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2016-08-31T00:00:00.000Z

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Wrong Michael Ruffatto?

Mr. Michael J. Ruffatto

President and Majority Owner

North American Power Group , Ltd.

Direct Phone: (949) ***-****       

Email: m***@***.com

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North American Power Group , Ltd.

8480 E. Orchard Road Suite 4000

Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111

United States

Company Description

North American Power Group, Ltd., is a privately held company headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado. NAPG develops, owns, operates and manages energy-related projects. Drawing upon seasoned professionals with years of experience in all facets of th ... more

Find other employees at this company (7)

Background Information

Affiliations

Delegate
The Coal Association of Canada

Founder
Tri-Gen Resources

Board of Trustees Member
Western Electricity Coordinating Council

Web References (113 Total References)


North American Power Group founder and ...

www.wyofile.com [cached]

North American Power Group founder and president Michael J. Ruffatto, an established Denver energy attorney, said he had a better idea.

In his pitch to investors and Wyoming officials, Ruffatto proposed building a large power plant smack in the center of Wyoming coal country.
"Waste coal" from the nearby mines could be gathered just for the cost of picking it up, Ruffatto said, trucked to the Two Elk plant and burned to produce power for the American southwest. The lower BTU rate was okay because Two Elk would not have to pay rail freight costs. he high ash content, he said, would be handled with the state's first ash storage and disposal facility, also to be located on the Two Elk site.
...
To finance Two Elk's construction, Ruffatto petitioned then-governor Jim Geringer in 1997 for Industrial Development Revenue Bonds.
...
But Ruffatto and his bond attorneys successfully convinced the state that the Two Elk plant qualified for a much greater dollar amount under an exception in the federal Internal Revenue Code for "solid waste disposal."
...
In a November 2007 sworn affidavit for the Department of Environmental Quality, Ruffatto listed electricity generation as a secondary role for the plant. "Two Elk will recycle and dispose of non-commercial or waste coal exposed during the mining process from adjacent surface mines, also producing electricity in the process," he wrote.
...
Over the years, Ruffatto and other Two Elk representatives have listed a number of reasons for the delay in construction. One of the companies expected to partner with the North American Power Group in the project, for example, got caught in the backwash of the Enron collapse in Houston.
Two Elk, they said, was also having trouble getting access to electricity transmission lines leading out of the Powder River basin. An initial 2004 transmission agreement with PacifiCorp, the Portland, Oregon-based utility, fell apart. Two Elk's deposit of $506,000 was refunded, but not until Ruffatto had used a cancelled check for the deposit to seek more bonding authority from Gov.


After working briefly for another Phoenix ...

www.wyofile.com [cached]

After working briefly for another Phoenix law firm - Powers, Ehrenreich & Kurn - Ruffatto took a job with a private crude oil and petroleum product trading firm, Crysen Corp., which was headquartered in Santa Ana, California. Ruffatto and his young family - he married Phoenix grade school teacher Joan Burrows Smith in 1978 - moved there in 1982.

