Solyndra CEO Resigns, Clip of Owner Bragging About Gov't Handouts Surfaces
October 13, 2011 7:01 PM
Mike Tyson's former bankruptcy officer is expected to preside over liquidating the company's assets
It's been an interesting ride for bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra at its stoic CEO Brian Harrison. Not long after receiving $535M USD in loan for a
specialized solar technology (CIGS thin-film)
one top green-tech editor
"not worth commercializing" and "incapable of being competitive", the gig was up. Solyndra went bankrupt at the end of August.
Mr. Harrison who, much like the CEOs of other embattled firms like Enron, has become the target of much public vehemence. He refused to answer question from Congress, pleading the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. And this week he announced he was resigning from his leadership role as the company tries to restructure and emerge from bankruptcy.
R. Todd Neilson of Berkeley Research Group has been proposed as a candidate to be the firm's "chief restructuring officer". The company describes, "The CRO will assist the debtors in their ongoing efforts to sell estate assets, winding down the debtors' operations following such sale or sales, and otherwise managing the cases."
Mr. Harrison only recently came to Solyndra in 2010 [
], taking over the top spot from Chris Gronet, Solyndra’s founder and current CEO. The chief had formerly served as CEO at since-acquired flash memory maker Numonyx and as an executive in the flash memory division at Intel Corp. (
Reports indicate Solyndra's base executive pay in 2010 was $400,000 USD [
], but another report indicates that the company's CFO received $831,000 USD [
] in total compensation that year. Thus it's likely that Mr. Harrison pocketed somewhere in the range of $500k to $1M USD before the company went under. He has refused to disclose his severance package, which may have boosted that total higher.
While Mr. Harrison might have left the situation a bit fatter financially, the firms 1,100 employees were
left out to dry
. The firm violated federal laws, terminating them without the 60 day notice that is required for plant closures. Solyndra has refused to pay these employees severance or benefits.
Solyndra is a hot topic politically as President Obama
personally pushed the high risk loan
. Some argue that the government acted as a "venture capitalist" due to the high risk of the solar industry. However, venture capitalists always charge very high interest rates on loans to safeguard themselves over financial losses from failed firms. By contrast the government loan was almost free money with almost no interest.
A campaign bundler for President Obama, billionaire George Kaiser effectively owned 36 percent of Solyndra through his family firm.
Mr. Kaiser remarked last year about government funding for his charitable projects, "There’s never been more money shoved out of the government's door in world history, and probably never will be again, than in the last few months and in the next 18 months. And our selfish parochial goal is to get as much as it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can."
Given that Mr. Kaiser who
as "a robber baron from Red State America" raised between $50K to $100K in President Obama's 2008 election bid, there's lots of questions being raised.
White House visitor logs show he made 16 visits to the White House since 2009, meaning that he likely made several trips in the months prior to the loan approval. Ken Levit, executive director of the family foundation, insists, "Kaiser’s meetings at the White House were about not-for- profit initiatives. George Kaiser is not an investor in Solyndra and did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loans."
Mr. Kaiser is a respected philanthropist, joining Bill Gates' pledge to give away half of his assets. His net worth includes a $1.9B USD bank stake. Ironically the bank he owns a controlling stake in -- the Bank of Oklahoma Corp. --
blasted the federal bank bailout program
The government may yet recoup part of the lost loan by liquidating Solyndra's assets, which include a brand new 300,000 square-foot (28,000 square-meter) factory in California. Mr. Neilson, the proposed "bankruptcy CEO" played a similar role in the bankruptcy of boxer Mike Tyson and in other highly publicized bankruptcies. He began this unusually line of work after retiring from the
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
President Obama recently said he
has "no regrets"
on the decision to support loaning taxpayer money to Solyndra.
"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
Obama Says he Has No Regrets on Wasting $535M on Failed Solar Startup
October 4, 2011, 8:15 AM
$500 Million Wasted on Bankrupt Solar Panel Company; White House was Warned
September 14, 2011, 4:22 PM
Company Unleashes Bright Idea With Curvy Solar Roof
October 8, 2008, 1:56 PM
PIQ ROBOTTM reveals its new artificial intelligence software
November 29, 2016, 12:59 AM
One more time - Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Around the World
November 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project gets halted for 2016
November 20, 2016, 7:00 AM
Cell Research Study shows African Americans have greater immune response to infection
November 10, 2016, 1:00 AM
UTHealth Clinical Trial Shows Progress Using Stem Cells to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
November 8, 2016, 1:00 AM
Uber Partners with Circulation to Pilot Program Connecting Transportation and Digital Health Care
November 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Intel Optane SSd DC P4800X – Super Fast 3D Storage
March 20, 2017, 7:35 AM
Comparison – Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Vs Microsoft Surface Pro 4
March 21, 2017, 7:40 AM
Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming G1 – Intel Thunderbolt 3 Certified Motherboard
March 9, 2017, 6:25 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8, Rumored Launch Date!
March 18, 2017, 6:45 AM
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 – Android 7 Nougat Smartphone with Octa-Core Processor
March 8, 2017, 7:03 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Are you thinking of performance and speed? Intel claims:
Mar 25, 2017, 7:45 AM
Apple buys an automation app called Workflow. The deal was completed today and brings the app along with its developers.
Mar 23, 2017, 7:35 AM
Apple Announces new color for iPhones and iPads
Mar 22, 2017, 7:45 AM
Instagram: You Can Now Save Live Videos For Later
Mar 21, 2017, 7:49 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 to Get New Color Scheme
Mar 20, 2017, 7:45 AM
What else to worry about?
Mar 17, 2017, 6:45 AM
Icon of the Day: Intel/ NVIDIA or Mobileye
Mar 16, 2017, 6:15 AM
JUST IN - Twitter Hijacked : High-Profile Account Accesses
Mar 15, 2017, 7:07 AM
Mar 14, 2017, 7:30 AM
News and Tips
Mar 13, 2017, 6:30 AM
iPhone 8 – May Not Get Curved Screen
Mar 11, 2017, 8:00 AM
California paves way to self-driving car tests without humans
Mar 11, 2017, 7:18 AM
Smart Machines V hackers
Mar 10, 2017, 7:00 AM
Uber Can Resume Autonomous Car Testing in California
Mar 9, 2017, 6:50 AM
Mar 8, 2017, 7:09 AM
Mar 7, 2017, 8:45 AM
World news 3-6
Mar 6, 2017, 5:40 AM
Mar 4, 2017, 7:40 AM
Mixed News of the Day
Mar 4, 2017, 6:32 AM
Jaguar Land Rover invests in ride-sharing
Mar 3, 2017, 7:00 AM
Mixed News of The World:
Mar 2, 2017, 7:02 AM
World New 3-1
Mar 1, 2017, 6:30 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information