The feds want their money.
Lordstown Motors faced some troubling accusations last month when Hindenburg Research, the same short-seller firm that exposed fellow EV truck maker Nikola's bad business methods last fall, issued a similar report regarding the Ohio-based company. To summarize, Lordstown was accused of misleading investors regarding the capabilities of the Endurance truck, a rival to the fully electric version of the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission was already quietly investigating Lordstown weeks before Hindenburg's report was released.
The investigation remains ongoing but now the Associated Press reports Lordstown has another problem. It failed to pay $570,000 in real estate taxes that were due in early March, a very troubling sign for a publically traded company that brought in $675 million in proceeds from the transaction.
A Lordstown spokesperson claims the non-payment was nothing more than an "unfortunate administrative error" and it fully intends to pay the tax along with a 10 percent penalty. Even if this was purely an "error," Lordstown is still facing bigger issues like a tumbling stock price and up to four class-action lawsuits by investors who claim they're victims of fraud.
Those lawsuits are a direct result of Hindenburg Research whose extensive investigation found out, among other warning signs, that a $735 million deal for 14,000 fleet trucks is bogus because the buyer doesn't even operate a vehicle fleet; they're nothing more than a one-person shop with headquarters registered to an apartment building in Texas.
Last June, Lordstown Motors celebrated the reveal of the Endurance at its factory in Lordstown, Ohio. It was quite a big event with company executives and line workers all present.
Now-former Vice President Mike Pence even showed up, proclaiming "This is just a great day, an exciting day, where not too long ago we had heartbreaking news," referring to General Motors' 2018 announcement it intended to close the plant, once the home of the Chevy Cruze. "Today is a new beginning for Lordstown and a new day for leadership with electric vehicles."
An awful lot can change in less than a year.