Braidy Industries, an Ashland, Kentucky-based firm that is attempting to build a high-volume scrap-fed aluminum mill near that city, has reportedly worked with a law firm to prepare a report accusing the company’s former CEO Craig Bouchard of presenting inaccurate portrayals of investor sentiment toward the project.
According to an AP report, The Daily Independent publication in Ashland obtained a 49-page document commissioned by Braidy’s current board of directors that involved interviewing Braidy board members and employees, many of whom recounted Bouchard engaging in what they now consider deception.
AP quotes a snippet of the report that says many of those interviewed “described the same pattern of conduct: Mr. Bouchard would provide an impressive list of purported interested investors. He would report that at least one of the investors would invest in Braidy imminently. That investment did not occur.”
Potential investors that did not follow through reportedly included some from Japan, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Oman, South Korea and India, according to the AP article. Bouchard also reportedly told investors the proposed mill in Ashland could be moved to Mexico.
One investor that may be along for the ride is Russia-based Rusal, and another is the commonwealth of Kentucky. Previous Gov. Matt Bevin and the legislature at that time approved a $15 million investment in the project.
The same report indicates the future of the project remains in question, stating Braidy Industries had $11 million in cash on hand in January and would run out of money by mid-2020.
Bouchard has filed his own lawsuit against Braidy in Delaware in February. That suit is attempting to remove several board members, and Bouchard was quoted as saying at that time that he and Braidy Industries “had line of sight and was in discussion with investors to fund the entire $1.8 billion needed to build [the] mill in Ashland, Kentucky, in alignment with customer purchasing schedules.”
Other allegations stemming from the current board’s investigative report include that Bouchard ordered a $100,000 fence surrounding the mill property be built to hide the lack of construction from visiting journalists; that he told a potential investor the company was considering building more than one mill; that he told an investor he was positioning the company to “buy a multibillion-dollar European automotive and aerospace conglomerate that had more than 50,000 employees;" and that he did not pass on news of a revised $600 million estimated increase in construction costs to fellow board members.
According to the online AP article, the report says the last incident “raises serious questions about Mr. Bouchard’s ethics, judgment and willingness to expose Braidy to risk and potential liabilities.”