Fisker Automotive took its sweet time filing for bankruptcy, waiting well over a year between building its last car and calling it quits. In the time since the bankruptcy filing just over a month ago, though, it's been a busy on the Fisker news front. A lot of documents have been revealed and reported on, and now there is a new lawsuit filed against company co-founder Henrik Fisker (pictured) and other former executives.

Atlas says Fisker kept news of a recall quiet until the day after a fundraising round closed.

The lawsuit (called "Atlas Capital Management LP v. Fisker," 13-cv-02100) is being brought by investor Atlas Capital Management LP and revolves around the $2 million it lost, allegedly over Fisker's shut down and the allegation that Fisker was not honest with investors by issuing "materially false and misleading statements." For example, Atlas says Fisker kept news of a 239-vehicle recall in December 2011 quiet until the day after a fundraising round closed. Atlas' complaint was filed December 27 in Wilmington, Delaware. Fisker is not commenting on the issue.

Thankfully, some documents are speaking for themselves. In its bankruptcy papers, for example, we learned that executives were raking in the paid big bucks even though no cars were being built. CEO Tony Posawatz, for example, made almost $300,000 in 2013, the year Fisker's line in Finland sat silent.

All told, the Fisker story is making some in Delaware question a lot of things. Delaware is the state where the company was going to build a plant to make the Atlantic, a never-used plant that nonetheless racked up a monthly energy bill of $45,000 and ended up sticking taxpayers with a $7.4-million utilities bill.