At Crysen, Ruffatto, describing his role as "problem solving," concentrated on complicated crude oil transactions.
...
Ruffatto developed the Tri-Gen joint venture into a significant gas trading business with offices in Orange, California, and Denver.
...
Also in 1988, Ruffatto bought out Edgington's share of the Tri-Gen joint venture and immediately sold 51 percent of the company to North Canadian Oils, Ltd., the Calgary energy arm of Canadian business tycoons Peter and Edward Bronfman.
...
The Bronfmans were looking for an outlet for Alberta natural gas and they asked Ruffatto to run their California shop.
But in January 1990 the Bronfman brothers discharged Ruffatto, triggering a minority stock buy-out provision under his employment agreement. In his resignation announcement with an energy trade magazine, Ruffatto said that "in three short years" since he formed Tri-Gen, the company had reached $75 million in sales and had $20 million in assets.
Mike Ruffatto
...
Mike Ruffatto
The Bronfmans disagreed with the amount Ruffatto demanded for his 49 percent share of the company, and the parties went into arbitration, reaching a settlement in late 1990 that made Ruffatto, who had been in the energy business a little over a decade, a millionaire many times over.
After moving to Colorado with his family - wife Joan and their two children - Ruffatto began to look for a way to invest the fortune he had made in the Tri-Gen buy out.
In late 1992 he found it.
By carefully following the affairs of two financially troubled companies, Ultrasystems Inc., a defense contractor and energy company in Irvine, California, and Hadson Corp., an Oklahoma energy company, Ruffatto saw his opportunity in Oklahoma City bankruptcy court.
...
Ruffatto, who from his days with Crysen Corp. had shown an interest in cogeneration and alternative power sources, had been carefully tracking the progress of the four Ultrasystems-Hadson power plants. Badly overextended and deeply in debt, Hadson Corp. in 1992 filed for reorganization under bankruptcy in Oklahoma City federal court.
Ruffatto then made his move. It was by all accounts a brilliant business maneuver.
According to federal bankruptcy records, Ruffatto paid only $1.7 million for Hadson's 6 percent share of the plants. He then moved quickly to buy out Chrysler Capital and Pitney Bowes, both of which, in his words, "wanted to exit this area of business" and were ready to make favorable deals for their shares.
...
That was the case in the early part of the 1990s when - like farmers paid not to grow crops - Mike Ruffatto was paid not to operate two of his newly acquired power plants. For what was already a great deal, it was icing on the cake.
In late 1992 Ruffatto used the money he made in the North Canadian Oils arbitration settlement, the money he leveraged from the purchase of the four California power plants out of bankruptcy court, and the money he was receiving for idling his two plants, to create his new Denver-based company, North American Power Group Ltd.
Corona del Mar beachfront satellite view (click to enlarge)
Mike Ruffatto bought this waterfront home at 105 Bayside Place, Corona del Mar, California, in 2004 for $7.8 million. He sold it in 2009 to Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno for $12.1 million. (click to enlarge)
And it is no wonder that, given all his recent business victories, Ruffatto was brimming with confidence. He and his wife had bought an enormous new home and stable in the most exclusive neighborhood of suburban Denver's Cherry Hills Village. They had a huge motor yacht moored in San Diego Harbor, and they were negotiating to buy a bay-front home with its own pier in Corona del Mar. (After his wife died in 2007, Ruffatto sold the waterfront house to Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno for $12.1 million, about what Ruffatto had paid for his half of the four California power plants.)
Already a success by most measures, he was now ready to turn it into something bigger in the Rocky Mountain region, where he saw potential for small, aggressive, privately held energy companies like his new venture, North American Power Group.
As he told the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in testimony in 2000:
...
But when North American failed to win the final contract, instead of swallowing the bad news and moving on, Ruffatto decided to make a public fight of it. In a rare investigative hearing before the Public Utilities Commission, he accused PSCO of rigging the bids to favor companies with which it already had a relationship.
...
Yet, even if he won the battle, Ruffatto risked alienating his biggest potential customer.
"Mike lost out and felt that he shouldn't have lost," recalled Muller, who was then director of the Colorado Independent Power Producers Association, which included NAPG as one of its members.
...
"Mike is a strong-minded guy and I think he felt that with his successes in California - he made some pretty good money on some plants out there - that he wasn't going to get pushed around.
...
In words of Administrative Law Judge Arthur G. Staliwe, who oversaw the process, Ruffatto felt that NAPG had been "ambushed" by the utility when it ordered changes in the original proposal.
...
Ruffatto testified that he was deeply offended by the PSCO accusations.
"Public Service has made many uncomplimentary remarks about NAPG's ability to deliver the projects," Ruffatto said.
...
The PUC ruled against Ruffatto and NAPG.
...
Despite the setback, Ruffatto and NAPG continued to bid on projects for PSCO contracts. In 2006, Ruffatto even went so far as to issue a press release announcing a $1.2-billion power plant and transmission project tailored for the PSCO parent company, Xcel Energy, in Wyoming. Whether he intended it or not, the release gave the impression that the Xcel plant was practically a done deal.
"We are excited by the opportunity to serve Colorado's growing energy needs with electricity generated from clean coal technologies in Wyoming's Powder River Basin," Ruffatto said in the PR Newswire release.
But that ambitious proposal, like others, was almost immediately rejected by Xcel, which issued a press release stating that the company planned to focus power development in Colorado. In fact, Ruffatto and his company have never won a contract from Xcel or PSCO, the biggest utility in their home state.
"I feel that Mike probably shot himself in the foot earlier by being so shrill in the battle before the PUC," said Muller.
...
But some of the charges leveled at NAPG before the Colorado PUC - that the company consistently missed deadlines, that it was under-financed, that it skewed facts and misrepresented negotiations, that it failed to obtain the necessary permitting - were the same ones that would haunt Ruffatto and his company for the next 15 years in Wyoming in the Two Elk project, and which would lead to the suspension of the $10 million in stimulus grants he received from the U.S. Department of Energy.


