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Posts Tagged ‘SEC’

AEHI TAKES FIRST STEP BACK AS JUDGE UNFREEZES ASSETS CUT-OFF BY SEC 

Friday, February 4th, 2011

February 4, 2011
Nuclear Townhall

It may be a long time before a nuclear reactor rises in Idaho, but Alternate Energy Holdings took one small step back to undertaking the task yesterday when a federal judge unfroze assets locked-up in December by the Securities Exchange Commission.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge released the $7 million into AEHI’s treasury after considering SEC testimony that AEHI CEO Don Gillespie and vice president Jennifer Ransom had used the company assets as a personal piggy bank.

“SEC lawyer Mark Fickes . . . said they have looted the company of millions to finance a luxurious lifestyle, including jewelry purchases, a Maserati sports car and lavish trips to Asia, Colorado and Las Vegas,” reported Bloomberg News.

AEHI lawyer Richard Roth did not seem to dispute the raiding charges but concentrated on the point that AEHI has not violated securities law by promoting the idea that the small company can begin the process of building a nuclear reactor.

Part of the SEC case rested on the contention that AEHI had bamboozled the local populace and “pumped up” the stock by convincing them that the small start-up could build a reactor in the remote corner of Idaho. The judge accepted AEHI’s arguments.

The case against AEHI was originally incubated by the Snake River Alliance and other opposition groups that don’t want a reactor under any circumstances. Snake River openly bragged that it had drawn the SEC into the case when the federal crackdown occurred in December.

Newspaper stories highlighted the opposition groups’ arguments that it was absurd to think a small company such as AEHI could build a nuclear reactor. Gillespie countered, however, that his company would not be financing the reactor but would only do the preliminary regulatory and environmental work to the point where it applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license. At that juncture, he argued, a major nuclear builder such as Toshiba/Westinghouse or Korea Electric Power could jump into the project. Since getting regulatory approval constitutes a huge portion of building a new reactor, AEHI would have something to offer. Judge Lodge accepted this point.

"We’re very, very pleased with the result [of the decision]," AEHI attorney Roth told The Associated Press. "We have a company that can continue. Banks and brokerages can be notified that the company is back in business.

Read more about it at Bloomberg

NUSCALE TO SCALE BACK OPERATIONS IN FACE OF UNCERTAINTY REGARDING PRINCIPAL INVESTOR

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Official Press Release Follows:

20 January 2011

 
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bruce Landrey
NuScale Power, Inc.
503.715.7900
 
Investment Firm’s Issues Stall NuScale Power’s Progress
 
Corvallis, OR – A Securities & Exchange Commission civil action against affiliates of the Michael Kenwood Group, NuScale Power, Inc.’s principal investor, has prevented the firm from meeting fund obligations to NuScale and has forced NuScale to reduce its spending.
 
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of these proceedings, NuScale is stopping work on contract activities and taking other precautionary actions pending decisions by the Court hearing the complaint.
 
The SEC has not made any allegations of improper activities by NuScale, and NuScale is not a party in the SEC action.
 
NuScale Power is developing an inherently safe, modular, scalable light water reactor technology for use in nuclear power plants. Its standard design is for a power plant that can produce up to 540 megawatts of electricity using 12 NuScale reactor modules. The technology is being widely-embraced by industry and the US Department of Energy. The company currently has operations in Corvallis and Portland, OR, and Richland WA.
 
“NuScale has made phenomenal progress and achieved tremendous momentum,” said Paul Lorenzini, PhD, president and chief executive officer. “The company has assembled the best talent in the industry and our people have made unbelievable progress developing the technology and working with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to secure Federal approval for the design,” he said.
 
Lorenzini said that since NuScale’s formation in 2007, it has met or exceeded every milestone. “It is tragic that we have been forced to suspend operations and it is a tremendous setback for efforts to bring clean energy systems to the market,” he added.
 
Lorenzini said NuScale is pursuing alternative financing strategies and hopes the company can resume operations as soon as possible. NuScale has raised approximately $35 million in venture capital to date.
 
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AEHI COUNTER-ATTACKS SEC FRAUD ALLEGATIONS

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

January 15, 2011

Nuclear Townhall
 
Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (AEHI) has filed "voluminous papers" in opposition to a U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC) motion to freeze assets according to its attorney, Richard A. Roth, with the New York City-based Roth Law Firm, PLLC.
 
In a December 16, 2010, filing the SEC charged the company with "fraudulently raising funds for a $10 billion nuclear power project" while asking for an emergency order freezing the assets of the company and two executives, including Founder and Chief Executive Officer Donald L. Gillispie.
 
In a 46-page affidavit response from Gillispie, the defendent categorizes the "six (6) bases of wrongdoing" alleged by the government as "false."
 
