From Death Row Records to Solyndra


A bankruptcy specialist famed for bringing the likes of Mike Tyson and rap label Death Row Records back from the brink is now trying to work his magic on Solyndra.

Former FBI agent R. Todd Neilson defended the bankrupt solar panel company in a report filed Tuesday, saying the Department of Energy knew all the risks it was taking when it loaned the company half a billion dollars.

Solyndra, the solar-panel maker that received a $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee, gave the government accurate information about its finances before it failed, the company’s chief restructuring officer said in a report.

R. Todd Neilson, a forensic accountant and former FBI special agent, found that the company submitted proper documentation to the Energy Department and kept officials apprised of its financial health, according to the report filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

“The DOE had sufficient information to understand the risks” associated with the guarantee and “make an informed decision as to the ongoing financial condition of Solyndra,” said Neilson, a director at Berkeley Research Group.

Mr. Neilson has quite a track record as a bankruptcy specialist, according to his company bio: “Mr. Neilson has acted as bankruptcy Trustee for notable clients such as Mike Tyson, Suge Knight, and Death Row Records.”

Solyndra appears to have had better record keeping than the rap label:

Neilson said he has spent more than a year analyzing [Death Row Record’s] financial information to determine whether it would be best to pursue a plan of reorganization or a sale of the company’s assets. He said significant “gaps” in the company’s financial and business records that remain have led him to decide in favor of a sale.

The bankruptcy of the solar panel company, however, has led to major scandal in Washington where President Barack Obama has blamed congress for the loan, despite taking credit for it two years earlier.