Last week, Attorney General Mike DeWine reached a settlement with Willard and Kelsey Solar Group in a move that cleans up a mess left by Ted Strickland’s tenure as governor.
In 2009 and 2010, the Strickland administration loaned millions in taxpayer funds to the company, who promised it would create 400 jobs.
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—The Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA), the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA), and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office today announced that the three agencies have reached a $6.5 million settlement with a Perrysburg manufacturing company for unpaid loans. The settlement and payment to the state resolve collections actions against Willard & Kelsey Solar Group for loans owed to DSA and OAQDA.
“Because these types of debts are historically very difficult to recover, this $6.5 million payment is a significant recovery of taxpayer funds,” said Attorney General DeWine.
“This is a win for taxpayers,” said David Goodman, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “These loans were given before the current system of monitoring and in those days, too often, when a company went under, taxpayers were left holding an empty bag.”
WK owed Ohio taxpayers a total of $11.5 million.
How many people were actually employed? About 50 at its high mark, according to the Toledo Blade. In 2012, almost all of them were laid off.
As we reported that same year, the Strickland administration knew Willard Kelsey was in deep trouble. But they loaned them another $10 million in state money anyway.
Maybe that’s because of all the contributions Ted Strickland received from Willard Kelsey executives.
- Jim Appold – President of Willard & Kelsey: gave $2,400 to Ted Strickland on 8/23/10.
- Michael Cicak – CEO of Willard & Kelsey: gave $5,000 to Strickland on 4/3/10.
- His wife Dolores gave $1,000 more on 8/23/10.
- Maurice “Mossie” Murphy – CFO of Willard & Kelsey: gave $5,000 to Strickland on 4/13/10 listing his home address as Perrysburg and gave another $2,400 to Strickland on 8/23/10 listing his Pittsburgh, PA address.
- Gary FayKosh – COO of Willard & Kelsey: gave $1,000 to Strickland on 8/23/10.
WK executives used some of the state money to pay themselves millions.
Before Willard & Kelsey ever sold a solar panel, its executives began receiving frequent $30,000 to $40,000 payments from the firm, beginning in August, 2008. In all, the executives received about $3 million. And, from May through August, 2009, executives expensed more than $20,000 for spending that included tickets to the Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Steelers and airline tickets for family members.
That’s all on top of executive salaries that totaled about $2.2 million during the last five years.
Now Ted Strickland wants to bring his horrible record to the U.S. Senate. He’s the best candidate the depleted and demoralized Ohio Democratic Party could dig up to take on Rob Portman.
Ohio taxpayers would be wise to remember this and all the other failures Ohio endured under Ted Strickland.