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Former Fisker CEO seeks aid to testify before Congress

Washington — Former Fisker CEO and co-founder Henrik Fisker disclosed he received no severance, pension or other benefits when he left the struggling plug-in hybrid automaker last month, and wants Congress to pay for his travel to testify this month.

Fisker told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that he received nothing when he left.

“I do not have a job or permanent income at the moment. I left the company without any severance, benefits, or pension or any equity,” Fisker told the committee in an email on Wednesday.

Fisker said in his email he has stock options that represent less than 0.7 percent of Fisker, “which are not liquid and have no value.”

Fisker didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

On Friday, Anaheim, Calif.-based Fisker, which has been beset by problems and funding shortfalls, laid off 75 percent of its staff — about 160 of its employees, including its entire public relations department — as it searches for an investor or buyer and prepares for a possible bankruptcy. Several published reports said the carmaker was actively making preparations for a bankruptcy filing that could come within a week.

In 2009, Fisker won $529 million in low-cost Energy Department loans and spent $193 million, mostly to develop its Karma model. The electric car, whose fan base included singer Justin Bieber, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and former Vice President Al Gore, was designed and engineered in the United States but assembled in Finland.

The Energy Department froze the rest of the loan in 2011 amid problems at Fisker. The Energy Department would be Fisker’s top creditor if the company filed for bankruptcy, and would have to decide what to do with the firm.

Last month, the Energy Department disclosed it doesn’t plan to award any more loans from the $25 billion auto loan program created by Congress in 2007, despite the fact that it has $16.6 billion remaining and seven applications pending.

Fisker, 49, a well-regarded former BMW, Aston-Martin and Ford Motor Co. designer, founded the startup luxury firm, Fisker Coachbuild, in 2004, which eventually became Fisker Automotive in 2007, when it merged with another firm.

He has offered to testify before the House committee if they will provide travel and accommodations, which is investigating the Obama administration’s auto loan program.


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