Attorney General: Windmill developer dupes hundreds of local investors
A court order has been issued against an Amherst company and its elderly founder blocking him from taking on investors and accusing him of ripping off hundreds across the region.
New York Attorney General Letitia James obtained a temporary restraining order in State Supreme Court, in Buffalo on Monday to stop Kean Wind Turbines and its founder Kean Stimm from continuing to defraud local investors. The 96-year-old Stimm told WBFO News more than a year ago that he has invented a "revolutionary wind turbine" 1/12th the size of a traditional windmill but 50 percent more efficient.
“We feel that this the answer to the world problem of energy,” and Stimm said. “It’s a simple design but very sophisticated science.”
James said since 2013, Stimm has told investors production was months away, but it never happened.
Speaking to WBFO News in January 2019, Still said production would start after his turbine was certified by a respected aerospace testing company.
“Certification, we believe, will be started probably in early summer and maybe take one or two months, depending on the wind itself. And once that’s completed, we’re ready to go,” Stimm said.
Investigators say Stimm raised more than $3.5 million from 435 environmentally conscious investors in Western New York using "false and misleading statements." And even though the company knew about the investigation in early 2020, James said “as the coronavirus spread Kean Wind continued to cheat New Yorkers out of their hard-earned money.”
Just last month investigators found Stimm and his company continued diverting investor funds for a penthouse apartment, a personal aide, a cruise, and even a piano — all while Stimm denied it.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly used the words "con man" to describe Stimm without attributing it to Attorney General James