Disgrace: Solyndra Execs Awarded Themselves Huge Bonuses as Company Crumbled

Posted: Nov 04, 2011 11:20 AM

Behold, the wonders of venture socialism.  Has anyone alerted the Occupy Wall Street crowd over this?  This story should be a perfect storm for generating occupy anger -- the rich got richer thanks to sweetheart hook-ups from their powerful cronies -- all at taxpayers' expense, and despite multiple warnings that the expenditures were reckless in the first place.  And rank-and-file employees got the shaft.  Why, it almost makes me want to light a car on fireAlmost:

Senior executives at Solyndra collected hefty bonuses -- ranging from $37,000 to $60,000 apiece -- as the Fremont company bled cash and careened toward bankruptcy this summer. Bankruptcy documents filed in Delaware earlier this week reveal that more than a dozen senior executives at the defunct solar manufacturing company were awarded sizable quarterly bonuses April 15 and again July 8. Solyndra ceased operations in late August and filed for bankruptcy Sept. 6. About 1,100 employees were laid off without severance pay.

The bonuses, awarded to more than a dozen executives, came on top of what were already highly competitive salaries. Karen Alter, Solyndra's vice president of marketing, had an annual base salary of $275,000; she was awarded a $55,000 bonus in April and again in July. Ben Bierman, Solyndra's executive vice president of operations and engineering, had an annual base salary of $300,000; he was awarded $60,000 in April and again in July. Will Stover, the company's chief financial officer, was also awarded a $60,000 bonus in April and again in July. Details of the bonuses come as Solyndra attempts to auction off the manufacturing equipment that remains in the idled Fremont factory.

The kicker is that 'green energy' cash is still flying out the federal door, even as the Energy Department's Inspector General has opened up more than 100 criminal investigations into the way the DOE spent stimulus money.  As you read this excerpt, keep in mind that the Obama administration is currently pushing a second stimulus package:

The Energy Department's inspector general has launched more than 100 criminal investigations related to 2009 economic stimulus spending.  In written testimony prepared for delivery to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today, Inspector General Gregory Friedman said the investigations have involved "various schemes, including the submission of false information, claims for unallowable or unauthorized expenses, and other improper uses of Recovery Act funds."

Mr. Friedman had better hope he doesn't get Walpin'd as he carries out his duties.  (For a chortle, check out this little flashback).  Things could get interesting when those subpeonas start landing at the White House, and when Energy Secretary Steven Chu appears before a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee later this month.  I'll leave you with this solid spot from Americans For Prosperity, which offers a compact, one-minute primer for those unfamiliar with the Solyndra debacle.  I hope this is airing in swing states: