The CEO of Solyndra, a California-based solar energy company that received a controversial $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration, has resigned.
In papers filed with a bankruptcy court Wednesday, Solyndra said that Brian Harrison had left his post on Friday, Oct. 7, "as contemplated even before these cases were commenced." Solyndra shut its doors and declared bankruptcy six weeks ago.
Solyndra filed the papers in a Delaware court in response to a motion by the Department of Justice to appoint a trustee to oversee the company's bankruptcy case. The Justice Department filed its motion after Harrison and Solyndra's CFO, W.G. Stover invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions from a Congressional committee probing the Solyndra loan during a Sept. 23 hearing. The company is also under investigation by the Justice Department, the Treasury Department and the Department of Energy's Inspector General.
The Obama administration had selected Solyndra as the first to receive a loan under an Energy Department program designed to provide government support to companies that would create jobs while generating energy from cleaner sources, such as solar, wind and nuclear. President Obama personally visited the Solyndra complex, hailing it as a leader in this emerging field.
In August, though, Solyndra abruptly shut its doors, laying off 1,100 workers. Within days, it had declared bankruptcy. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's investigative subcommittee has held two hearings intending to unwind the deal and understand how signs of Solyndra's financial trouble had been overlooked by the Department of Energy.
Another hearing is planned Firday morning, when the committee will explore concerns that DOE refinanced the loan — putting investors in line before taxpayers — without approval from the U.S. Treasury Department. The committee has called Treasury officials to testify.