He briefly considered joining the U.S. Foreign Service, but instead returned to Tulsa in 1966 to work for his father. By providing this deal to Argonaut and Madrone, the U.S. Department of Energy was worsening U.S. taxpayers’ position than if the agency just allowed Solyndra to go under. George Kaiser … It’s been suggested that Kaiser, ever seeking a boost for his hometown, may have used his political contributions to help secure the construction of a Solyndra plant in Tulsa. It also is notorious in that its largest financial backer, George Kaiser, was a substantial supporter of President Barack Obama in 2008 and regularly visited the White House following the election. It’s happening right now. Evidence for the misappropriation points to partisan political influence-peddling involving White House involvement with an Oklahoma billionaire named George Kaiser. He is the sole donor. His father started an oil company in Oklahoma, Kaiser-Francis Oil, which George Kaiser took over in 1969. The fund is headed by George Kaiser, a major Democratic donor. Step up and fix this problem. Krasting emphasizes that he is not suggesting wrongdoing on anyone's part. Then in October 2010 Solyndra began planning to layoff 200 employees. From Reuters' MuniLand blog on September 8, 2011: "The President's argonaut," a detailed look at the George Kaiser Family Foundation's investment in Solyndra: George Kaiser alleges that he didn't discuss Solyndra with any White House officials but his investment vehicles were very hot for Solyndra. Kaiser is a super wealthy oilman who gives heavily to charities in his beloved hometown and doesn’t draw attention to himself. (Nor am I.) The House committee has released e-mails that seem to contradict Administration assertions. It turns out that argonaut was a person who participated in the California Gold Rush. USA/Canada: Acquisition of valve manufacture; dual structure exit to Cameron JV & Schlumberger, including a JV with George Kaiser (Argonaut, BOKF) China: Started three green field JV’s and built Foundries and a Processing Center factory combined with an acquisition of … It also lost out on the tremendous subsidy it provided the George Kaiser Family Foundation through the charitable contribution deduction.”. Through Argonaut, the Kaiser Foundation invested $340 million in Solyndra. Yet Kaiser feels guilty. When the Solyndra loan was guaranteed by the Department of Energy and paid out by the U.S. Treasury according to US law 10 C.F.R. As the Solyndra scandal has unfolded Sen. Grassley has kept his eye on Kaiser—and he is outraged. American Majority "training bomb": Saturday, September 17, 2011 was the previous entry in this blog. (Another Tulsa connection: Congressman John Sullivan is vice chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and, as such, Sullivan is on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. The foundation, which had $1 billion in assets in 2005, has grown to $4 billion, according to its IRS Form 990 for 2009, the latest year available. Were the Kaiser Foundation a “private foundation” it would have been required to make at least $200 million in grants annually. In 2010 he contributed $30,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $2,400 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. It’s a failed solar panel company that the Obama White House kept promoting despite warnings that it was going bankrupt. George was born two years later. “There’s never before been more money shoved out the government’s door in world history,” he said, later adding, “And our selfish parochial goal is to get as much for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can.”. On May 26, 2010 Obama visited the plant and praised the company as the future of the American economy. He is the sole donor. (Bloomberg News, Sept. 27, 2011; Kaiser IRS Form 990, p.63 of 77; http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=354900002). The Wall Street Journal reports that George Kaiser, "a Tulsa oil billionaire who bundled campaign checks for Mr. Obama in 2008," is poised to accomplish one of the great scams of all time. Here is the ordering: Tranche A: $69,302,901 - Argonaut Ventures I, L.L.C He is simply, as a taxpayer and blogger, looking for some clarity. Were this the Bush administration it would be front page for months! In 1999 Kaiser endowed the George Kaiser Family Foundation. He gives to charity because he feels guilty—and he structures his non-profit foundation to avoid giving too much. George Kaiser quietly owns empires in oil and gas, banking, and private equity. Perhaps as important, he was one of Obama’s early supporters when the Illinois senator was trailing Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary season. In the Waterford case, the IRS disallowed Kaiser’s claims and sent him a bill for $24 million. (Bloomberg News, Sept. 27, 2011), George Kaiser has also put his mouth where his money is. The financing documents were rewritten in February 2011 and gave priority to Argonaut for Tranche A. After creating so much wealth many successful people turn to philanthropy. http://www.batesline.