Breitbart – The Angus King Federal Bailout
September 17, 2012
“Add former Maine Governor and current Independent candidate for Senate Angus King to the long list of Obama administration cronies who have personally made money off the $800 billion Obama Stimulus program. King’s personal bailout came in the form of a $407,000 “success fee” he received in 2011 from a wind energy project that remains in business today only because it received a $102 million federal loan King played a major role in securing.”
Maine Wire – King Wind Project Cited by Congressional Investigation
March 21, 2012
“Report refers to project as part of a pattern of “dysfunction, negligence and mismanagement”…
Just a day after Angus King announced he was divesting his stake in his wind energy company, a Congressional Oversight Committee has called into question the basis for a $102 million loan guarantee granted to King’s Record Hill Wind project.
The U.S House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform yesterday released an extensive report on questionable funding for projects authorized through the U.S. Department of Energy. The report, titled “The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs”, reveals that the Record Hill project received a loan guarantee based on “questionable reasoning” by King’s company.”
Portland Press Herald – Angus King defends his wind career
September 15, 2012
“Republicans have intensified their criticism of King as the developer of a taxpayer-subsidized wind farm. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee is spending $600,000 to broadcast a new television ad saying King used political connections to win a “sketchy” federal loan guarantee and build an industrial wind farm.
King and his former business partner dismissed the Republican attacks as baseless in interviews last week.”
Windpower Monthly – Solyndra bankruptcy scandal spills over into wind projects
May 1, 2012
“Scrutiny of Record Hill comes on at least two fronts – including whether the project actually needed a loan. According to Dutson, the committee’s report found that Record Hill maintained a bank account showing more than $127 million in private funding before the guarantee was negotiated. “It was an unnecessary transfer of risk from private capital to taxpayers,” Dutson said.
But Gardiner, president of Independence Wind, a Record Hill partner, said the money was never intended to finance the project – it was required to secure permitting from Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection. “We simply had our major investor put it in the bank account to prove we had the ability to raise the money,” Gardiner said. “It wasn’t a commitment of financing – it belonged to the investor.”
Gardiner added that the committee never inquired about the money. “If they had asked, we could have explained it to them very easily,” he said. “But they didn’t seem to want to know the answers – they seemed to want to make the accusations.”
The investigation further centres on whether technology used for Record Hill is “innovative” – a requirement of the programme. The project uses 2.3MW Siemens turbines and control software that maximises their output. Although the software has been tried in other countries, Record Hill is the first project to employ it in the US. “The committee found it wasn’t innovative,” Dutson said. “And the DoE shouldn’t have given them a loan.””
THE KING WIND SAGA: WHEN RECORD HILL HIT CAPITOL HILL
“Steve Thurston, an opponent of wind power, sparred with the state over Record Hill back in 2011.
On Sept. 27, 2011, Thurston wrote to Assistant Attorney General Peggy Bensinger, who represented the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, challenging the way Record Hill was permitted.
“The draft permit contained the standard condition that financial capacity must be demonstrated prior to construction,” Thurston wrote. “In the final permit, issued 5 days later, the word ‘construction’ was replaced with ‘operation.’ … In my opinion RHW (Record Hill Wind) played a ‘moving shell game’ with DEP, and never had anything under any of the shells until it obtained the DOE loan guarantee. Why this circumvention of the law occurred remains an unanswered question today. Would the DEP make this same ‘mistake’ if the applicant had been other than Angus King and Robert Gardiner? Did Angus King and Robert Gardiner believe they were entitled to different treatment than the law required?””
1. First Wind $13,300 in campaign contributions to Angus King (King’s 12th largest donor)
2. “Governor John Baldacci’s PUC Chair Kurt Adams takes over $1 million in stock options from First Wind while still at the PUC and after interviewing at First Wind for months according to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting. He then jumps to First Wind to become their director of transmission. This as the PUC prepares to gift the wind industry with the $1.4 billion CMP upgrade – a ratepayer financed shipping system for the wind industry.”
3. “Chellie Pingree is [was] married to S. Donald Sussman, [now former] largest media owner in Maine. It turns out we learn that all along,
he had been the person who gave First Wind’s longtime owner, hedge fund D.E. Shaw its start with a $28 million stake.” In addition, the same source indicates that “Angus King gets a $102 million DOE loan guarantee enabling his project to go forward; Congresswoman Chellie Pingree writes a letter recommending they give him the loan guarantee.”
4. Angus King Query “It appears that at least two persons involved with SunEdison (which acquired First Wind) were with Kenetech, a wind company that set aside $300,000 in “mitigation” for so called Maine environmental groups in the 1990’s. The two persons are Michael U. Alvarez, SVP Global Operations of SunEdison and Mark Lerdal, Independent Director of TerraForm Power, a SunEdison affiliate.
Apparently both of these fellows worked for Kenetech. Appearing below (in a blue font) is an excerpt from a 9/1/95 article references the “mitigation” money set aside by Kenetech in Maine some 20 years ago and how then Governor King may have interfered on behalf of Kenetech.”
March 15, 2010
1. Ongoing discussions with both AG’s offices
“Ex-PUC head enriched by wind company”
Alex blog post note: I am not anti-windpower, I am only anti conflict of interest.
And of course I would be against any corruption as well.
Also, why are Maine’s top political figures acting as followers, if not enablers, rather than leaders, in regard to protecting Maine’s integrity (just for starters).
Let me know what you think.
Note: Below does not contain final few edits (grammar, punctuation, etc.) of letter mailed to AG Andrew Cuomo.
23rd February 2010
Hammer For Governor
P.O. Box 2113
Bangor, ME 04402
(207) 945 5240
Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
Albany, NY 12224-0341
Dear Attorney General Cuomo,
The subject of this letter is a concern we have that there is a lack of transparency and disclosure of financial interests between elected officials and others in Maine and the wind energy company First Wind from Newton, Massachusetts. We are aware that your office requested wind energy companies sign an ethical code of conduct governing the development of wind energy in New York State.
On Friday April 11th, 2008, the Maine legislature by a unanimous vote of 139-0 in the House and 34-0 in the Senate, voted for final enactment of “An Act to Implement Recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power Development” (LD2283).
The bill called for developing at least 2,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power in Maine by 2015 and at least 3,000 MW by 2020. http://www.nrcm.org/news_detail.asp?news=2331
Sec. A-2. 35-A MRSA §3402, sub-§2 of the bill modified the regulatory process for siting wind energy projects to expedite them in de-organized and unorganized territories and, at the same time, recognized that adverse environmental and ecological effects might be present and should be taken into account before permitting a project. In addition, the bill stated that the development of wind energy resources in Maine should ensure that significant tangible benefits accrue to the people of Maine, including, but not limited to, the residents of communities that host wind energy projects.
To date, First Wind has received permission for four projects in the Northern part of the State of Maine: Mars Hill, Stetson 1 and 2 near Danforth, and Oakfield. There are many more sites planned by First Wind and other developers. Contrary to what officials from First Wind claim none of the projects have gained the full support of the people in these communities nor have they involved transparent processes of public involvement in permitting.
Mars Hills residents videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp31TWPC5tc Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpFLsNiXE0g Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBPHKWR-wTM Part 3
In fact, citizens have, and are now organizing, and become vocal in opposition to the development of Wind Energy in the State, forming groups, holding press conferences, protesting, writing op-eds in newspapers, drawing up local ordinances, going to court,
and using the internet, radio and blogs to make their opposition to the development of wind energy in Maine known.
A call for a moratorium on the development of wind energy by a grassroots organization, the Citizens Task Force on Wind Power, was made on Feb 19th 2010 at the Hall of Flags, Augusta, Maine.
The Citizens Task Force has been involved in a number of initiatives aimed at fighting Industrial Wind in Maine attempting to persuade the legislature to introduce legislation to protect both the environment from degradation and the health of residents from the noise effects of wind turbines when located close to homes.
I, Hampden Mitchell, write this letter concerning a conflict of interest that has not surfaced before in the public domain. The Portland Press Herald recently ran a story by Tux Turkel that touched on the issue.
This was followed by an article by another candidate for Governor, Lynne Williams Esq.
Late last year Ira Stoll on his blog summarized some important background:
A case of Conflict of Interest in Wind Energy in Maine
I, Hampden Mitchell, have recently discovered that my elected representative, Everret Mcleod of Lee and his wife, who were on the guest list at the private opening of the Stetson 1 wind project by Maine Governor Baldacci near Danforth, Maine, shortly after this opening, signed a lease agreement with First Wind energy on a parcel of land he owns with an option for placement of wind turbines on his land. This agreement was made on 12/05/08. The information is publicly available in the Penobscot register of deeds.
See attachment for outline information with book pages and dates of contracts.
Please note also that Mr Everett Mcleod is a member of the State of Maine’s Government Oversight Committee. http://www.maine.gov/legis/opega/About_GOC.html
Shortly after this land lease agreement was signed, Mr Everett McLeod and his wife took out a series of mortgages with HSH Nordbank [Details again in the Penobscot registry of Deeds], a German tax payer bailed out bank, that capitalized First Wind Energy company. http://cleantech.com/news/4738/first-wind-brings-191m-financing
This appears to be similar to the type of behavior that encouraged you to investigate and draw up a Code of Conduct for Wind development in New York State and to consequently subpoena the same company First Wind.
I have been unable to persuade Attorney General Janet Mills in Maine to introduce a code of conduct for wind energy. When Stetson 1 was opened by Governor Baldacci, in unorganized territory, just outside the organized territory of Danforth in which I live, I went with my wife to what I thought was an open celebration of the project. We were refused entry by a wind company employee because we were not on the guest list. Danforth, Maine, a small remote village, has a population of around 620, many who would have been unable to celebrate this opening because they were at work. My wife and I were surprised that the opening of the project was by invitation and not open to the public.
