* Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 6
* Executives' silence necessitates trustee - DOJ filing
(Adds material on Stirling bankruptcy, byline)
By Dan Levine
Sept 30 The U.S. Department of Justice is
seeking to give control of Solyndra's estate to a bankruptcy
trustee, citing the refusal by executives at the solar power
company to answer questions about its operations.
Just days after the company's Sept. 6 bankruptcy filing,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Solyndra's
headquarters in Fremont, California. And Congress is
investigating the role political connections played in securing
a government loan guarantee for Solyndra, which was visited by
U.S. President Barack Obama last year.
Solyndra Chief Executive Brian Harrison and CFO W.G. Stover
refused to answer several questions about the company at a
Congressional hearing last week.
A Chapter 11 trustee is responsible for management of an
estate's property, operation of the business and possibly the
filing of a reorganization plan.
In a court filing on Friday, the Justice Department's
bankruptcy representative said it was not making any
allegations of wrongdoing.
Still, executives have a fiduciary duty to provide
information about the company's operations, it said. Executives
should reveal whether the company paid bonuses after management
realized the company's poor financial condition, it said, as
well as whether financial information submitted to creditors
"Transparency and disclosure are the linchpins of the
bankruptcy system," the DOJ filing said.
In addition to Harrison and Stover's appearance before
Congress, a Solyndra lawyer declined to provide information
about the extent and nature of Solyndra's contracts with
customers to the DOJ bankruptcy representative, the filing
A Solyndra representative, along with attorneys for
Harrison and Stover, could not immediately be reached for
comment on Friday.
Solyndra executives' assertion of their right to avoid
self-incrimination is "incompatible" with their duty to act in
the best interests of the estate and its creditors, the
department said in its filing.
As an alternative to the appointment of a Chapter 11
trustee, the Justice Department asked the Delaware bankruptcy
court to convert the Solyndra bankruptcy to a Chapter 7, or
Separately, Stirling Energy Systems filed for Chapter 7
liquidation last week, yet another in a string of solar
companies to seek bankruptcy protection.
The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company was working on
technology that concentrates the sun's rays onto an engine that
creates electricity. The technology was to run in two solar
plants under development from Tessera Solar, a company that
shared a majority owner, NTR, with Stirling.
Tessera sold both those plants.
Stirling had assets in the $1 million-$10 million range and
liabilities in the $50 million-$100 million range, it said in
(Reporting by Dan Levine and Sarah McBride in San Francisco;
editing by Andre Grenon and Richard Chang)