Although Jonathan Silver stole my attention in the recent House Oversight hearing that ironically seemed to be lacking in committee members, Abound Solar deserves some notoriety. Abound is now the third major bankruptcy recorded from the $16 billion 1705 Loan Guarantee Program –– and they won't be the last. A DOE portfolio, where "23 of the loans were rated Junk grade due to their poor credit quality, while the other four were rated BBB, which is at the lowest end of the investment grade of categories.”
To get you up to speed on Abound, just over two years ago, during his weekly radio address, President Obama touted Abound Solar as a huge jobs creator project, stating that it would create "2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs" between Abound's two plants in Colorado and Indiana. Then in December of 2010, Abound Solar was awarded a $400 million loan guarantee from the 1705 DOE Loan Guarantee Program, despite the fact that in November 2010, it was rated “B” by Fitch: highly speculative, worse than Solyndra’s rating of BB-. And in July 2011, Abound was awarded $9.2 million loan from the Export-Import Bank, you know, the federally funded bank that makes riskier loans financed with taxpayer money.
Since the end of February of this year, troubling Abound reports circulated; massive layoffs and a compelling case for a pay to play scheme surfaced, causing more energy headaches for the DOE and the White House. When March came, the House Oversight investigation confirmed that cronyism most likely ruled the Abound loan. May rolled around with another green energy Oversight hearing, including the appearance of then CEO Craig Witsoe, explaining Abound troubles, but no mention of a bankruptcy on the horizon. Because two months later (Jun 28, 2012), Abound went down!
This was after Witsoe, in December 2011, made sure to inform American taxpayers that his company was the “anti-Solyndra." Well, the silver lining may be that the taxpayer loss will only be about $70 milllion, but what about that $9.2 million?