A Rutland-area wood-pellet dealer who failed to fulfill a number of prepaid customer orders has agreed to liquidate personal assets for the benefit of his customers and pay penalties to the state, according to Elliot Burg, assistant attorney general of Vermont.
Last week, Luis Algarin of Florence, president of Vermont Wood Energy Corporation (VWE)-which has filed for bankruptcy-and his wife Lisa signed an assurance of discontinuance with the Vermont Office of Attorney General.
Commenting on the settlement, Attorney General William Sorrell said, "In response to this business' string of broken promises, we'll continue to work to make consumers whole."
The settlement requires-
•The sale of land that the Algarins own in Texas and New Hampshire, the proceeds to be used to reimburse consumers who ordered pellets from VWE but never received them. If funds allow, the state will receive $80,000 in civil penalties.
•Five years' worth of reporting by the Algarins to the Attorney General's Office of income and assets, which, if sufficient, will give rise to an obligation to make up any shortfall in the payments to consumers and the state.
•Strict limits on the sale of other business and personal assets by Luis or Lisa Algarin.
It is anticipated that complaints by VWE customers who bought pellet stoves will be resolved through the company's bankruptcy, by the manufacturer, and/or by agreement with the attorney general at a later time.