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Minnesota Farmers Sue Wind Turbine Company

Posted at: 01/25/2013 9:46 PM
Updated at: 01/25/2013 10:39 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Minnesota's Attorney General is banding with a number of farmers after they say they were scammed by a wind turbine developer.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit Friday against the developer Renewable Energy SD, LLC, a South Dakota company. She says they failed to keep promises to farmers who've invested in their wind turbines. Many of these farmers say they lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We spoke with a farmer from Elgin today, he says he's not the only one who's angry about this.

That farmer, Mark Schroeder, was one of roughly a dozen who met up in the Twin Cities this afternoon to present the lawsuit. Though he's lost a lot of money, he says he's one of the lucky ones in this case.

"I was interested in it, and I got a flyer in the mail or something, and I called them up, and they came out and sold it to me right on the spot," said Schroeder.

That was about three years ago. Schroeder put a down payment on a wind turbine and was told it would provide energy to his home and he could profit from the extra. "I was supposed to have it in that spring but it was the following year where I got it going," said Schroeder.

When they did install it at his farm he says they gave him the wrong blades, shortly after that the tower broke, and then…"It sounded like a helicopter on top of my house," said Schroeder. It spun out of control shooting a blade across his field. They said they'd fix that last problem in two weeks, but that was a year ago.

"He's taking in all this money and nobody is getting a turbine," said Schroeder. He says he's been suspicious of the company for some time, saying he's been losing money while the owner's been flaunting it. "He's got like million and a half dollars’ worth of cars," said Schroeder.

These farmers say they're not losing just a couple thousand bucks either," 130, 150 thousand probably," said Schroeder. Others loosing much more than that. "Oh they want to string him up by his neck," said Schroeder.

That's why they, with direction from the Minnesota Attorney General, handed the company a lawsuit. "I hope to get my money back. That's all I really care about," said Schroeder.

Right now the company is just being accused of all this, of course they'll still have to defend themselves in court.