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Kentucky lawmakers want Braidy officials to testify

GREENUP, Ky. — Braidy Industries continues to be in the news. Last week, there was a shakeup of who would lead the company. Now, the State of Kentucky, which through its Commonwealth Seed Capital, LLC, is the largest stakeholder besides Braidy Industries founder Craig Bouchard, wants company representatives to meet and talk with company officials.

On Tuesday, Sen. Chris McDaniel said the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee, which he chairs, wants to meet with Braidy corporate officers next week to get an update on the proposed $1.7 billion rolling aluminum mill.

In April 2017, the commonwealth agreed to put $15 million into Braidy Industries’ rolling mill plant if it were built in Greenup County, Kentucky or another site in Kentucky. The letter of intent required that the rolling mill be built within five years and construction was to start in 2017.

Braidy Industries is to invest $1 billion in the plant.

As of yet, there are no visible signs of construction at the Braidy site along the Industrial Parkway that connects U.S. 64 and U.S. 23. The company said that when the rolling aluminum mill is completed, 45 acres of the factory will be under roof and the mill will be producing nearly 300,000 tons of milled aluminum for use in the automotive, airline and defense industries. The mill will employ about 650 people in a high-tech environment with robots and artificial technology in a factory with $580 million in new equipment. Construction of the mill will take two and a half years for the first phase and another year and a half for the second phase.

One of the investment provisions in the letter of intent by the Commonwealth of Kentucky is a section that says if the company does not invest $1 billion on or before June 30, 2020, in the construction and equipping of the project, the Commonwealth Seed Capital shall have the right to redeem the cost of the stocks.

Braidy Industries recently made news over who is the CEO of the corporation.

On Jan. 30, the company put out a press release that Bouchard was stepping down as the chief executive officer but would remain on the board and would continue his charitable work through the Braidy Hope Foundation established to support youth causes and combat opioid abuse in Ashland and Northeast Kentucky.

The press release said that Braidy Industries president Tom Modrowski, who has been with the company since it started, would be the interim CEO and that board member Charles Price would be chairman of the board of Braidy Industries.

In a Facebook post on Jan. 31, Bouchard wrote, “I have not stepped down as the CEO of Braidy Industries, and I am the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Braidy Atlas.”

The same day Braidy Industries released a statement reaffirming their decision.

“The Board of Directors of Braidy Industries confirmed its action of Jan. 28, 2020, removing Craig Bouchard as CEO and Chairman,” the statement said. “The Board and CEO Tom Modrowski are committed to the Ashland community and focused on building the Kentucky mill.”

The company said it was in the final fundraising stage.