Jim Nielsen and Brenda Wahl had a matrimonial partnership.
They set up several companies together – Wahl Marketing and Transportation, Inc., Alternative Power, Inc. (API) and Industrial Resource Recovery (IRR). In each of these – Wahl/Nielsen had a controlling interest (50% or more)
According to court records related to a lawsuit filed in 1990, Wahl claims to have started looking in 1980 at plans to build a co-generation plant in Northern California. In 1986, Wahl had managed to become the exclusive agent to haul rice hulls that were to be burned in such a plant. In December of 1986 she got an option to sell the power generated by such a plant to PG&E.
In early 1987 API and a huge energy conglomerate Oxford Energy entered in to a partnership. API would sell its’ knowledge and contracts to Oxford Energy.
The deal was worth about $1 Million in 1987 dollars plus rolling payments of $100k-$1million for 15 years depending on the profit from the plant.
Court records from the related lawsuit were sketchy as to what Oxford got for their money from API. Wahl was listed as an employee of Oxford for 2 1/2 years from March 1987-November 1989. The payment is listed for ‘Development Expenses’.
Here’s the problem – Jim Nielsen lobbied for and helped write a state grant program of $500,000 for Rice-Waste Burning Technologies. According to a local press report at the time, Jim Nielsen actually wrote the language that earmarked the money.
Then Nielsen voted yes on the Senate Floor.
The money ($500K) was given to the Rice Research Board which turned around and dropped $216,000 in to the API-Oxford plant in Williams, CA.
Jim Nielsen claimed publicly that he had no conflict of interest because he did not know where the money would end up. This sounds similar to Doug LaMalfa and the $5 million in Rice Farm Subsidies he has received, and now that he is headed to Congress he can vote to increase them.
Court Documents also show letters suggesting that Jim Nielsen knew 100% what he was doing and that his lobbying to benefit himself went beyond the floor of the Senate.
The Plant started getting in trouble because its’ waste was producing dangerous levels of Silica. The waste was dumped in the local dump and was hauled by, you guessed it, Wahl Marketing and Transportation Co.
Wahl and Nielsen’s marriage had failed in 1988-1989 and Nielsen was now married to wife #3. Wahl was having a dispute with Oxford energy over payments for hauling the ash. According to the records – Wahl blew the whistle about the toxic silica despite threats from Oxford Energy.
It appears that Jim Nielsen once again intervened similar to the pesticide situation.
A third partner in the API deal sued Jim Nielsen. Because the trucking firm hauling the ash was owned by Nielsen and Wahl – this partner Bert Williamson alleged that Nielsen double-dealed and diverted profits from API in to the trucking firm to get out of sharing them.
I am not sure what happened with the lawsuit. However, the attorney representing Jim Nielsen withdrew because Nielsen was being a difficult client and submitted an affidavit in court showing that Jim Nielsen owed $13,000 in legal fees.
to be continued…
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