Darren Fishell

Darren Fishell

Data reporter and wrangler

An old, struggling industry gets another new glossy brochure

Written on October 5, 2017

The latest chapter in the saga of subsidized biomass generator Stored Solar LLC took a curious turn.

The company vendors say owes them hundreds of thousands and that has $90,000 in back property taxes continues to put together the glossy brochures to describe big promises to the state. And they appear to have kept the support of Gov. Paul LePage and, potentially, state economic development entities, too.

[LePage keeps backing energy firm seeking taxpayer help, despite failings after bailout]

Our reporting started with word that the company was in line for a $500,000 loan from the Maine Rural Development Authority for a shrimp farm at its West Enfield plant. We went there. They didn’t talk. They had also asked the Finance Authority of Maine to insure a $5 million loan they would use to make improvements to their plant in West Enfield.

We also heard LePage was heading to San Francisco with the company later this month.

But the reporting took a big turn when we found a company affiliate had posted its new vision for its biomass plants in Jonesboro and West Enfield to a website it registered in August, under the name of one of Stored Solar’s co-owners, Fahim Samaha.

The site, at born-global-inc.com and bornglobal-innovate.com, also described the governor’s upcoming conference appearance.

The report held the most curious details, however, including a quote from a Maine woman the company did not disclose was a former employee. The employee declined comment on the statement they used in her name.

Some of the oddest gems from the report are in the thread below.

The reporting got a little stranger since publication. In Jonesboro, the company said that instead of industrial plans, it would focus on entirely new construction led by a nonprofit on another part of their property, a partnership with the UK-based Eden Project.

The Eden Project didn’t see it as quite so formal an association.

But right down to the design, it’s clear Stored Solar affiliate Born Global sees their properties as closely related.