the Ivanpah venture and, more broadly, the company’s viability:

Our future success depends on our ability to construct Ivanpah, our first utility-scale solar thermal power project, in a cost-effective and timely manner… Our ability to complete Ivanpah and the planning, development and construction of all three phases are subject to significant risk and uncertainty.

Ironically, in 2008, Kennedy wrote a CNN article praising Obama as reminiscent of his famous father and uncle. The article, titled “Obama’s Energy Plan Would Create a Green Gold Rush,” proved prophetic. However, the “green gold rush” came in the form of $1.4 billion of taxpayers’ money flowing into the pet projects of rich venture capital investors like Kennedy, not average citizens.

What’s more, BrightSource touted the Ivanpah project as a green jobs creator. Yet as its own website reveals, the thermal solar plant will only create 1,400 jobs at its peak construction and 650 jobs annually thereafter. Even using the peak estimate of 1,400 jobs, that works out to a cost to taxpayers of $1 million per job created.

As Schweizer writes in Throw Them All Out, “A billion dollars in taxpayer money being sent to wealthy investors to bail them out of risky investments—does this sound familiar to anyone?”



http://biggovernment.com/whall/2011/11/16/robert-kennedy-jr-s-green-company-scored-1-4-billion-taxpayer-bailout/

I'm sure we'll find dozens, if not over a hundred, examples of Obama's crony capitalism or "venture socialism" by the time everything's said and done. This is pathetic and is basically theft of the taxpayer's money.

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November 16th, 2011, 6:46 pm
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