But Mike Ruffatto, president ...

www.marinij.com [cached]

But Mike Ruffatto, president of North American Power Group, said, "We don't think we were in default nor that it was an effective cancellation of the contract."


Two Elk Stimulus: Big paychecks but no new jobs

wyofile.com [cached]

Federal pay invoices show that Michael J. Ruffatto, founder and CEO of North American Power Group Ltd., based in Greenwood Village, CO, received $955,343.29, and Brad Enzi, NAPG's Cheyenne-based representative and son of Wyoming US Sen.

...
According to the National Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, Ruffatto and Enzi's compensation is nearly 20 percent of the total spent so far on the project.
...
However, in his most recent quarterly filing to the National Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, Ruffatto, a millionaire lawyer and philanthropist who heads the scientific project, reported that "no new direct jobs have been created for this project."
Rather than creating new jobs, Ruffatto reported, a percentage of his and other North American Power Group employees' wages were paid for with stimulus funds. He estimated that, in addition, 15 "indirect jobs" and 60 "induced jobs" have been created by the federal stimulus money.
...
At one point, Ruffatto told investors of plans to build seven power plants on the Two Elk site - biomass, coal and natural gas - to provide power to Colorado and the American Southwest.
Had the dream been realized, he would have commanded a sizeable private utility.
...
Ruffatto said that North American still hoped to convert the bonds, now taxable, to "tax exempt bonds at a later date."
In his letter, however, IRS supervisor Henn wrote that Campbell County and North American Power Group "should strongly consider the appropriateness of any future tax-exempt issuances with respect to the project unless there is an imminently implementable plan to buy them back."
Meanwhile, North American's website and public statements no longer mention "waste coal" in connection with the Two Elk power plant. Instead, as Ruffatto wrote in an October 26, 2010 letter to the California Energy Commission, it now plans to burn "woody waste resulting from the removal of hazardous fuels in forests throughout the western United States due to an epidemic of mountain pine beetles."
76 Hours Per Week @ $214.38 Per Hour
Approved in 2009 and 2010, the federal stimulus grants to North American Power Group allowed Ruffatto to use federal funds to pay a significant portion of his own salary and that of several of his key employees, including Enzi, while waiting for conditions to improve for the construction of the Two Elk power plant.
...
Ruffatto bills the government $214.38 an hour as "chief investigator" for the stimulus project.
...
Ruffatto, 65, said in a telephone interview that his hourly rates were worked out in advance with DOE and, in his case, represented a "discount" from his normal rate of pay as chief executive of a regional energy company with offices in Colorado, California and Wyoming.
October salaries and fringe invoice documentation
A salaries and fringe benefits invoice for employees from the North American Power Group and North American Land & Livestock for the month of October. (courtesy of the Department of Energy - click to enlarge)
In one month alone - October, 2010 - Ruffatto was paid $73,369.52 in salary and benefits from the stimulus funds, according to the invoices obtained by WyoFile. Ruffatto reported working 305 hours in that month - or 76 hours a week- for the stimulus project, while also performing his other duties as CEO of North American Power Group.
By comparison, the Wyoming median household income for an entire year is $54,400, according to the most recent census reports. Ruffatto received more in federal pay and benefits during the two-year period than President Obama, whose annual salary is set at $400,000 with a $50,000 expense allowance.
According to his company website, Ruffatto founded privately-held North American Power Group in 1992:
