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POLITICS

Taxpayers to recover only $24 million from Solyndra

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins

In a little-noticed move, Solyndra LLC officially released it bankruptcy plan this week. The official word from it is that taxpayers will recover only $24 million of the about $527 million that the failed solar panel company drew from its $535 million federal loan guarantee, according to a report from Dow Jones newswire:

Documents filed Friday evening in a Delaware bankruptcy court say private equity firms, including one whose chief has ties to the Obama administration, will get back at least half of the $70 million they put into Solyndra early last year as the company battled for survival.

US taxpayers, on the other hand, won’t be so lucky:

Court papers estimate that one piece of the U.S. loan, nearly $143 million, could go unpaid, or it could receive as much as a 17% recovery. A second piece, $385 million, is in for a recovery of “$0 plus, depending on outcome of liquidation efforts,” court papers say.

The main private equity firm here is Argonaut Ventures. This company was put ahead of US taxpayers in recovering funds in the event of a bankruptcy in direct violation of standard Energy Department policy, a fact that administration officials subsequently scrambled to justify.

Argonaut is the investment arm of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Despite being called a foundation, GKFF is not a nonprofit in the conventional understanding of the term, but an exotic variation that allows the wealthy to park their assets tax-free. The foundation’s namesake is a major fundraiser of President Obama’s. He was often a guest in the White House and even discussed Solyndra with officials there.

But, hey, the administration insists that everything there was “merit-based” so I guess its ok then.

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