Eyes are on Fisker Automotive as the threat of its bankruptcy looms, financial obligations are not met, and no buyer or bailout is in sight.
The company missed its deadline yesterday to pay its first installment on around $193 million in low-interest federal loans, and today several principal executives are scheduled to stand before a House subcommittee inquiry titled, “Green Energy Oversight: Examining the Department of Energy’s Bad Bet on Fisker Automotive.”
With its back against the wall, having dismissed three quarters of its employees including its communications department, Fisker executives holding down the fort are saying nothing through a subcontracted PR firm, nor are they answering direct reporter inquiries.
Recent reports have been made stating that the Energy Department seized $21 million from Fisker as it seeks to recover lost taxpayer money.
The chronology of this taking of all the cash Fisker was reported to have had on hand has been murky in some reports, and it was presented by some as sounding like the swift action followed after the missed deadline yesterday.
According to Bloomberg however, the money recovery took place almost two weeks ago on April 11. Citing an Energy Department spokesperson, Aoife McCarthy, Bloomberg said the money came from Fisker’s “reserve account” that was not part of the loan amount.
Henrik Fisker has already said the downward spiral of the company he named after himself several years ago, and quit over a month ago, was due to a confluence of unfortunate events.
Today before the subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, expected to speak are Henrik Fisker, CEO Tony Posawatz, and COO Bernhard Koehler.
Some are calling the inquiry political theater. Others are saying the day of reckoning is long-since overdue.
The New York Times cited Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who asked what the Obama administration officials were thinking when they rushed to back Fisker’s green dream.
“How did the Energy Department determine Fisker’s potential before writing a check?” asked Grassley. “Was there due diligence, or instead a blind hope that Fisker would produce something useful?”
Energy Department spokesperson McCarthy said risk is always involved, and what’s happening with Fisker should not be seen as an indictment on the Obama administration’s record.
Billions of dollars in other green energy loans have not resulted in disaster, she said, including for Ford, Nissan, and even Tesla appears to be making good.
But concerned officials are holding Fisker to account, and today we shall see what more might come to light as Fisker’s remaining executives fight to sustain the once-bright-looking company dedicated to sustainability.