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Published: Wednesday, 5/2/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Willard & Kelsey Solar Group failed to file complete reports with state

BY KRIS TURNER
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The Ohio Department of Development received a partial, three-year progress report from Willard & Kelsey Solar Group today, two days past the state deadline.

The Department of Development still is waiting on two parts of the report -- detailing whether the company lived up to its loan and grant agreements -- before it can assess the firm. The department previously based its assessments on one company report, but now requires reports for each piece of funding awarded from the state. Those items should have been postmarked by April 30.

Willard & Kelsey received a $5 million loan, $500,000 grant, and a tax credit from the state Department of Development. The department only received a report pertaining to the tax credit, for which Willard & Kelsey never has been eligible because it hasn't created the hundreds of jobs it promised.

The company was informed via email before the April 30 deadline that it was required to submit paperwork for all three items, said Daryl Hennessy, assistant chief of the business services division at the Department of Development.

"We expect the numbers would be the same [for all reports], but the company needs to tell us that," he said. "In my conversation with the company, they were asking us what additional reports were due."

The state has reached out to Willard & Kelsey and is waiting on the loan and grant reports, Mr. Hennessy said. It's unclear when the state will receive those reports, he added.

Michael Cicak, the firm's chief executive officer and chairman of the board, and Mossie Murphy, vice president of development, had not responded to a voicemails or an emails from The Blade today.

The firm's Maumee-based lawyer, Marvin Robon, also had not responded to an email today seeking comment about the loan and grant reports.

The company's former CEO, William Mitchell, alleged Willard & Kelsey executives were paid with state Department of Development loan funds in emails to his attorney. If true, those payments would be in direct violation of the company's loan agreement with the state.

The emails were part of Mr. Mitchell's records, which included Willard & Kelsey's financial and banking information, obtained by The Blade.

Mr. Mitchell, who died in 2011, was fired from Willard & Kelsey in 2009.

In previous interviews with The Blade, Willard & Kelsey executives and Mr. Robon vehemently denied a misuse of state funds.

In January, Willard & Kelsey laid off most of its 80-person work force. The company pledged that it would create 400 jobs in its loan agreement with the state.

The state can increase the interest on the loan if it determines the company did not create those jobs, per a clause in the loan agreement.

The state also is reviewing whether it could declare the $5 million loan due and seize collateral at Willard & Kelsey's Perrysburg headquarters per the loan agreement.



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