Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Did state agencies learn nothing from dealing with defunct solar firm Willard & Kelsey?

This post went up yesterday at Ohio Watchdog:

THAT WAS THEN: Vice President Joe Biden, left, answers questions
 during his 2009 visit to Willard & Kelsey Solar Group in Perrysburg, Ohio.
The company has shuttered it doors and is being sued by the state
(AP file photo)
Willard & Kelsey Solar Group LLC isn’t just another solar company that couldn’t cut it, as details of two lawsuits against the company show.

But just what lessons did two state agencies learn from the potential loss of nearly $11.5 million in taxpayer funds? They can’t – or won’t say.

At first glance, the failure of Willard & Kelsey looks like just another in the long line of green energy companies that couldn’t find success. The company was established in 2007 by several men with extensive experience in the glass and solar panel industries.

In 2009, Vice President Joe Biden toured the Perrysburg, Ohio, facility touting it as a potential cornerstone of the area’s future economy. In February 2011, the company hosted then Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

But later in 2011, Willard & Kelsey idled most of its operations. In January 2012, it laid off most of its workers. On June 30, the company closed its doors without telling the state or the agencies that had advanced it millions in loans.

Today, WKS and its principles are facing lawsuits from the state of Ohio totaling $11,495,205.47 in loans and interest owed by the company, in addition to late charges, collection costs and attorney fees.

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