Hope-a-nomics dis­as­ter: One com­pany’s hor­ror story

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

Pres­i­dent Obama prom­ises to move the coun­try for­ward with his re­cy­cled pledge of five mil­lion green jobs. But in the real world, small busi­nesses are strug­gling to stay afloat as they deal with the fis­cal wreck­age of this ad­min­is­tra­tion’s dis­as­trous ven­ture so­cial­ism. Here’s the tale of just one Colorado com­pany vic­tim­ized by the Obama Depart­ment of En­ergy (DOE).

Colorado Dis­tri­bu­tion Group is a pri­vately held stor­age and ship­ping com­pany based in Den­ver.

Thanks to hope-a-nomics, its ware­house is sad­dled with nearly 7,000 pal­lets of fed­er­ally sub­si­dized so­lar pan­els (onethird of which are com­pletely spoiled and un­sal­able), along with re­lated de­tri­tus such as bro­ken glass and stray mod­ule parts.

While $22,000/month in stor­age costs go un­paid, the pan­els con­sume up to a third of the com­pany’s ware­house space.

Le­gal costs have forced CDG to slash pay­roll and lay off at least three em­ploy­ees. A source with knowl­edge of CDG’s woes told me last week the com­pany is fac­ing pres­sure by the Depart­ment of En­ergy to drop its pe­ti­tion to re­coup those costs. The feds want CDG to swal­low a $1.4 mil­lion tab to dis­pose of the bum so­lar pan­els.

In July, ac­cord­ing to Dow Jones, CDG asked a Delaware bank­ruptcy court “for per­mis­sion ei­ther to sell or col­lect rent on the prop­erty Abound So­lar Inc. has at its fa­cil­ity, say­ing the sit­u­a­tion is threat­en­ing its abil­ity to stay in busi­ness.”

Like many pri­vate en­ter­prises in the Age of Obama’s Brass-Knuck­led Pol­i­tics of Re­venge, fear of retri­bu­tion holds back many from com­ing for­ward pub­licly about such at­tempted shake­downs.

CDG serves in­dus­tries rang­ing from au­to­mo­tive to food and bev­er­age, elec­tronic, med­i­cal, fur­ni­ture, cloth­ing, sport­ing goods and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions. Founded in 2005, CDG han­dles dis­tri­bu­tion, ful­fill­ment, trans­porta­tion, lo­gis­tics and in­ven­tory man­age­ment us­ing a high-tech data sys­tem.

For the past three years, the com­pany ware­housed so­lar pan­els man­u­fac­tured by Fort Collins-based Abound So­lar.

Yes, Abound So­lar. Also known as: Colorado’s own Solyn­dra.

In June, less than a year af­ter fel­low Obama green boon­dog­gle Solyn­dra went belly up, Abound filed for bank­ruptcy. As I re­ported in March, the fi­nan­cial out­look of the $400 mil­lion DOE loan guar­an­tee re­cip­i­ent was based on false hope and imag­i­nary change. Obama’s en­vi­ro­crats ig­nored bright red Abound are not alone. At least one other ware­house in Colorado is stor­ing the costly pan­els. And an un­told num­ber of re­lated con­trac­tors and busi­nesses have been stiffed. “I did a lot of ma­chin­ing for Abound,” one busi­ness owner told me this sum­mer, “and they went un­der ow­ing me a fair amount.”

Re­cently re­leased in­ter­nal doc­u­ments show that cus­tomers de­manded re­place­ments for the pan­els af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc-

The stench of pay-for-play abounds. While Obama giddily prom­ises his cronies and syco­phants that “the best is yet to come,” small-busi­ness own­ers are fight­ing for their lives. Where’s their “fair share”?

flags from Fitch Rat­ings about Abound’s sub­stan­dard tech­nol­ogy and fail­ures to meet ba­sic ef­fi­ciency tar­gets.

Abound bor­rowed $70 mil­lion against its $400 mil­lion Obama DOE loan guar­an­tee; tax­pay­ers will lose up to $60 mil­lion on the loan af­ter the bank­ruptcy pro­ceed­ings are com­plete.

Nearly 125 Abound So­lar em­ploy­ees lost their jobs. Screwed-over com­pa­nies like CDG that did busi­ness with ing “low per­for­mance,” “un­der per­for­mance” and “cat­a­strophic fail­ures.” Credit and tech­ni­cal ad­vis­ers at DOE com­plained about hav­ing “ma­jor is­sues” with the Abound So­lar deal and ex­pressed con­cern over the “trans­ac­tion pres­sure un­der which we are all now oper­at­ing.”

The doc­u­ments fly in the face of Obama’s de­nial — just days be­fore Elec­tion Day — that his White House played any role in this fis­cal dis­as­ter.

The in­ves­tiga­tive work of Colorado’s Todd Shep­herd at Com­pleteColorado.com, Amy Oliver at the In­de­pen­dence In­sti­tute and Michael San­doval now of the Her­itage Foun­da­tion ex­posed Abound’s crony ties to the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. Like Solyn­dra, Abound had a deep­pock­eted bundler with ties to the White House.

Pro­gres­sive ac­tivist and bil­lion­aire heiress Pat Stryker, a re­peat visi­tor to the Obama White House, owns an in­vest­ment firm that in­vested con­sid­er­ably in Abound and do­nated nearly $500 mil­lion to the Democrats be­tween 2008 and 2012.

Crim­i­nal and civil probes into Abound So­lar’s al­leged malfea­sance — there are re­ports that the firm know­ingly sold faulty goods — have been launched in both Colorado and on Capi­tol Hill. The stench of pay-for-play abounds. While Obama giddily prom­ises his cronies and syco­phants that “the best is yet to come,” smal­lbusi­ness own­ers are fight­ing for their lives. Where’s their “fair share”? Michelle Malkin is the au­thor of “Cul­ture of Cor­rup­tion: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Reg­n­ery 2010).

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