A developer who has been a primary business contact for the City of Industry as its seeks to create a large, urban solar power farm owes millions of dollars to creditors because of troubled past developments, government records show.
The proposed private-public energy project envisions a 444-megawatt solar array being built on ranch land near the borders of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties. Despite the scale of the endeavor and involvement of millions in taxpayer funds, little is known about the company leading the efforts or the people who could benefit financially from the deal.
La Jolla-based developer William Barkett describes himself as an unpaid adviser with a “very limited” role in San Gabriel Valley Water and Power LLC, the private energy firm selected to develop the project on open land atop the Chino Hills.
City records and interviews show Barkett has been the city’s main point of contact on reimbursements and financial matters involving the company and project.
Industry officials referred questions about Barkett’s role to San Gabriel Valley Water and Power. A company representative said Barkett is an adviser, but declined to elaborate.
Barkett declined to be interviewed but said in an email he has a long history of domestic and international development experience and special knowledge of the property involved in the solar project.
Court records show Barkett has been pursued by debt collectors after $50 million in legal judgments naming him as an individual were lodged on previous ventures.
Howard Justus, president of Vindrauga Corp., an investment firm specializing in…
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