No more member-owned cooperative La Plata Electric Association money for Jeff Berman! In 2011, Jeff filed personal bankruptcy, and in 2012, his house was foreclosed. In 2007, Jeff promised farmers, the governor and banks that his “green” sunflower crops would provide jobs and fuel. Four years later, the plant was shuttered. The business he formed, San Juan Bioenergy, was $4.3 million in debt. It owed $3 million to Community Banks of Colorado, $460,000 (from a state loan) from Region 9 Economic
Development District and $780,000 loan from the Community Economic Development. Sixty-two investors were wiped out and Jeff, the activist-turned entrepreneur, was to blame. The bait and switch from biodiesel to sunflower oil didn’t work; the idea for more green innovations included solar or wind also failed. The locals in Dove Creek sent Berman packing because he was focusing too much on renewable energy and not keeping enough money on hand for the business of running a cooperative sunflower plant. Sound familiar?
Berman, the activist-turned-failed businessman-back-to-activist made more than $21,000 last year from our cooperative. Based on minutes of board meetings, Jeff has cost the members (you) $9,000 since the first of the year, and Durango needs to send him packing, too. Vote for William A. Waters, a businessman, father, multi-generation resident who is open-minded and cares deeply about the dysfunction Jeff has causes in the La Plata Electric board room!
Christi Zeller Durango