The state of Mississippi settled a lawsuit Tuesday with Twin Creeks, a California solar panel company that went out of business after the state spent $27.7 million to construct a building for the business in Senatobia and buy equipment, The Associated Press has learned.
“I believe we will make a full recovery of state tax dollars through this settlement,” Gov. Phil Bryant told The Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the settlement from Bryant’s office. “The Mississippi Development Authority is eagerly marketing the building for a new high tech industry to provide jobs and income to the citizens of Senatobia,” Bryant said in a statement.
Bryant denied the company’s request for another $25 million from the state and sought to get money back from Twin Creeks quickly, said his spokesman, Mick Bullock.
Until the state leases Twin Creeks’ building in Senatobia and sells its used equipment, it appears unlikely the state will get all its money back, though.
The agreement states that Twin Creeks will immediately pay back $1.25 million and that the state will get rights to $10 million in possible royalties over time. Mississippi will also get rights to sue an equipment maker that Twin Creeks says made a defective piece of equipment.
Finally, the state will get a share of any money that Twin Creeks receives from a lawsuit filed by a more famous solar firm that went bust, Solyndra. Twin Creeks says it has antitrust claims against Chinese solar panel makers that parallel those made by Solyndra in a $1.5 billion lawsuit Solyndra filed in October. Solyndra went bankrupt owing the federal government $535 million, sparking criticism of President Barack Obama’s energy policies.
The company promised to create 500 jobs in 2010, when Gov. Haley Barbour persuaded the Legislature to loan the company $50 million at no interest for 20 years.