Federal investigators probing finances of nuclear backers in Idaho
SEC Suspends AEHI Stock Trading
Federal Investigators Probing Nuke Developer’s Finances
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday suspended trading of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc., stock out of concerns about stock sales practices, the viability of the company and its ability to build a nuclear reactor in Payette County, Idaho and how AEHI’s executives are compensated. The SEC’s freezing of AEHI stock trading tentatively runs through Dec. 28.
The announcement is a massive and potentially fatal setback to AEHI, which is trying to secure rezoning of property in Payette County as part of its scheme to build a nuclear reactor, and is expected to bring that process to a halt until federal securities investigators can sort through the company’s affairs. Trading of AEHI stock was halted at 9:30 a.m. EST, with the stock price at 57.7 cents a share.
“Our biggest concern today is that the damage done to Idaho investors can be kept to a minimum,” Snake River Alliance Energy Policy Analyst Liz Woodruff said. “The Alliance and legions of concerned Idahoans have been urging state and federal securities investigators for more than two years to examine the behavior and financial practices of AEHI. This is a company that has been misinforming Idaho investors, county officials, and others almost since arriving in Idaho four years ago today. AEHI President and CEO Don Gillispie has tried to explain away the reasons for his company’s failure to attract legitimate investors and to move this project forward, but he cannot explain away an SEC investigation. It is unfathomable that AEHI can now attract any investors with an SEC cloud over its head.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s “order of suspension of trading” does not mince words:
“It appears to the Securities and Exchange Commission that there is a lack of current and accurate information concerning the securities of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (“AEHI”) because of questions regarding the accuracy and adequacy of disclosures by AEHI concerning, among other things: (1) the stock sales of certain AEHI officer, (2) the status and viability of funding to build a nuclear reactor, and (3) executive compensation. AEHI is quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board and on the Pink Sheets operated by Pink OTC Markets, Inc. under the ticker symbol ‘AEHI.’
“The Commission is of the opinion that the public interest and the protection of investors require a suspension of trading in the securities of the above-listed company.”
(EDITORS: The SEC’s release on the order is pasted below. The link to the release and order is: http://www.sec.gov/litigation/suspensions.shtml )
Woodruff, who has worked with local residents in Elmore and Payette County who have been concerned about the AEHI project and who also worked with officials in all three counties to warn them of problems with AEHI’s local applications, called on Payette County officials to immediately halt their consideration of AEHI’s rezoning application, which just last week received a favorable 10-1 recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Commission to the County Commission for consideration. The County Commission has yet to begin reviewing the rezoning application, although it has approved changes in Payette County’s comprehensive plan over the objections of the Snake River Alliance to accommodate AEHI’s reactor plans. “Owyhee and Elmore Counties saw AEHI for what it is and they both dodged a bullet,” Woodruff said. “For Payette County, it’s better late than never.”
“It’s clear this company’s activities in Idaho and its penchant for false and misleading statements to the public and under oath have finally caught up to it,” said Alliance Clean Energy Program Director Ken Miller, who has been monitoring AEHI’s financial filings since it first arrived in Owyhee County in 2006. “AEHI and its President, Don Gillispie, have been making empty promises about their ability to secure funding for this project since coming to Idaho. “They have made wild claims about the kinds of reactors they would use, the amount of Idaho’s precious water they would use, and the number of jobs they would create. But ultimately, as we have said all along, it was the company’s financial dealings that would get the attention of federal investigators.”
In a release announcing the suspension of stock trading, the SEC cautioned, in part, “The Commission cautions brokers, dealers, shareholders, and prospective purchasers that they should carefully consider the foregoing information along with all other currently available information and any information subsequently issued by the company.”
Since rolling into Idaho from Virginia in late 2006, AEHI and its President and CEO, Don Gillispie, have had monumental problems finding a location for their reactor. Beginning with what Gillispie touted as the “perfect site” near Bruneau in Owyhee County, Gillispie abandoned that idea and moved upstream on the Snake River to Hammett in Elmore County, where he was greeted with a wall of opposition and where his reactor idea was rejected by the Planning and Zoning Commission as a violation of the county’s comprehensive plan.
Annoyed that Elmore County wasn’t acting fast enough to its demands, AEHI bolted yet again to move back downstream to Payette County. The company excitedly announced yet another ideal site, but in July it announced entering into a purchase agreement – not to be confused with an actual purchase – for an adjacent parcel that it described as “much larger, with superior water rights and transmission rights-of-way when compared to the Elmore site.” Gillispie also boasted of receiving numerous offers from other counties that he never identified, and even the state of Idaho, which quickly denied his claims of state land offers.
Woodruff said AEHI tried repeatedly to curry favor in the three counties it has targeted, promising massive tax infusions and nonexistent jobs to job-hungry Elmore County residents and going so far as to tell the Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission two weeks ago that, ‘This county will have more money than you’ll know what to do with.”
“Now that Payette County finally knows what it’s dealing with, we can only hope county officials do what’s best for their residents and for the county itself and send this proposal back to AEHI,” Woodruff said.