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Chicago Tribune – Chicago car charging station feud goes to court

Two companies are battling in court to take over Chicago’s electric vehicle charging stations, which sit unfinished and abandoned amid a backlog of unpaid bills.

Both JNS Holdings Corp. in Arlington Heights and Miami-based Car Charging Group claim to have binding legal agreements with 350Green to take over the business, according to court documents. California-based 350Green had been building out Chicago’s network of charging stations under a grant agreement with the city that tapped state and federal funds.

The two companies claim 350Green signed a deal with one party, then turned and signed a deal with another. 350Green has joined forces with its former adversary Car Charging Group to try to block JNS from taking over Chicago’s charging stations.

Court documents show that initially Car Charging Group sued 350Green and JNS to attempt to block the Chicago deal from happening, arguing that they’d signed a deal with 350Green a month earlier to take over the business.

Then, less than a week later, Car Charging Group withdrew its complaint, telling a U.S. District Court judge in New York that they’d settled the matter with 350Green out of court.

But left out of those settlements, according to court documents, was JNS Holdings, which this week said it was meeting with Chicago officials to negotiate the takeover of 350Green’s severed $1.9 million grant agreement after successfully negotiating a deal with 350Green. Court documents show JNS signed a deal with 350Green April 17 to assume $1.6 million in liabilities stemming from the beleaguered project.

JNS is among about a dozen contractors who are owed tens of thousands of dollars from 350Green. As an electrical contractor, JNS installed 41 percent of the 168 chargers installed thus far as part of the project and is owed approximately $160,000 according to court documents.

Car Charging Group and 350Green are asking a judge to declare JNS’s agreement with 350Green null and void so that Car Charging Group can take over the Chicago charging stations as well as 350Green’s projects in 20 other markets, which are also on hold.

New York Attorney Randall Newman, who represented JNS in the New York suit, called Car Charging Group’s complaints “frivolous” and said that JNS will fight to hold onto the Chicago project.


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