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  • 28 Comments
      Grendal
      • 11 Months Ago
      Isn't Atlas Capital Management the ones that would convince investors to invest in Fisker in the first place? So they are pointing the finger at Fisker so no one looks too closely at them. If so, this is a classic misdirection. Will the money they get from this suit go to their investors that lost their shirts? Hmm? $7.4 million utilities bill? In an unused factory? Did they leave all the lights on for 3 years?
      Mami
      • 11 Months Ago
      Such a failure.
      Alex82
      • 11 Months Ago
      Fisker is great and the best model of it is Karma Is aw it in www.fiskermiami.com and I must have it.
      • 11 Months Ago
      Wow... Goldman Sach's meets the car industry. This is right out of their playbook. Look over here for a while as we walk out with the $$$$$.
      Marcopolo
      • 11 Months Ago
      As I expected, this article has attracted a lot of Fisker haters, and anti- government investment critic's. Everyone entitled to their own view, but it's all to easy to kick Fisker, now it's failed. Personally, I liked the Fisker Karma, I never thought the company was capable of producing a volume sales product, such as the Nina/Atlantic project, and predicted that it would be the death of Fisker Automotive. Fisker should have concentrated on perfecting the Karma, and and producing the Sunset convertible. I still believe that Henrik Fisker was wrong in choosing the US to produce such a unique vehicle. The Karma would have done better as an exotic European product, with a limited production of 7-10,000 per year. Fisker needed far more control over the build quality, and engineering. Fisker failed to establish a close relationship with an established OEM whose experienced engineers and supply chain could have helped avoid costly errors. To be fair, Fisker Automotive also experienced the most extraordinary run of sheer bad luck. But it was the lure of the American government loan guarantees, and the requirement to use US component suppliers, that created the largest problems. Valmet of Finland is a very high quality vehicle builder, but not used to dealing with inexperienced customers. The factory in Delaware was an absurd exercise in hubris. Fisker never had the capital, expertise, or resources to commence volume manufacture. IMO, the company's management had split into two parts, Henrik Fisker and his team of designers, probably, if naively, had little alternative but to keep trusting the corporate-type directors who had lost touch with reality, and continued to raise money, for the sake of raising money, not building profitable products. This is a common pattern of boom time companies. Investment due diligence, and sensible business practice, are abandoned in a heady boom of excitement and extravagance. (Henrik Fisker must regret calling the company after himself ). Now the vultures are circling around the remains of the corpse. This is the period when all the sanctimony. and vindictiveness begins. ($300, 000 isn't "big bucks" for an executive with Tony Posawatz experience. ) Terry Beneke COO, at Atlas Capital Management, should be no stranger to failed aspirations. Before moving to Atlas, Mr Beneke was previous one of the shakers and movers with now defunct Banc of America Securities (guess who picked up the tab, for that failure ! ). (one day, it will make a good book, and film).
      2 wheeled menace
      • 11 Months Ago
      In b4 conservatives lose their minds and yell about obamacars: So, you hate it when government wastes money? You know, the pentagon recently said that it cannot account for 8.5 TRILLION DOLLARS, which is half of our national debt! ... but you're never gonna even think about it & get mad about 7 million bucks?
        EVnerdGene
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        2WM Government losing and blowing money? It's the nature of the beast. That's why we need to always fight tooth and nail to limit government and spending; and elect only people who are fiscally responsible. Wait till we get the bill for the affordable care act. You ain't seen nothin' yet.
          brotherkenny4
          • 11 Months Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          There are no fiscally responsible politicians. No one in congress is anything more than a corporatist flunkie.
          EVnerdGene
          • 11 Months Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          "There are no fiscally responsible politicians." There are some much worse than others. And one party is much worse than the other. "No one in congress is anything more than a corporatist flunkie." Yes, I'd agree most never held, and could not hold, a responsible job in the corporate world.
        Grendal
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Even the full $158 million that was lost is pocket change compared to that. Did they lose something like 20 aircraft carriers? Keep your eye on the ball people.
          Nick Kordich
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          Technically, a more accurate analogy would be that they'd lost the receipts to 20 aircraft carriers, but it's worse than that makes it sound. The Pentagon wasn't required to perform audits until a 1990 law requiring all agencies to be have audit processes in place by 1996. The Defense Department has never been in compliance with this and has spent $8.5 trillion since then. The best categorization of the problem is that they have spent billions trying to modify existing audit processes and consolidate them into one coherent picture over the last twenty-odd years; the results have been non-viable, resulting in billion-dollar projects simply being abandoned. That not only gives an idea of the magnitude of the problem, but a baseline for how other projects (ones with less oversight) may have been gone without any external knowledge of it. Or, put another way, the Air Force knows they wasted exactly $1.03 billion on their latest attempt...but you'll have to take their word on it. http://www.reuters.com/investigates/pentagon/
        2 wheeled menace
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Not that i'm defending Fisker! that's just more waste, and should have been obvious that it was a bad investment from the start... i knew it was going to be a failure since day 1.. but the money spent on Fisker is a drop in the bucket. How about we stop handing out corporate-industrial welfare to everyone? I know, crazy libertarian idea..
      mustsvt
      • 11 Months Ago
      This sham was DOA from the start but everyone ooooed and aaaahd over Leo and his Hollywood boys driving these $100k "green" cars that they bought into the whole story hook, line, and sinker....
        EVnerdGene
        • 11 Months Ago
        @mustsvt
        "they bought into the whole story hook, line, and sinker...." We indeed have some stupid people in Washington. This ATVM loan was particularly corrupt. Follow the campaign contributions. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/car-company-us-loan-builds-cars-finland/story?id=14770875 Al Gore, Biden, and further up.
