Just over a month ago, Bluestem posted in Beard, Lohmer & Kiffmeyer acumen pays off with investment in Bixby Energy Systems securities, a look at bad business gone south:
Beard's defense of free enterprise made us curious just how good he is at it.
When Bluestem looked at Beard's Economic Interest Statement on file with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, we discovered that Beard owns a company, Beard Aircraft, and hold securities in it--and Bixby Energy Systems, a private corporation involved in the development of "clean coal" technology.
The latter firm has been making headlines of late that underscore Beard's judgment. In December, 2011, the U.S. Attorney General's office noted in Bixby Energy Systems Admits Responsibility for Securities Fraud Committed by its Officers and Agents . . .
Reps. Kathy Lohmer and Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big ALEC) also sunk money into this GOP turkey farm; former Congressman Gil Gutknecht was on the board, and served as something of a knight in shining armor when the fraud was exposed.
He'd hoped to save the firm, but he's walking away, Star Tribune business columnist Neil St. Anthony reported Saturday in Bixby Energy now running on fumes. The deets:
In a recent letter to the privately held company's investors, former board chairman Gil Gutknecht and other board members said legal, technical and financial problems make it difficult to continue, though some shareholders plan to try.
Gutknecht, a former congressman and Bixby investor who stepped in to lead the company during its securities-fraud crisis last year, has resigned from the board, as have Jim Bergeron and Dave Merhar. The company's four paid employees were laid off in February, the letter said.
Though the company has customers for its coal-to-gas technology in China, engineers have struggled for months to get the first units working. . . .
. . .Meanwhile, two men who fraudulently solicited Bixby investors await sentencing in federal court, and the company's founder and former CEO, Bob Walker, awaits trial on charges he fraudulently raised $43 million from 1,800 Bixby investors. Prosecutors say the investors are "left with nothing."
Photo: Former First District Congressman Gilknecht served from 1995-2006, when he was defeated in an upset by Congressman Tim Walz. He's campaigning that year in this photo lifted from a 2006 Daily Kos diary.