Green-energy company headed by Pitt grad subject of class-action lawsuits by investors
Lawyers are lining up to pick over assets that might be left from the threatened bankruptcy of ECOtality Inc., the latest federally backed, “green” energy company to apparently falter.
Two federal class-action suits have been filed against the San Francisco-based company, which made plug-in stations for electric vehicles until it reportedly laid off its employees last week. Another law firm says it has filed a suit, and others are threatening.
ECOtality's CEO, H. Ravi Brar, is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh's Katz School of Business.
Brar could not be reached. Representatives from the company and the lawsuit plaintiffs did not return messages from the Tribune-Review.
ECOtality received about $100 million in federal stimulus grants from the Department of Energy. If the company goes bankrupt, it would join Solyndra and Abound Solar as failures of the DOE green energy program.
The government maintains that the losses are a small part of its total green energy effort, and it says that at 1 percent to 2 percent, they are lower than the failure rate for many start-ups.
Critics say the failures demonstrate the folly of government trying to steer national energy policy.
The class-action suits claim the company misstated its financial position this year when it touted that “our strong financial performance for the year reflects the health of the company and our continued execution upon our business model.”
That and other statements caused the stock to jump as high as $2.40, according to a plaintiff's attorney.
But on Aug. 8, the company reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission that its accounts were empty and the Energy Department said “it was suspending payments to the company.”
The company told the SEC it is searching for “restructuring or sale of the entire business and/or assets.” Failing that, “the company may need to file a petition commencing a case under the United States Bankruptcy Code.”
With that, the stock price plunged. It traded on NASDAQ on Tuesday afternoon at 17 cents a share.
DOE spokesman Bill Gibbons earlier told the Trib that by the time of the SEC filing, ECOtality had “installed more than 12,500 charging stations in 18 United States cities — or approximately 97 percent of their goal.”
Lou Kilzer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Operating loss widens at Highmark parent
- Pennsylvania grid operator might delay power auction for new rules
- Summer blend to boost gasoline prices over next month
- Consol Energy files for IPO of coal spin-off
- Anchor Hocking parent EveryWare files for Chapter 11
- Stocks of Pittsburgh-area companies set record in March
- 6-year stock market rally still going strong, bulls say
- American Eagle Outfitters to add stores in Chile, Peru
- Pa. Gas & Electric agrees to $6.8 million settlement of polar vortex claims
- Conventional gas, oil drillers seek rules differing from shale industry in Pennsylvania
- Pittsburgh region’s unemployment rate stays steady