Congressman irked by Solyndra bonuses, equipment destruction

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The head of a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee investigating the collapse of solar panel maker Solyndra said Friday that tapes showing company workers destroying inventory were “an outrage.”

“First we learn of the ridiculous request for $500,000 in Solyndra bonuses. Now we find out that these employees are apparently destroying millions of dollars worth of equipment,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican and chairman of the committee’s investigations panel.

Mr. Stearns’ remarks came in response to a report by CBS 5 of San Francisco showing company workers unwrapping glass tubes used in solar panels and throwing them into Dumpsters.

The report cited court documents saying the company had gotten permission to abandon high grade glass because the cost of storing it exceeded its value.

The report also said an employee from Heritage Global Partners, which is in charge of selling some of the company’s assets, told CBS 5 that nobody wanted to buy the equipment, despite an exhaustive search.

The development came a week after The Washington Times first reported that the company was planning to pay a half-million dollars to nearly two dozen key employees to encourage them to stay with Solyndra instead of finding new jobs.

Solyndra went bankrupt last fall just two years after winning more than a half billion dollars in federal loan guarantees.

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