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  • Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Firms Struggle, But Hike Executive Pay

    When insurance giant AIG paid lucrative bonuses to top executives after receiving federal support, President Obama asked, “How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?”

    But three years later, numerous green energy companies backed financially by the administration are paying out large salaries and bonuses to their executives, even as the companies struggle to stay financially solvent.

    Scribe recently reported that Ecotality, a stimulus-backed electric vehicle charging station manufacturer that has received about $141 million in Energy Department grants, increased “executive and director” compensation by 150% in 2011.

    Meanwhile, the company is struggling financially. “We have a history of losses which may continue and may negatively impact our ability to achieve our business objectives,” Ecotality notes in its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The company posted net losses of $22.5 million last year, and “a large percentage of our revenues depends on the progress of our activities under grants from the DOE,” the SEC filing notes, meaning taxpayers are contributing mightily to the company’s continued survival, even while it increases executive compensation.

    First Solar, which received nearly $1.5 billion stimulus-backed DOE loan guarantees, recently announced it would lay off 2,000 workers. But during First Solar’s quick financial decline, the company paid its CEO $32 million in salary and bonuses over three years. He was fired after presiding over a nearly 30% decline in the value of the company’s stock.

    The stock price for electric vehicle battery manufacturer A123 Systems is languishing at a meager $0.86, down from a high of $25.77 in 2009. But the company, which received nearly $250 million in stimulus funds, continues to hike the pay of its top executives.

    Like Ecotality, A123 is dependent upon federal support. “The failure to obtain [additional federal] funds or other incentives,” the company notes in a recent SEC filing, “could materially and adversely affect our ability to expand our manufacturing capacity and meet planned production levels.”

    In 2011, four of A123’s top employees received an average 20% increase in their base salaries. Three of those executives saw further increases in their 2012 salaries, to an average of more than $375,000 apiece. It also awarded 1,210,000 shares of company stock to five of its top executives.

    In addition to Ecotality, A123, and First Solar, notorious solar panel manufacturer Solyndra gave its executives pay raises and bonuses after the company went bankrupt, despite having received a $535 million federal loan guarantee through the stimulus package.

    (h/t Paul Chesser)

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Firms Struggle, But Hike Executive Pay

    1. Pingback: Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Firms Struggle, But Hike Executive Pay

    2. G Jones says:

      Redistribution at its worst! This is bottom up redistribution, which is the most destructive kind. When we take over the justice department again hopefully we can claw back some of these extravagancies to Obama donors.

    3. Bobbie says:

      More proof the President caters to failure at the cost of America. No intelligent thinking just money games with the good people of the country. High pay to the unaccountable seems to be the President's greatest achievement.

    4. Brad S. says:

      It's the old adage – "If you subsidize poverty and failure, you will get more of both." This is as dumb as throwing more money at the Dept. of Education. If spending money on failed premises worked ("green" energy and publicly-run education) – we would be the envy of the world in both.

    5. O2BMe says:

      If all this green energy was ready for prime time the private industries would have jumped into it and made a profit. Government should not be involved in business, they don't even know how to pass a budget that every company must have. They shouldn't be in the auto industry or the banking industry either. All they do is muck it up and waste taxpayer's money.

    6. Roger S. says:

      Bad enough to grant unearned raises in compensation to executive-failures. Such companies should be barred from receiving further grants and subsidies. Much worse is granting such raises after the bankruptcy filing. In such companies, those responsible should be hauled off in handcuffs on charges of fraud. Jail IS their proper future abode! — All of the above said, the real issue remains government involvement in the first place. >There should not be any, because without it these enterprises and their crooked execs would be trouble only to investors dumb enough to have loaned them money. The "problem" would take care of itself, as in free markets it usually does!

    7. Jim Campbell says:

      Where is the mainstream media in widely publicizing this blatant looting of the taxpayer's treasury?

      Most journalists grew up in the same America that the rest of us knew. They certainly recognize that these incidents are dishonest, dishonorable, and prime examples of crony capitalism. I find no fault in them being enamoured with Obama's flowery rhetoric, but it has been increasingly clear and visible that this administration does not share our traditional American values. He talks about fairness go all, but his actions and his policies are unquestionably designed to favor and reward a select few fat cats who are already rich and who are major financial supporters of his administration. That select group has fared very well under this president at the expense of all other citizens.

      Covering up these scandals is akin to treason. The majority of people never see the truth reported in our alternative media. Otherwise, I believe that average working people would be crying out for a "tar & feather" party with Barack Obama as the guest of honor.

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