Gillispie says the SEC’s "broad, consulsory, allegations of market manipulation are incorrect and wholly ignores all other possible explanations for AEHI’s sharp increase in stock price…" 
 
Gillispie also offers explanations for an alleged false statement that "AEHI’s nuclear power plant project is fully funded" — calling the Private Placement Memorandum cited by the SEC "an altered document that was not prepared or disseminated" by the company.  
 
In a rebuttal to charges that the defendants "promoted AEHI despite its weak financial conditions," Gillispie says the company "was engaged in a legitimate good faith effort to raise necessary capital for the company." 
 
Gillispie admits that "due to the complexities of building a nuclear power plant, however, things have not gone entirely to plan."
 
AEHI was incorporated in 2001 and began public trading in 2006 through a reverse merger. 
 
 

ANTI-NUCLEAR ACTIVISTS DISCOVER NEW TACTIC – CALL IN THE SEC

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Nuclear Townhall
December 16, 2010
From the Editors

 

Anti-nuclear groups have discovered a new way to block the development of new nuclear reactors – call in the Securities Exchange Commission.
 
This week the SEC suspended trading of Alternate Energy Holding Corporation (AEHI) after the Snake River Alliance orchestrated a campaign to block the company’s plans to build a nuclear reactor in rural Idaho.
 
In announcing the investigation, the SEC raised concerns about AEHI’s ability to fund construction of a $5 billion reactor plus compensations made to “certain AEHI officers.”  "The commission cautions brokers, dealers, shareholders, and prospective purchasers that they should carefully consider the foregoing information along with all other currently available information and any information subsequently issued by the company," the SEC warned.
 
The probe comes at a crucial point when AEHI appearing to be making substantial progress with its admittedly ambitious plans. This week the Payette County zoning commission voted 10-to-1 to rezone AEHI’s property to accommodate a reactor. Don Gillispie, the Navy veteran who is CEO of AEHI, called the decision “monumental” and said it was “the first decision of its kind regarding a western US Greenfield nuclear site in 33 years and the first rezone ever of a Greenfield site for an independent company.”  “We haven’t had any complaints from investors,” he added.
 
Instead, according to Sun Valley Online, the entire SEC investigation has been prompted by complaints from Snake River Alliance, which has opposed the project from day one. “The Alliance and legions of concerned Idahoans have been urging state and federal securities investigators for more than two years to examine the behavior and financial practices of AEHI,” Liz Woodruff, policy analyst for the Alliance told Sun Valley Online. “This is a company that has been misinforming Idaho investors, county officials, and others almost since arriving in Idaho four years ago today. AEHI President and CEO Don Gillispie has tried to explain away the reasons for his company’s failure to attract legitimate investors and to move this project forward, but he cannot explain away an SEC investigation. It is unfathomable that AEHI can now attract any investors with an SEC cloud over its head.”
 
“Woodruff, who has worked with local residents in Elmore and Payette County, . . called on Payette County officials to immediately halt their consideration of AEHI’s rezoning application, which just last week received a favorable 10-1 recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Commission to the County Commission for consideration,” the Sun Valley Online report continued. “Woodruff said. `For Payette County, it’s better late than never.’”
 
What is obviously shaping up, then, is the usual situation where the broad community supports a project but a highly dedicated band of activists with better access to the media and government agencies is able to neutralize popular sentiment. The pattern is seen over and over with reactors, where local support often approaches 90 percent but small, vocal activist groups are able to convince the media that there is widespread opposition. Press reports routinely declare that “NIMBY” opposition is what is holding up nuclear progress but the opposite is true. People who are most affected by reactors are usually most in favor of them.
 
The SEC may also discover that AEHI’s ambitions are not as impractical as they might seem. Gillispie has no illusions that he will be able to raise $5 billion to build a reactor but says AEHI plans to do all the preliminary work leading to a license application before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and then hand the project over to an established company. Many start-up ventures work this way. Since France, Korea and Japan are all offering funding and loan guarantees to support their domestic nuclear industries, the prospect that one of them might pick up the Idaho project is not all that unlikely.
 
In addition, although the reactor project serves as AEHI’s shop window, the company has several other potential sources of revenue. AEHI just completed its first full-scale model of an Energy Neutral Home and is planning to franchise their construction. Its Green Water World subsidiary also has an agreement with a Chinese company to market reactors for desalinization of water in the developing world.
 
Nuclear critics always argue that nuclear technology is completely impractical and is only being forced on the country by some gigantic “nuclear industry.”  (The fact that such an industry no longer exists in the United States usually escapes them.)  AEHI represents the complete opposite – a small, entrepreneurial venture working from the ground up in an attempt to realize nuclear energy’s enormous untapped potential. It’s nice to know the anti-nukes are opposed to that business model as well.
 
AEHI will have until December 28 to respond to the charges.


Read more about it at World Nuclear News