Not News: Bankrupt Abound Solar Touted by Obama in 2010 Now Under Criminal Investigation

In his weekly radio address on July 3, 2010, President Barack Obama announced that "the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments from the Recovery Act to two solar companies." Neither of them was named Solyndra.

One of the two companies Obama did name was Fort Collins, Colorado-based Abound Solar, which Obama touted as a company which would create "more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs" at two new plants which "When fully operational ... will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year." As Amy Oliver detailed at Townhall a year ago, Abound is a classic case of Obama bundler cronyism. In July, just shy of two years after Obama's address, the company, which benefited from $400 million of Department of Energy loan guarantees, filed for bankruptcy. Yesterday, a Colorado District Attorney announced a criminal investigation. So far, it's only local Colorado-area news (internal links added by me; bolds are mine):


Weld officials investigating Abound Solar officials
DA's office: possible fraud, misrepresentation committed

The Weld County District Attorney's office confirmed Thursday that it has launched a criminal investigation into officials at bankrupt Abound Solar, whose manufacturing facility was located along the Interstate 25 Frontage Road but had a Longmont address.

Abound, which manufactured solar panels and once employed about 400 people at its Longmont facility, filed for federal bankruptcy protection in early July following a wave of layoffs earlier in the year that cut its work force by 70 percent. It cut its remaining 125 employees when it filed for bankruptcy.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck said the investigation is in its early stages and no one at the company has been charged with any crime.

In the statement, he said his office is "looking into possible instances of securities fraud based on allegations that officials at Abound Solar knew products the company was selling were defective, and then asked investors to invest in the company without telling them about the defective products."

... earlier this month the conservative-leaning Daily Caller website, citing anonymous sources, said company officials had knowingly built, sold and installed solar panels it knew didn't work properly. In a story it published Oct. 2, it quoted an anonymous "internal source" at Abound as saying, "Our solar modules worked as long as you didn't put them in the sun."

Buck's statement said his office is also looking into a bridge loan the company received while it was waiting for the federally guaranteed loans to come through, and whether company officials misled the lending institutions they obtained the bridge loan from.

A third investigation, the statement said, is looking into possible consumer fraud and whether officials at Abound knowingly sold defective products to consumers.

Searches for current items relating to "Abound Solar" (not in quotes) at about 5 p.m. ET came up empty at the Associated Press, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. A Google News search on the company's name with quotes came up with roughly stories. The only establishment press outlet outside of Colorado carrying a story was a one-paragraph mention at the Hill.

If this story were about a company assisted by the government under a Republican or conservative administration -- heck, readers know the rest.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.