Subsequently, I filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request with the Governors office for the guest list of the event and was told by Karla Black, Assistant Legal Advisor to the Governor, that I would have to go to First Wind to find out who was on the list. That was when I did some research on the Internet about First Wind and found out that your office had drawn up a code of conduct for wind energy companies in New York State and that there had been many complaints from citizens about the behavior of employees of First Wind, even some involving intimidation. Obviously, I was not going to single my wife and I out for retribution so I contacted the Attorney General Janet Mills’ office in Maine to find out why there was not a code of conduct governing wind companies in Maine. I was told to ask the relevant regulatory departments in Maine who replied that they certainly didn’t expect Wind company officials to behave poorly but that there were no plans for a particular code of conduct governing wind. The Attorney Generals office did not reply to an e-mail I sent a few days later asking again if they were going to help me.
Some time later I engaged Representative James R. Martin of Bangor who was sympathetic to New York State’s code of conduct to contact Maine Attorney General’s office on my behalf. I was informed by Assistant Attorney General Jerry Reid that as my complaint was the only one that they received they did not feel it was necessary to do anything but that they would monitor the situation. I was also informed that there were already laws on the Maine statute that covered conflicts of interest by elected officials. Green Gubernatorial candidate, Lynne Williams, has since said to me that she complained both before and after my contact with the Attorney General’s Office about the behavior of First Wind.
Wind turbines for Stetson 2, close to Stetson 1, another project in the same unorganized territory, also just a few miles from Danforth, were on site before the project was permitted and there were no public meetings, that I am aware of, held about this project. Again a private guest list was drawn up for the “celebratory” opening, the list made up of invited supporters and residents of the area, some of whom I suspect have and will be gaining from the companies largess. Curious, I went to the entrance of the project again and was joined by other residents who were also upset with the behavior of this company.
Senator Kevin Raye, minority leader, was present that day and entertained, with wind officials and the Press, by the owners of Settlers lodge a business that provides accommodation and guide services in the area.
Mr and Mrs Eldridge Cleaves, of the lodge, supported both projects providing the media with stories of how good the projects were. Mrs Cleaves stated to the press that she didn’t know why the protesters outside the gate were unhappy because from the million dollar view where her lodge is located, about 6 miles away, the wind turbines looked wonderful.
I am not certain who will eventually receive funds from a grant that was made to The Forest service by First Wind but Mr Eldridge Cleaves who is the President of The Woodie Wheaton Trust
praised First Wind for helping the area out in a press release put out by First Wind:
“I am pleased by the opportunities offered by this Fund. The people of Washington County and in particular those who live within the confines of the Baskahegan River Watershed value the outdoors as an essential part of their daily lives,” said Elbridge Cleaves, an area resident and business owner. “People who live here know how important our woods and waters are to our quality of life and economic well being.”
I filed two more Freedom of Information requests to the Governors office. One for all communication between the Governor and First Wind’s CEO Paul Gaynor on the subject of Stetson 1 of which I received three documents. Only one document contained information that I considered interesting.
A sentence in a January 17th 2008 letter from CEO Gaynor to the Governor stood out:
“Your administration has shown the leadership necessary to create the kind of regulatory certainty that will attract investment”
I explained to Maine’s Attorney general’s office that I had thought that regulations were intended to protect citizens rather than the companies. First Wind received $40.4 million in stimulus from the Department of Energy. Is this the investment Mr Gaynor was referring to?
My second Freedom of Information request was for all communication between Kurt Adams, development officer at First Wind, and Governor Baldacci, since Adams started working for First Wind after leaving the Maine Public Utilities Commission (Prior to that Adams was Legal advisor to Governor Baldacci). The request turned up no documentation at all. I have to trust that Karla Black who is Governor Baldacci’s legal advisor and carried out the search for the communication between the Governor and his ex legal advisor is doing her job, but it does seem odd that she is also on The Right to Know committee in Maine and my request turned up absolutely no communication between someone who had been so close to the Governor and presumably still is.
Regardless of whether a citizen supports Industrial wind energy or not as a form of power, citizens demand, and have been promised, transparency in the dealings of their elected officials. It seems we are not getting that here. It also seems evident that those friendly with the wind companies, elected officials and select citizens, gain financially from the wind companies largess whilst those that question and criticize, as is their right in a democracy, are marginalized with little course of redress. When so much public money is at stake, First Wind received stimulus monies of $40.4 million for Stetson 2, and prior to that was receiving Tax Increment Financing and also presumably receives carbon credits, must not the justice system ensure there is fair play by elected officials?
It is our belief that Rep Mcleod is just the tip of an iceberg in Maine and we have other instances that may be examined in regard to potential conflicts of interest. We are prepared to go into these in detail with you or assistants in your office. As Rep Mcleod is a member of the Maine legislature with direct involvement in wind power legislation and also on the Government Oversight Committee we find this example most disturbing.
Mr. Hampden L Mitchell
Attachment: Outline details record of Everret Mcleod entries in Penobscot Registry of Deeds.
c.c Maine Attorney General Janet Mills
c.c Congressman Eric Massa (D) New York State