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/6143. Kaiser bundled between $50,000 and $100,000 for presidential candidate Barack Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Net Worth details: George Kaiser is the sole owner of Kaiser-Francis Oil. Kaiser expressed his full support for the stimulus act – an $800 billion boondoggle that failed to lift the U.S. out of recession. In late September the House Energy and Commerce Committee subpoenaed Solyndra’s CEO and chief financial officer to testify about the matter. Five years later, oilman Kaiser bought the bank from the FDIC for $61 million. CRC respects confidentiality and will not share your e-mail address. Argonaut Private Equity, Kaiser's investment vehicle, declined to comment. Politically connected private investors would see nothing but upside for investments that often consisted of in-kind services, while the taxpayers would (and did) take it in the shorts if it failed and at best could hope for break-even. [1] Kaiser… You’ve read about Solyndra. In the meetings on March 12, Kaiser met with former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Austan Goolsbee at 11 a.m., Senior Advisor Pete Rouse at 3 p.m., and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council Heather Higginbottom at 6:30 p.m. On the 13th, Kaiser met with Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Jason Furman at 9 a.m.... As TheDC previously reported, Solyndra officials, including Kaiser himself, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Barack Obama. In 2005, the Senate Finance Committee, then controlled by Republicans and chaired by Grassley, issued a staff memo that said this loophole “is now being used by wealthy individuals to avoid the private foundation rules.” The memo cited Kaiser’s foundation for giving just 0.2 percent in 2002. “Tax deductions for charitable contributions are intended to encourage transfer of wealth to those in need,” the memo said. It puts the incentive exactly at the right spot.” (Human Events, Sept. 21, 2011). A question to ask is whether GK has (directly or indirectly) an interest (equity or debt) in SSII. “Dumb luck” plays no role in keeping Kaiser’s fortune intact. The answer is that about ten years ago the George Kaiser Family Foundation converted itself from a “private foundation” to a “supporting organization,” an important distinction in tax law that lawmakers have seriously considered eliminating. And the “dumb luck” comment betrays Kaiser’s ignorance about how the free market works and why it’s been good to him. Solyndra's Fremont, California, facility, by Monica's Dad on Flickr. “Every day that you build this expanded facility, as you fill orders for solar panels to ship around the world, you’re demonstrating that the promise of clean energy isn’t just an article of faith – not anymore,” Obama said. Typically, they are concerned about particular causes, or they want to leave a legacy, or “give back.” But Kaiser doesn’t see it that way. I went back into Solyndra's IPO filing and totaled up the amount of funding Kaiser's investment businesses gave Solyndra. On March 19, 2007, Obama visited Educare in Tulsa before attending a fundraising event at Kaiser’s home. That means that there is even less of a chance that Uncle Sam sees a penny of the money that he (we) are owed. However, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation declared the Bank of Oklahoma essential to the state’s economy and subsequently provided it with a $130 million bailout. (New York Times, Nov. 10, 2011). George Kaiser —Argonaut Private Equity is an investor in SolarReserve. “During the desperate depression of the 1980s, there were no oil and gas companies without net operating losses,” Kaiser contended in a 2001 interview about his run-in with the IRS. That said, this isn't one of those everyday stories. A few news stories and commentaries of interest, regarding Oklahoma's wealthiest man, George B. Kaiser, and the recently-bankrupt solar energy firm Solyndra, which failed despite $535 million in federal loan guarantees. There are some interesting twists and turns that seem to suggest that GKFF's investments have been protected to the detriment of federal taxpayers. George B. Kaiser founded Argonaut Private Equity LLC and Excelerate Energy LP. But who’s heard of George Kaiser, a prolific Obama fundraiser and Democratic donor from Oklahoma who has visited the White House 16 times since Obama took office? These are exercises in what’s variously been called “crony capitalism” or “gangster government.” And Kaiser is a perfect partner. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Prior to joining Argonaut, Ms. Trimble worked as the personal assistant to Mr. George Kaiser for more than 30 years working actively with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Kaiser Francis Oil Company, the Bank of Oklahoma, and numerous other entities. Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. was created in the 1940s by Kaiser's uncle and parents, Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany who settled in Oklahoma. “Our Tax System Is Insufficiently Progressive” even though it was weighed down by bad loans. The failed Tulsa-based airline defaulted on $7.1 million from George Kaiser's Bank of Oklahoma and burned up some $30 million in transferable tax credits. The managing director of Argonaut, Steven R. Mitchell, sat on Solyndra’s board of directors. About VentureDeal. In addition, the Judge would be functionally sanctioning the A/R sale. George B. Kaiser, a billionaire oilman whose foundation has the biggest stake in failed solar- panel maker Solyndra LLC, might have had more than money tied up in … Kaiser fought back in tax court and eventually settled, paying $3.7 million in back taxes. Kaiser’s parents came to America to escape oppression, and their son built a business that make profits, creates jobs and opportunities for others, and provides the wealth that makes philanthropy possible. "That's awesome! He earned a BA from Harvard College in 1964 and an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1966. Ben Bierman, executive vice president of operations donated $5,500 to Obama, and Karen Alter, senior vice president of marketing gave $23,000, just to name a few. Said Grassley, “So with Solyndra, the government didn’t just lose out on its investment through the $535 million loan guarantees. Kaiser was the largest shareholder in Solyndra, the bankrupt solar panel company that got a $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as “the stimulus.” The government must now assume Solyndra’s debt, which will likely never be repaid. George Kaiser's four visits to the White House in the week before the Solyndra loan guarantee was approved, curious omission on the list of witnesses at Wednesday's House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, GKFF trustee Phil Lakin and former GKFF lobbyist G. T. Bynum, Congressman John Sullivan is vice chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, Solyndra - A few new facts. Democratic Party Booster and Environmentalist The bad loans would become such a drag on the Bank of Oklahoma that it reported a $51 million quarterly loss in 1986. An investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee into the unfolding scandal shows that White House officials ignored warnings by career government officials in the Office of Management and Budget and the Energy Department that Solyndra was “not ready for primetime.” White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden (and earlier chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore) pushed OMB to award the loan guarantee, according to documents obtained by the committee. Kaiser noted in September 2011, after Solyndra became defunct, that the holding company would merge with other Argonaut businesses that could use the tax break. Last November on the campaign trail in New Hampshire promoting his so-called jobs legislation, President Obama asked, “Do you want to cut taxes for the middle class and those who are trying to get into the middle class? We look forward to keeping you informed. In 1999 Kaiser endowed the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Federal tax law requires a private foundation to spend at least 5 percent of its assets on charitable work, an amount some philanthropy experts consider too little. If George Kaiser has to give back the $75 million in loans then there goes 468 Harvard Student Grants. Here’s the rest of the story. Hayden Ludwig Talks George Soros on KMED in Oregon, George Soros: A Lifetime Fortune Spent on Liberal Influence, The Walmart Foundation, a Microcosm of Woke Capital. Obama Bundler George Kaiser. I wonder if Bruce Krasting has heard of Great Plains Airlines. But that's all my opinion and speculation, and it's certainly not my intent to suggest any wrongdoing on the part of anyone involved. Despite these tax battles and the settlements that yielded the taxman pennies on the dollar, Kaiser told Forbes in 2007 that the wealthy should pay far more in taxes. Kaiser's Argonaut Private Equity and its affiliates were the largest shareholder of Solyndra as it pushed for the IPO. He transformed a 10-employee business into one of the most successful privately-held American oil companies. Kaiser professes “guilt” over his fortune, which he attributes to “dumb luck.” Yet while he publicly advocates higher taxes on the rich, he strenuously avoids paying them, taking advantage of provisions in the IRS tax code to protect his business profits and structuring his foundation so that it gives away far less of its assets than most other private foundations. (See, for instance, “The Obama Administration’s Social Innovation Fund,” Foundation Watch, Dec. 2010). Founded in 2006, VentureDeal is a database that provides the latest information about venture capital firms, venture-backed technology companies and transactions throughout North America. “It’s not some abstract possibility for science fiction movies or a distant future – 10 years down the road or 20 years down the road. Kaiser’s help became a campaign issue during the Democratic primary season, when Sen. Obama announced in a campaign ad prior to the Pennsylvania primary, “I don’t take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists.” The Clinton campaign issued a rebuttal: “Two major bundlers for his campaign – George Kaiser and Robert Cavnar – are oil company CEOs.”, Kaiser has funded other Democratic war chests. According to first-hand accounts, bank officials claimed city officials had made implicit guarantees that the city would cover any default, despite assurances from the same officials to the public that the city taxpayers were not on the hook if the airline failed. Fred Lucas is the author of Abuse of Power: Inside the Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump (Bombardier Books, 2020). The Kaiser Foundation and the Payout Rule “It’s a tax on the excess users of liquid hydrocarbons and a reward to lesser users. Tranche B/D Term Loan Facility: $527,808,544 - U.S. Department of Energy White House logs show Kaiser visited the White House 16 times, four of them just before approval of the Solyndra loan. And, the Justice Department being 100% behind the Obama administration will do it's best to bury the evidence, so it is unlikely justice will be served to the suckers (taxpayers). This one could swing an election. Educare has two Tulsa locations with a third on the way. Big Oil, Big Banking, Big Philanthropy Kaiser has denied any direct involvement in the Solyndra deal and through a statement from his foundation said he "did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loan.". Argonaut is a name that George Kaiser uses. And we are poised to generate countless new jobs, good-paying middle-class jobs, right here in the United States of America.”