"Ruffatto has over 30 years in the gas, oil and energy trading and power generation industries, including both regulated and unregulated businesses, as a businessman and lawyer. Mike served as a Board of Trustees member of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council from 1999-2002."
A company presentation prepared for investors in December 2006 reported NAPG's annual revenues at $85 million, with total assets at $614 million and a net annual income of $20 million.
Accordingly, Ruffatto maintains an upper income lifestyle. Public records show he owns homes in Colorado and California. The Arapahoe County Assessor appraises Ruffatto's 6,000 square foot estate on 10.7 acres in the affluent Cherry Hills Village suburb south of Denver at $9 million.
...
Michael Ruffatto's home in Corona del Mar, California, is worth approximately $2 million. (Sarah Tempest/WyoFile - click to enlarge)
Public records show that Ruffatto also owns a smaller home that is valued in the neighborhood of $2-million in Corona del Mar, California, an extremely affluent Orange County beach community. In July 2009, the Orange County Business Journal reported that Ruffatto sold another, much more dramatic home in Corona del Mar for $12.1 million to Los Angeles Angels baseball team owner Arte Moreno.
Ruffatto is also a generous philanthropist and regular political contributor, primarily to Democrats, but also to Republicans.
In 2007, he and his late wife Joan gave $5 million to the University of Denver, where their daughter had attended college. Because of the gift, a building in the Morgridge College of Education is now named Ruffatto Hall. In 2009, Ruffatto was named in a Stanford University press release as a major donor to the university's new $100 million Precourt Institute for Energy. The amount he gave was not disclosed.
Earlier this year, Ruffatto became engaged to prominent Orange County socialite Eve Kornyei.
...
According to records at the Federal Election Commission, Ruffatto contributes to candidates of both major political parties, most recently $4,800 to the successful 2010 US Senate campaign of freshman Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet. But he has also donated in the past to conservative Arizona Republican US Sen.
...
"I don't think Mike Ruffatto has ever met my dad," Brad Enzi, 36, said in a recent interview.
...
Detwiler said the budget specialists concluded that "the salary and benefits being paid to Mr. Ruffatto and Mr. Enzi are appropriate for their skill set and the work they perform."
...
The North American Power Group project hired Montana State University, which helped Ruffatto write the proposal for the stimulus grant, and Stanford University, where Professor Sally Benson, like Surdam at UW, is a leading scientist in the area of geologic storage of CO2 in deep underground formations, as subcontractors.
...
"We were very fortunate," said Ruffatto, a political science graduate of Stanford University and law school alum of the University of South Carolina, "to be chosen among a number of other projects throughout the United States, each one of which is obviously looking at different features, different geologies, the end result of which is going to be to add to the knowledge base and data base that the Department of Energy and others have been trying to promote and hopefully commercialize."
- Frequent contributor Rone Tempest is a former national and foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. From 2008-2010 he was WyoFile's editor. He lives in Lander.
...
Keywords: Brad Enzi, Carbon Site Characterization, Energy Park, Michael Ruffatto, Mike Enzi, North American Power Group, Powder River Basin, stimulus, Two Elk
...
"In one month alone - October, 2010 - Ruffatto was paid $73,369.52 in salary and benefits from the stimulus funds, according to the invoices obtained by WyoFile. Ruffatto reported working 305 hours in that month - or 76 hours a week- for the stimulus project, while also performing his other duties as CEO of North American Power Group.
By comparison, the Wyoming median household income for an entire year is $54,400, according to the most recent census reports. Ruffatto received more in federal pay and benefits during the two-year period than President Obama, whose annual salary is set at $400,000 with a $50,000 expense allowance."


