BOSTON (CBS) – The owner of a New Hampshire-based solar business will be in federal bankruptcy court to explain what happened to hundreds of thousands of dollars that customers, subcontractors and employees claim they’re owed.
Bill Woods and his now defunct Twin State Sun were the focus of an I-Team investigation in February.
Since then, Woods has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge all those debts. However, customers who paid thousands of dollars for solar panels but received nothing in return are crying foul.
Frank Morrissey, a bankruptcy expert with the Massachusetts Bar Association, told the I-Team a court-appointed trustee will investigate to see if there are any assets that can be recovered for creditors, or if there is any evidence of fraud.
“Bankruptcy is for the unfortunate but honest individual,” Morrissey said. “It provides no shelter for a scoundrel.”
According to bankruptcy filings, Woods reported Twin State Sun grossed $6.5 million income in 2016.
However, the documents list about 270 unsecured creditors, many of them former solar customers. Some of those people paid deposits, but never received any product. Others say their lines of credit were drained before construction had even started on their solar projects.
Woods reported roughly $391,000 worth of assets, but claimed an estimated $4.7 million in liabilities.
“He will have to explain where that money went,” Morrissey said.
Some items in the bankruptcy filing might get a closer look. For instance, the purchase of investment property in Mexico last September.
“The trustee will literally trace what happened to customer deposits on the eve of bankruptcy and where they ultimately ended up,” Morrissey explained.
Woods is scheduled to be in federal court in Manchester on Tuesday for a “meeting of the creditors.” This is when the trustee will question Woods about his bankruptcy filings. It is a public meeting that also provides former customers an opportunity to get answers.
It can also be a venue where other government agencies gather information. A number of the jilted solar customers filed complaints with the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General.
Ryan Kath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.