PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) -- A lawsuit filed against Enerblu executives asks that the failed battery manufacturing plant pay $30 million in compensatory and punitive damages, news outlets report.
The lawsuit was filed by Dapco LTO Investment, LLC., an investor group from Florida, and calls Enerblu “a bogus Eastern Kentucky battery plant that was never more than drawings on a piece of paper.”
The group gave $3 million to Enerblu back in 2018. The suit says the now-bankrupt company said its executives paid themselves and took useless trips overseas.
The lawsuit filed in Jefferson Circuit Court makes multiple allegations about Enerblu’s CEO Dan Elliott, Executive Chairman Michael Weber, CFO and executive vice president for corporate development Darren Marino and Najib el Khoury, an agent for a cluster of companies owned by one of the members in the Qatari royal family. Some of those allegations include fraudulent misrepresentation.
Officials at Enerblu announced back in 2017 that they would invest $400 million in a battery plant in Pikeville and bring nearly 900 jobs.
Enerblu declared bankruptcy earlier this year. It is already facing another lawsuit from a group of Pikeville investors.
“EnerBlu’s management team worked diligently to make the venture a success, but, ultimately, the company failed due to circumstances beyond the control of its management,” Jeremy Rogers, a Louisville attorney representing Enerblu, said in the suit.
Enerblu officials responded to the suit, saying Dapco should file suit against Enerblu, not the individuals involved.
Bankruptcy records showed multiple company executives having salaries of more than $230,000, with tens of thousands more in consulting fees and reimbursement expenses.
The lawsuit reads that Enerblu used very little, if any, of the $9.6 million it raised for developing products or technology. A line reads that the Enerblu executives “were traveling around the world at great expense, purporting to be closing in on investments from some of the wealthiest people and entities on the planet.”
“Two relatives of Weber, his daughter and a son-in-law, were on the EnerBlu payroll. Such spending, it appears, is where the $3 million invested by Dapco largely went,” the lawsuit reads.