Federal pay invoices show that ...

kgab.com [cached]

Federal pay invoices show that Michael J. Ruffatto, founder and CEO of North American Power Group Ltd., based in Greenwood Village, CO, received $955,343.29, and Brad Enzi, NAPG's Cheyenne-based representative and son of Wyoming US Sen.

...
According to the National Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, Ruffatto and Enzi's compensation is nearly 20 percent of the total spent so far on the project.
...
However, in his most recent quarterly filing to the National Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, Ruffatto, a millionaire lawyer and philanthropist who heads the scientific project, reported that "no new direct jobs have been created for this project."
Rather than creating new jobs, Ruffatto reported, a percentage of his and other North American Power Group employees' wages were paid for with stimulus funds. He estimated that, in addition, 15 "indirect jobs" and 60 "induced jobs" have been created by the federal stimulus money.
...
At one point, Ruffatto told investors of plans to build seven power plants on the Two Elk site - biomass, coal and natural gas - to provide power to Colorado and the American Southwest.
Had the dream been realized, he would have commanded a sizeable private utility.
...
Ruffatto said that North American still hoped to convert the bonds, now taxable, to "tax exempt bonds at a later date."
In his letter, however, IRS supervisor Henn wrote that Campbell County and North American Power Group "should strongly consider the appropriateness of any future tax-exempt issuances with respect to the project unless there is an imminently implementable plan to buy them back."
Meanwhile, North American's website and public statements no longer mention "waste coal" in connection with the Two Elk power plant. Instead, as Ruffatto wrote in an October 26, 2010 letter to the California Energy Commission, it now plans to burn "woody waste resulting from the removal of hazardous fuels in forests throughout the western United States due to an epidemic of mountain pine beetles."
76 Hours Per Week @ $214.38 Per Hour
Approved in 2009 and 2010, the federal stimulus grants to North American Power Group allowed Ruffatto to use federal funds to pay a significant portion of his own salary and that of several of his key employees, including Enzi, while waiting for conditions to improve for the construction of the Two Elk power plant.
...
Ruffatto bills the government $214.38 an hour as "chief investigator" for the stimulus project.
...
Ruffatto, 65, said in a telephone interview that his hourly rates were worked out in advance with DOE and, in his case, represented a "discount" from his normal rate of pay as chief executive of a regional energy company with offices in Colorado, California and Wyoming.
October salaries and fringe invoice documentation
October Salaries and Fringe Invoice Documentation (DOE/WyoFile)
In one month alone - October, 2010 - Ruffatto was paid $73,369.52 in salary and benefits from the stimulus funds, according to the invoices obtained by WyoFile. Ruffatto reported working 305 hours in that month - or 76 hours a week- for the stimulus project, while also performing his other duties as CEO of North American Power Group.
By comparison, the Wyoming median household income for an entire year is $54,400, according to the most recent census reports. Ruffatto received more in federal pay and benefits during the two-year period than President Obama, whose annual salary is set at $400,000 with a $50,000 expense allowance.
According to his company website, Ruffatto founded privately-held North American Power Group in 1992:
"Ruffatto has over 30 years in the gas, oil and energy trading and power generation industries, including both regulated and unregulated businesses, as a businessman and lawyer. Mike served as a Board of Trustees member of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council from 1999-2002."
A company presentation prepared for investors in December 2006 reported NAPG's annual revenues at $85 million, with total assets at $614 million and a net annual income of $20 million.
Accordingly, Ruffatto maintains an upper income lifestyle. Public records show he owns homes in Colorado and California. The Arapahoe County Assessor appraises Ruffatto's 6,000 square foot estate on 10.7 acres in the affluent Cherry Hills Village suburb south of Denver at $9 million.
...
Michael Ruffatto's home in Corona del Mar, California, is worth approximately $2 million. (Sarah Tempest/WyoFile)
Public records show that Ruffatto also owns a smaller home that is valued in the neighborhood of $2-million in Corona del Mar, California, an extremely affluent Orange County beach community. In July 2009, the Orange County Business Journal reported that Ruffatto sold another, much moredramatic home in Corona del Mar for $12.1 million to Los Angeles Angels baseball team owner Arte Moreno.
Ruffatto is also a generous philanthropist and regular political contributor, primarily to Democrats, but also to Republicans.
In 2007, he and his late wife Joan gave $5 million to the University of Denver, where their daughter had attended college. Because of the gift, a building in the Morgridge College of Education is now named Ruffatto Hall. In 2009, Ruffatto was named in a Stanford University press release as a major donor to the university's new $100 million Precourt Institute for Energy. The amount he gave was not disclosed.
Earlier this year, Ruffatto became engaged to prominent Orange County socialite Eve Kornyei.
...
According to records at the Federal Election Commission, Ruffatto contributes to candidates of both major political parties, most recently $4,800 to the successful 2010 US Senate campaign of freshman Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet. But he has also donated in the past to conservative Arizona Republican US Sen.
...
"I don't think Mike Ruffatto has ever met my dad," Brad Enzi, 36, said in a recent interview.
...
Detwiler said the budget specialists concluded that "the salary and benefits being paid to Mr. Ruffatto and Mr. Enzi are appropriate for their skill set and the work they perform."
...
The North American Power Group project hired Montana State University, which helped Ruffatto write the proposal for the stimulus grant, and Stanford University, where Professor Sally Benson, like Surdam at UW, is a leading scientist in the area of geologic storage of CO2 in deep underground formations, as subcontractors.
...
"We were very fortunate," said Ruffatto, a political science graduate of Stanford University and law school alum of the University of South Carolina, "to be chosen among a number of other projects throughout the United States, each one of which is obviously looking at different features, different geologies, the end result of which is going to be to add to the knowledge base and data base that the Department of Energy and others have been trying to promote and hopefully commercialize."
- Frequent contributor Rone Tempest is a former national and foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. From 2008-2010 he was Wyofile's editor. He lives in Lander.

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