        Sean
        • 11 Months Ago
        @mustsvt
        It was not a sham. It was a serious attempt to start a car company, that failed. Failure =/= Sham.
        Nick Kordich
        • 11 Months Ago
        @mustsvt
        Everyone? Speak for yourself. I didn't and still don't care what celebrities may have been affiliated with the brand. I found the Fisker Automotive loan to be redundant with support for GM and Tesla Motors, as well as being higher risk for lower reward. I also felt their use of the first part of the loan (spent on US resources but in support of outsourcing actual manufacturing of the car to Valmet in Finland) was not in keeping with the spirit of the ATVM loan program.
          EVnerdGene
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Nick Kordich
          There's nothing wrong with a hybrid. The Volt and Prius are good examples of well engineered and successful. Frisker's series approach is inefficient. Any knowledgeable engineer on the topic could have told him such. Tesla's approach better? I'd say hybrids will continue to outsell pure electrics for at least a few more decades.
          brotherkenny4
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Nick Kordich
          When he says "everyone", he means most people who "think" what they are supposed to think as dictated by their masters. He uses the correct buzz/trigger words to assist other followers in recognizing that they are to accept this evaluation since it comes not from him but the from lords of control and manipulation. It was very common for their to be criticism of the fisker approach, the hybrid rather than a true EV. That criticism actually turn out to be accurate too as evidenced by Tesla's success and fiskers failure. Therefore you can understand that his intent is to say "stupid gubmint" , he just didn't want to explicitly state that for some reason.
      Mami
      • 11 Months Ago
      Isn't it funny how the pro hydrogen commenters were once fierce Fisker advocates. It is all about their investments. They probably believe they can make a buck or two by deceiving people into dead end technologies and businesses. Sad.
        Marcopolo
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Mami
        @ Mami You seem to be one of a small group ( or one persona with many alter ego's) who post almost identical comments, always accusing others of some strange conspiracy. Do you really imagine the scale of investment required to develop either hydrogen or even Fisker could be influenced by posting comments of ABG ? Daimler and Toyota are both major backers of HFCV R&D, on the other hand Toyota is the most successful pioneer of EV technology. In Elon Musk's opinion, the considerable financial support of Daimler and Toyota made Tesla possible. There is no "great conspiracy ", just the way technologies evolve. Those who invested in Fisker Automotive, did so because they believed they could make money, or in the governments case, hoped the stimulus of innovative technology would assist the US economy. The automotive industry is a very capital intensive, high risk, low profit industry. That's why so many even long establish players fail. Tesla is a remarkable exception. Tesla's CEO and major shareholder has been astute enough to combine a series of fortunate opportunities, with vision and astute management into a serious corporation. Elon Musk, is a 'once in a generation' business leader, who has been able to promote an idealistic vision, while converting himself into a disciplined industrialist. It's the nature of businesses to succeed and fail. Like forests, not every tree can last forever, from the ruins of one fallen giant, a thousand new plants find room to grow. Try not to take it so personally.
      porosavuporo
      • 11 Months Ago
      Was style over substance from the very beginning. I'm actually surprised more wanna-bes have not yet attempted to emulate Teslas success. 300K is not that much for a CEO btw.
      EVnerdGene
      • 11 Months Ago
      Pizzed about a measly $2M ? What about the other $998M blown of the over a $Billion blown on this pig ?
      Levine Levine
      • 11 Months Ago
      Frisker's business model had been a scam from the very beginning. The expedient plan was to capitalize on public enthusiasm for 'Green' by proposing a eco-friendly hybrid car to be made in USA, but the real motive was to have the founder CEOs suck-in as much money by stringing along the investors and IPO before filing bankruptcy. Frisker is a scam, as I had asserted from the very beginning. As to the investors of Frisker, it gives me no pleasure in saying: I told you so.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        The sad part was that the car wasn't even green.. it sucked gas like a hummer and was a total watt guzzler too. It's like they didn't even try. When i looked under the hood of the car and saw the rough construction, including lines carrying combustible fluids over the exhaust manifold ( seriously ), i got an idea of what was going on really fast.. the car had totally, haphazardly, been thrown together..
          EVnerdGene
          • 11 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I recently testdrove one for the second time in several years. Closing the doors made sounds like a Yugo with the windows rolled down. I could continue with a long list - butt in a nutshell - came across as thrown together crap. err, but very frufru...
      Grendal
      • 11 Months Ago
      $7.4 million divided by the $45K per month would be 164 months. Someone is doing their math wrong or there are incredible late fees. That would be on par with bank late fees and interest rates.
        Nick Kordich
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        I noticed that, too, but the $45,000/month was the then-current rate during non-operation. I would expect the cost to have been higher in months when there were actually people there. In any case, according to the Delaware Online: "From November 2010 through September 2013, Delaware paid $5 million in Fisker’s electric bills and $2.4 million in Fisker’s natural gas service, said Alan Levin, state economic development director." That comes out to about $145/hour for electricity alone - about a 2MW load, going by the utility's published rates, I don't think even lighting accounts for that. By my ballpark estimate, you're talking more energy than is used by Staples Center during a Lakers game, including nighttime parking illumination, every hour of the day for four years. I'd be curious to know what their actual energy usage rates were, as opposed to simply the bill, which may have been loaded down with connection fees, penalties, and renewable energy credits. It doesn't change the bill the state has already paid (unless a significant portion of that was in taxes), but even with the lights on, that seems like a lot of money for what was essentially empty warehouse space for much of the period.
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