Solar Titan placed in receivership after TN, KY AGs file lawsuit
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A federal judge granted a motion from the Tennessee and Kentucky Attorneys General for a temporary restraining order against solar panel retailer Ideal Horizon Benefits LLC, known as Solar Titan USA.
The motion was filed with a lawsuit against Solar Titans, its owners, and related lender Solar Mosaic seeking permanent injunctive relief, consumer restitution and civil penalties.
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron jointly filed the motion.
In granting the order, the Court found cause to believe that immediate and irreparable harm would result from Solar Titan’s ongoing violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act, Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and other state and federal laws. The Court also found the State was likely to succeed on its claims against Solar Titan and its principals and that there was good cause to believe the company has “engaged in acts and practices that violate state and federal consumer protection laws which authorize … this Court to grant the extraordinary relief provided [by the order.]”
“Companies that cheat customers through false representations should and will be held accountable,” Skrmetti said in a news release. “Our Consumer Protection team has spent countless hours investigating hundreds of complaints related to Solar Titan. I appreciate their diligence and dedication to serving Tennessee.”
“Deceptive business practices have no place in Kentucky’s marketplace,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a news release. “We filed this complaint against Solar Titan to protect Kentucky solar consumers and utility workers from being harmed by these practices, and we are thankful the court agreed with our request.”
Cameron’s office also received consumer complaints against Solar Titan, based in Knoxville, which sells and installs solar systems. The complaints describe the company’s failure to complete installations in a timely manner, misrepresenting electricity utility bill savings, and misleading consumers regarding their eligibility for federal tax credits.
Under the order, Solar Titan USA is enjoined from engaging in the unfair and deceptive practices alleged in the complaint and assets have been frozen for both the company and its principals.
The investigation revealed that Solar Titan likely not only defrauded customers but also failed to follow proper installation and permitting procedures, which poses a risk to consumers and utility workers alike, according to a news release.
The investigation also uncovered evidence indicating that Solar Titan’s principals were potentially misappropriating consumer funds by making lavish personal purchases instead of paying employees or fulfilling obligations to customers.
On Monday, in addition to requesting a restraining order and asking the court to appoint a receiver to ensure the company’s assets are preserved for the benefit of customers, the attorneys generals filed a complaint against Solar Titan and its primary lender, Solar Mosaic, for violations of state and federal consumer protection law.
On Tuesday, a U.S. District Judge in Knoxville granted their request for a temporary restraining order and appointment of a receiver and issued an order.
As a result of these actions, Solar Titan and its owners must:
- Cease conducting unlawful business in Kentucky and Tennessee.
- Allow the appointed receiver to oversee and manage the company.
- Stop using customer funds to purchase luxury items, like vehicles, homes, boats and airplanes.
A Court-appointed receiver has taken control of the company, its headquarters, accounts, records and assets. The receiver, State of Tennessee and State of Kentucky were granted immediate access to the business offices and records. Additionally, the company and its principals must provide complete financial statements to the State and receiver and repatriate any assets being kept overseas.
The Tennessee Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs will continue to act as a clearinghouse for consumer complaints, but the receiver has requested that consumers with complaints also share them with the receiver through the Solar Titan USA website.
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