The Hope-a-Nomics Disaster: One Company’s Horror Story

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 (one-third 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 this 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 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 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 experiencing “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 deep-pocketed 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,” small-business owners are fighting for their lives. Where’s their “fair share”?

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  • Mary Sue

    Inquiring minds want to know: with all these failed solar companies, where did all the mucking foney go?

    The existence of these companies (Solyndra, Abound Solar) appear to me, to be massively fraudulent entities. The whole substandard/easily breakable solar panel things that hardly produce a charge sounds to me like it's a purposeful sham designed to embezzle or even launder money. amirite?

    • cmdorsey

      Yup. You are RIGHT ON IT. Money laundering is what they did with our $timuloss. MO Claire McCaskill, who got bribes for voting for O'Nazi care, voted FOR the $timuloss and took $40 million, you know, small change, home with her that went into her husband's 500 subsidized housing companies! Oh, but Claire said that SHE didn't benefit from any of that money. Then I would imagine a good portion of it went right back into democrat campaign funds. If the young people don't stop putting the cart before the horse, meaning marriage, THEN babies, it's done. The self-righteous immoral, Godless, Lawless LEFT, the Woodstock generation of free drugs, free sex anywhere, anytime, are now teaching our children their sickening way of life. Shacking up, making babies and then say they just were too young to have babies, need to start taking responsibility for their actions. If they think they are so grown up to have sex, then they better be ready for the consequences. Condoms aren't the answer. What a dopey damn thing to teach kids. Get your free condoms, in elementary school. God almighty. But parents better wake the hell up and start parenting their own damn kids and WASHBRAINS after the BRAINWASH they get at school. Absolutely disgusting. When I talk like this to some young people, i get called out of touch. Ya, right. I'M the one out of touch.

      • PhillipGaley

        We used to have a thing by which we were connected—religion; and because in motivational energy we are spiritual / social creatures—that's the only thing which can connect us, man to his fellow man—this not to include Islam, which, by definitions as applied to actuality, is a criminal association, . . .

    • adamjw2

      I'll tell you exactly where the money went. These bureaucrats don't understand basic economics 101… There was a reason this company and Solyndra, etc couldn't get loans from private lenders… They were too risky for anyone to invest their own private capital into them. The private lenders likely saw their business models and lack of demand and knew they'd never get paid back if they lent them the money. But the government isn't lending private money- they're lending OUR taxpayer money, so they don't mind taking that risk. This is why the gov't should never be involved in giving loans or grants. The private system will always invest more wisely.

      • adamjw2

        So to answer the question- the money went to the paychecks of the employees and to pay for materials to build equipment that nobody would buy.

      • "gunner"

        they're using the "underpants gnomes" business model, get big government loan + ? = profit.

      • mlcblog

        Those bureaucrats you refer to understand money enough to get our money into their respective pockets!!

    • http://www.adinakutnicki.com adinakutnicki

      NOT only are they entities without any hope, but they are funneling mechanisms for crony pals of leftist pols.
      And this is precisely what FORWARD entails – the deconstructon of the economy, via 'green economics' and other assorted financial schemes – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/19/shoring-up-ba

      What else can one expect when revolutionaries hold the reins of power <a href="http://-http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/07/when-authentic-revolutionaries-hold-the-reins-of-american-power-centers-via-the-most-radical-regime-in-u-s-history-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/” target=”_blank”>-http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/07/when-authentic-revolutionaries-hold-the-reins-of-american-power-centers-via-the-most-radical-regime-in-u-s-history-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

      Alas, the hoped for change via America's destruction/deconstruction- FORWARD march!

      Adina Kutnicki, Israel <a href="http:// -www.adinakutnicki.com” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://-www.adinakutnicki.com” target=”_blank”>-www.adinakutnicki.com

    • mlcblog

      Certain pockets.

  • Steve Chavez

    A LIBERAL UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR called our local radio talk show and said that his healthcare premiums went up by $300 per month. The radio host asked: "Did you vote for Obama and therefore, Obamacare?" The professor hung up but the next day, he called back and said that he and a group of professors were organizing a protest demanding a pay raise to offset the costs of Obamacare.

    "EYE" called into the station and said, "Well, they're sleeping in their own vomit!"

    • Mary Sue

      that professor got pwned! (or is that self-pwned?)

  • HiPlainsDrifter

    As long as obama and company own the public schools, the MSM, and the vote counting apparatus in the urban centers, these scams will continue unabated..
    We are living in the new America, with a bunch of Julias and Pablos, who have
    fallen for the democrat version of the Nigerian Prince scam.
    One that promises lots of goodies at no cost…an endless party in a fancy restaurant, where you get stuck
    with the bill, as Swahalli Slim slips out the back when no one is looking….

    • "gunner"

      that's an old scam, it used to be called "the spanish prisoner" before the nigerian lads picked it up. the democrats have raised it to new heights, conning a whole nation.

      • Boetica

        Didn't Steve Martin star in a film by that name? Great flick.

  • Raymond in DC

    "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."

    I pretty sure the correct figure is $500,000. That still puts them in the pay-to-play category, but there's no need to so exaggerate that one loses credibility.

  • Parenthetical Phrase

    We have become Russia under our own version of Putin. I don't look forward to the future but I don't feel sorry for the young people in college or who just graduated. They wanted this. Let's see how they're enjoying it in 10 years.

    • Boetica

      Unfortunately the rest of us have to suffer as well.

  • tannin

    Just BS.__The price for solar panels has dropped like a stone as the Chinese have been running their own factories at break even or below, competing with each other and exporting at any price they could get.__No one, a couple of years back when these investments were made, expected such an eventuality, and, as ever, the federal depts that should protect U.S. factories from Chinese dumping, took far too long before making any moves, This sort of molasses like action from the federal govt has nothing to do with politics, or presidents, but is a function of a huge civil service structure, arcane and complex rules and civil servants who are reluctant to risk their ass for anything.
    The actual problem written about, the problem the storage company has, would be the same regardless of where the financing came from for the solar panel company.

    • mlcblog

      Interesting concept.

  • pyeatte

    They ought to load up all those pallets in large trucks, drive them to the nearest DOE office and dump them in the parking lot. It would be better in DC but for the distance. Our government is so corrupt it is sickening. Every senior Federal employee should be fired in mass and start all over.

  • Fritz

    If I were this company I would arrange a "mystery" break in where all of the panels just disappeared one weekend while the security guards are just conveniently in the washroom, or otherwise indesposed. Then just as mysteriously the solar panels would end up on craigslist and kijiji at fire sale prices to recoup the storage costs, and if that doesn't work have them end up smashed in the bottom of a ravine or quarry. I hate to say it but in a corrupt system sometimes you have to play the fiddle to get by.
    What I don't understand is why these panels are not considered abandoned property? If the company went bankrupt, and storage was way past due, isn't possession 9/10s of the law anyhow? If you put something in a storage locker, and don't pay the storage fees, guess what happens?
    .