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8480 E. Orchard Road Suite 4000
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 the ene... more.
Stanford Air Force ROTC
The Coal Association of Canada
Western Electricity Coordinating Council
Board of Trustees Member
University of South Carolina
NAPG | North American Power Group
Michael J. Ruffatto established North American Power Group, Ltd. (NAPG) in Englewood, Colorado in 1992.
Mike Ruffatto has over 30 years in the gas, oil, and energy trading and power generation industries, including both regulated and unregulated businesses. He served as a Board of Trustees member of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council from 1999 to 2002.
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.
Michael Ruffatto, North American Power Group
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."
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.