Coal gasification, IGCC, whatever you call it, it’s under a lot of scrutiny.  But Excelsior Energy’s dealings with Iron Range Resources is even hotter than that!

You’ve read about this before on this blog, years ago (hard to believe) and so It’s coming much later rather than sooner, but ever since sent a Subpoena to Iron Range Resources about Excelsior Energy and the Mesaba Project and got a big BIG box of papers and papers and papers, as well it should, because from the IRR, Excelsior got $9.5 million, and what did they spend it on? Inquiring minds want to know. As a little birdie said long ago, “somebody’s going to jail.” Hmmmmm, perhaps he has a point! What’s going on? Well, the IRR loaned Excelsior a ton of money, with specific ways it could be spent, and specific limitations as to how it could NOT be spent. Here’s the agreement:

MCGP Exhibit 5023 – IRR & Excelsior Convertible Debenture Agreement

A few interesting points from that Agreement that jumped out to me:

  • Have you ever heard of a contract for a $9.5 million loan with 20% interest? See p. 12

Read it and see for yourself. Anyway, wanted to dig around in the IRR’s records, so we started in filing this and that…

Subpoena Request IRR September 7, 2006

Or was it a Data Practices Act request?

IRRB Data Practices Act Request

Letter to IRRRB June 19, 2006

Letter to IRRRB July 26, 2006

Anyway, we got this HUGE box and Ron Gustafson and Linda Castagneri spent a coon’s age putting together this spread sheet wtih a few choice items found in their spending reports. Certain things have always stuck in Ron’s craw, particularly that he never got one of the golf balls… Here’s the spread sheet, and keep in mind that this is not all inclusive of the stuff in that box:

IRR Receipts – Final Review

Back then, the Duluth News Tribune was also digging:

Duluth News Tribune Info Request

So now what? Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee

The Legislative Auditor’s office has confirmed that they’re investigating!

Aaron Brown’s Minnesota Brown blog – Confirmed: Complaint prompts legislative auditor to assess Iron Range coal gas project loan

CAMP News Release May 27, 2008

OOOOOOH, it’s getting hot in here…

And then there’s IRR Commissioner Sandy Layman’s penchant for unilateral decisions, like deciding that it was OK if Excelsior Energy didn’t pay their first loan installment…

She’s done that before. Remember that she alone declared that Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project, as proposed for the Taconite site, met the statutory criteria:

(3) that is designated by the commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board as a project that is located in the taconite tax relief area on a site that has substantial real property with adequate infrastructure to support new or expanded development and that has received prior financial and other support from the board.

And unilaterally, Commissioner Sandy Layman declares that both sites meet the criteria!

IRRRB November 7, 2005

Remember this photo from the DOE site trek, where they rode to the site on ATVs as far as they could and hiked the rest of the distance:

Here’s another later site visit, the county:

Yup, dig that infrastructure… challenged Layman’s determination and the PUC backed away from that one real quick, and from the IRR documents we received, we learned Xcel had too:

MCGP Exhibit 5056 – IRR Letter to Xcel\’s Clark 1/26/06

MCGP Exhibit 5057 – IRR Letter to Xcel\’s Clark 3/22/06

So what’s with this Iron Range Resources? Will it continue to be a leading source of corporate welfare? Stay tuned…

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