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Mississippi looks to sue solar panel maker

Mississippi officials are considering whether they should sue a solar panel maker that recently announced it will be closing its Hattiesburg plant.

Jeff Rent, with the Mississippi Development Authority, said that Stion owes the state of Mississippi approximately $74 million.

“Gov. Bryant is disappointed Stion is ceasing operations in Hattiesburg,” said Clay Chandler, Director of Communications for Governor Phil Bryant. “This serves as a good example of why the Bryant Administration does not make sizable investments of taxpayer money in start-ups. The governor trusts the Mississippi Development Authority to protect the state’s interests moving forward.”

The company plans to close its plant Dec. 13, laying off 137 employees, initially the company promised the creation of 1,000 jobs in Hattiesburg.

Stion is reportedly trying to sell the factory to a buyer who will run it and sale proceeds would go to creditors, as an alternative to filing for bankruptcy.

“Stion officials have notified us that the company is discontinuing operations in Hattiesburg,” said Chad Newell, President for Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg. “Our primary concern is for the employees and their families.  Given that our market was recently ranked No. 1 for job growth among Mississippi metro areas and 68th nationally, I am confident many of these employees will have sufficient opportunities close to home.  Our economic development team here at the Area Development Partnership (ADP) is already providing assistance to connect employees with expanding employers.  The ADP is also recruiting area employers to participate in the Governor’s Job Fair slated for November 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. here at the Lake Terrace Convention Center.  We are working closely with the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to proactively market the space currently occupied by Stion so that our citizens continue to have employment opportunities in this first-class industrial facility.”

The Mississippi Development Authority said that the case has been handed over to Attorney General Jim Hood.

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