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Published: Sunday, 6/29/2014

Isofoton: Solar company was good deal

In response to your June 22 article “Deals Gone Bad: Area towns, state lose bet on tech jobs; Millions in public money loaned, but little is repaid”:

Ruralogic Inc. never was, as your article said, “hired to handle Isofoton’s finances,” never “acted as Isofoton’s chief financial officer,” and never “aided the solar-panel maker in its acquisition of state funding.” Nor did Ruralogic ever deal “with the state agencies that issued Isofoton’s loans.”

In my written response to The Blade’s questions about Isofoton North America (INA), I stated that Ruralogic was hired to do INA’s back office functions, specifically accounting and information technology services, when INA was starting out. When INA started receiving equipment in our Napoleon factory, INA needed immediate IT support, and Ruralogic had a local office with those capabilities.

The city of Napoleon encouraged INA to hire Ruralogic, as INA had made a public pledge to hire local firms as subcontractors as much as possible. In February, 2013, INA received an award from the Northwest Ohio Regional Economic Development Association for local supply chain outreach and content.

INA never used Ruralogic in any way to advance Isofoton’s prospects in Columbus. INA hired Ruralogic because INA was absolutely committed to maximizing local employment and contracting opportunities. We are proud of that commitment, and never wavered in our pursuit of that goal.

All of Isofoton’s invoices related to state funds were audited and approved for payment by state agencies. INA paid all bills for work that was performed by contractors, and never received anything from the state other than the reimbursement that was submitted.

In response to your article’s coverage of Air Force One vendor allegations, I stated that INA paid 90 percent of the original Air Force One invoice, but held back roughly 10 percent, which is normal with those types of contracts. INA expected that Air Force One would complete its project by October, 2012, but the company did not finish the project (Air Force One claimed it was finished) until April, 2013. If Air Force One had completed its project on time and if it had worked properly, it would have been paid in full.

Many good local people have tried very hard in the face of major obstacles to make the Isofoton North America project the success it deserves to be. The Blade’s own past coverage supports this observation.

Despite INA’s commonly known hurdles — no promised orders materializing and, as a result, no working capital, and a parent company that became insolvent overseas six months after INA opened its doors — INA managed to win technology and community service awards, produce 10 megawatts at its Napoleon factory, and keep 40 local people employed throughout most of its 16 operating months.


Chairman Isofoton North America Napoleon

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