New Energy Times Editorial Commentary (Feb. 1, 2006)
I've been investigating iESi since June 4, 2005. Most of the references on the "DIY" blog listed below appear to agree with my findings, though I have not yet looked at every reference in detail.
Since the start of my investigation, I have been, at various times, in direct communication with many iESi personnel, including; Patrick Cochrane (chief executive officer), Tom Bugg (president), Norman Arrison (staff scientist), Mark Boocock (U.K. managing director), Hywel Rees (U.K. sales and partnerships director), Terry Dingwall (ex-president), Hyunik Yang (ex-senior scientist), Nahm Cho (ex-senior scientist), Bill Harrington (ex-staff scientist), Alaine Liberty (technician), and Ken Pierce (technician).
I have seen several court documents pertaining to pending actions by the company against ex-employees, and actions by the ex-employees, who are shareholders and who also are acting on behalf of many of the other shareholders.
The "company," in this regard, is the board of directors, namely Patrick Cochrane, Ronald Foster, Fred Dornan and Tom Bugg. They, not the shareholders at large, appear to be fully responsible for the state of the company and the alleged misdeeds.
The former senior scientist, Hyunik Yang, told me last fall that he had been hastily appointed to the board sometime around August. According to Yang, he resigned from the board a month or two later after starting to see the management problems. On Dec. 1, he informed me that he was no longer working with iESi.
The story behind iESi is certainly a fascinating one. It may not please many people. Certainly, the several hundred private investors who cumulatively contributed a few million dollars to the company may not be pleased to start learning about the troubles with the company. Some of the good-hearted employees of the company, like Norm Arrison, may be shocked and disappointed to hear about the mess the company is really in and some of the alleged wrongdoings on the part of the remaining directors.
What will become of iESi is uncertain, as is its licensing claim to any intellectual property potentially conveyed by Hyunik Yang. I am told by several sources that there are 20 separate agreements between Yang and Cochrane, and between Yang and iESi that govern the licensing of the intellectual property. I also am told that several of these agreements contradict one another. These matters are now in the hands of half a dozen attorneys on behalf of Yang and probably as many on behalf of the iESi board.
Will the true owners of iESi, the hundreds of shareholders, ever see the development of the intellectual property and see a return on their investment? It's hard to say at the moment.
The iESi story is about wildcatters: bold businessmen willing to take high risks, and like sharks smelling blood in the water, swarming to what they think is a vein of gold in an apparent cold fusion gold rush.
Is it fool's gold? I'm undecided. The underlying science reported by Yang and Vysotskii at ICCF12 has multiple inexplicable characteristics. But they've been highly secretive and have refused to reveal any hard data.
Has the iESi leadership contributed to the progress and the development of this technology? For a while, at least, they most certainly did. Can they be credited for their willingness to take a risk on a new source of clean energy? Absolutely. Did they bring research funds into the field and promote progress? Yes, they can be given that credit, as well.
However, does the current board of directors have what it takes to salvage this company? That is a question every shareholder should be asking right now. Unfortunately, it's too late to get your money back. That offer, made by the iESi board in the Dec. 8, 2005, shareholder's update, expired two hours ago, on Jan. 31, 2006, which coincidentally was the same time my embargo agreement expired with iESi, as well.
Is the leadership at iESi typical of businesspeople who are investing in cold fusion? Fortunately, no, but this is not the first, nor will it be the last that companies are willing to make possible errors in judgments hoping for cold fusion profits.
I am pleased to say several companies in the United States, and some in Europe are making careful, conscientious efforts to develop cold fusion. However, they are remaining private and staying under the radar for now. They are not putting themselves in the predicament of taking money from public investors. This seems wise to me. Eventually, cold fusion will be commercially viable, but which company, or companies will figure out the answers? That's anybody's guess.
As much as I'm a proponent of cold fusion, I would say that this is not a time to invest your life savings or your IRA in cold fusion. This is a time for angel investors who can afford to take risks and who want to contribute to a great alternative to fossil fuels.
-Steven B. Krivit