Not to get too deep into we-told-you-so territory, but this really was pretty quick. It was only December 8 that we sent up a cautionary warning about a deal that local officials in Payette County seemed ready to jump right into. Their reason for jumping was the same as our cautionary note: The excited promise of quick and easy riches.
At least their counterparts in Elmore County, who also had been dealing with Alternate Energy Holdings and its CEO, Don Gillespie, took their deliberate time. They at least have a lot less 'splaining to do, and may have saved some other Idahoans from themselves in the process.
One week after our concerned post about how Payette County appeared to be green-lighting a multi-billion-dollar nuclear plant, proposed by Gillespie, the federal Securities and Exchange Commission posted this:
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a self-described power company in Idaho with fraudulently raising funds for a $10 billion nuclear power project. The SEC is seeking an emergency court order to freeze the assets of the company and two executives.
The SEC alleges that Alternate Energy Holdings Inc. (AEHI) has raised millions of dollars from investors in Idaho and throughout the U.S. and Asia while fraudulently manipulating its stock price through misleading public statements that conceal the secret profits reaped by its CEO Donald L. Gillispie and Senior Vice President Jennifer Ransom. Gillispie has touted the company as a tremendous investment opportunity that could rival Exxon Mobil in profitability, despite the fact that AEHI has essentially no revenue and minimal operations.
A side note. The SEC said in its release that it "acknowledges the assistance of the Idaho Department of Finance," which makes sense since it is the state agency overseeing securities. So when the plant boosters in Payette County said that the project had the full backing of Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter ... was Otter up to speed on what was happening at the SEC? Or are we missing something else, because you'd think the governor wouldn't be jumping onto a project that was about to have the weight of the federal government crash down on it. Would you?
The rest of the SEC release on the case: (more…)