. All this should give Democrats enough material to label Kaiser a heel at the very least—except he’s such a good source of campaign money. How is this possible? His family investment vehicle channeled money to SOL through a company called Argonaut Ventures. However, e-mails from the summer of 2009 have since surfaced to suggest that more was being promised than the promise of clean energy. Kaiser, in fact, is responsible for 16 of the 20 meetings that showed up on the White House logs. (See http://reporting.sunlightfoundation.com/2011/barack-obamas-other-billionaire-how-george-kaiser-turned-oklahom/). Argonaut’s links to both SolarReserve and Solyndra are being closely examined by Republicans. He attended Central High School in Tulsa. Bruce Krasting on the Zero Hedge blog notes a curious omission on the list of witnesses at Wednesday's House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing: Maybe a couple of Tuesday's Tulsa City Council primary winners could have flown up to DC to represent the investors -- GKFF trustee Phil Lakin and former GKFF lobbyist G. T. Bynum. Each refused, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Fred Lucas is White House correspondent for Cybercast News Service (CNSNews.com). In 2009, before a committee of the Oklahoma state legislature he testified that oil companies like his do not need tax breaks, and that government funds should be used instead for “tax cuts or services for the middle class and working poor.” (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 3, 2011), He has called for a graduated gasoline tax that would collect fees from drivers of fuel-inefficient vehicles and rebate them to drivers of fuel-efficient vehicles who commute to work. We’re poised to transform the ways we power our homes and our cars and our businesses. He met with top Obama aides, including top aide Valerie Jarrett and Emanuel. The IRS went after Kaiser and his companies, demanding that they owed the federal government more than $72 million. The list of Great Plains Airlines investors was a who's who of Tulsa insiders. He explains that he gives because he is assuaging his guilt for being so darn rich. America’s Frozen Future Under the Green New Deal, Environmentalists Spent a Record $2.4 Billion Pushing Global Warming Ideology, Election Irregularities Involving CTCL: Scott Walter Testifies Before Arizona House Committee, How Mark Zuckerberg Changed the Outcome of the 2020 Election. The emails show the Energy Department asked the company to delay the layoff announcement until November 3, one day after the elections. When the FAA ruled that the collateral for the loan could not be used for that purpose (an illegal subsidy using FAA passenger service fees to favor one airline over others at the same airport), there was a lawsuit. MORE: If you've lost Jon Stewart... (via Brandon Dutcher on Twitter), Stewart leads into a clip from an ABC News story about Kaiser's White House visits: "For this to truly become a weapons-grade political fodder, you're going to need incompetence with more than just a whiff of sinister cronyism.". Kaiser and his foundation became partners in one of the Obama administration’s proliferating public-private partnerships. Kaiser explained that he had engaged in tax “avoidance,” which is legal, buying up companies such as Waterford Energy that had substantial operating losses he claimed as deductible. George Kaiser Family Foundation is dedicated to making Tulsa the best city for children to be born, grow and succeed. (More about Great Plains Airlines, its failure, and the ongoing impact on Tulsa taxpayers in the BatesLine Great Plains Airlines archive.). In other words, Argonaut is willing to make a new $4mm loan, PROVIDED that the Judge releases (at least $3.86m) back to an entity that Argonaut is connected to (SSII). He speculates that Argonaut might be able to profit from the purchase of Solyndra as a company to be able to use its Net Operating Losses (NOLs) to offset income from other energy-related investments. (Of course, the foundation also had $340 million of its money invested in Solyndra.) A few new questions, That Custom-Tailored Obama Scandal You Ordered Is Finally Here, American Majority "training bomb": Saturday, September 17, 2011, Strong Mayor vs. City Manager debate, tonight. What is unusual is the order of precedence of creditors. In a 2009 Rotary Club speech, Kaiser explained the roots of his philanthropy. Emails show George Kaiser discussing Solyndra's bid to win a second loan guarantee. Although Kaiser, through Argonaut and GKFF Investment Company, LLC, did not participate in the initial two private financing rounds, they dominated the following funding rounds and were the major venture capital investors in the firm.... Like many bankruptcies there are a lot of creditors in line to be repaid by disposing of Solyndra's assets. (As am I.) Argonaut is an investment firm that is part of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, and was a one-third owner of Solyndra. But last fall Kaiser began attracting the media’s attention, and since then he has become a central figure in the escalating Solyndra scandal. Solyndra: What Did They Know and When Did They Know It? So Kaiser wants us to believe that the Family Foundation he runs invested some $300mm of the families “excess cash” and he did not really know about it. From the Daily Caller, an account of George Kaiser's four visits to the White House in the week before the Solyndra loan guarantee was approved: George Kaiser, who has in the past been labeled a major Solyndra investor as well as a Obama donor, made three visits to the White House on March 12, 2009, and one on March 13. Argonaut did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Mr. Kaiser ’s George Kaiser Family Foundation. However, given the reluctance of the general media to find any wrongdoing with the Obama administration I doubt we will ever know the real story. When he set up his foundation, Kaiser found another perfectly legal way to avoid taxes on his wealth. He believes the rich should pay more—and he avoids paying taxes. It would be subject to strict rules on self-dealing. The IRS sent him a tax bill for $48.6 million in back taxes and penalties. 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