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Former Blackjewel CEO says probe into financial transactions broad, unsupported

Former Blackjewel LLC President and CEO Jeff Hoops will provide an in-depth response to the investigation into his financial transactions, which was requested by the company and a committee of its unsecured creditors, by Jan. 21, according to a new court filing.

The company asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on Jan. 9 to authorize an investigation into financial transactions involving Hoops and related parties. Blackjewel and its creditors wrote to the court that the "woefully insolvent" status of the company leading to its bankruptcy in 2019 was due to Hoops transferring tens of millions of dollars worth of assets for the benefit of himself, his family and related entities over several years.

An attorney for Hoops wrote that Blackjewel and the unsecured creditors did not identify any specific transactions they seek to investigate. However, they said Blackjewel and the creditors based the request on "unsupported general reactions and hyperbole." They also said the inquiry seeks "extraordinarily broad, and in the case of financial information nearly limitless discovery from Mr. Hoops."

"The scope and breadth of the discovery sought ... goes far beyond the bounds of any legitimate inquiry into the operations and business of the debtors, and the entities' and individuals' involvement in or knowledge of the debtors' operations and business," the filing stated.

The motion for discovery included several companies associated with Hoops as well as several other related individuals.

Hoops was ousted from Blackjewel in July 2019 as part of a deal to finance the company's restructuring. Hoops' initial plan to finance the bankruptcy failed and led to operations being temporarily idled.