Taxpayer investment in eastern Kentucky aluminum mill decried as 'cronyism'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Braidy Industries, the upstart company that plans to build a $1.3 billion aluminum plant in eastern Kentucky with the help of state taxpayers, revealed the identities of all nine of its shareholders in a press release dated Monday.

The disclosure comes after Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration sued Courier Journal and WDRB News in recent months to avoid releasing the shareholder names through public records requests.

The news outlets sought the information because state taxpayers own at least 20 percent of Braidy Industries. The Bevin administration invested $15 million in public funds in the company in May as an incentive to land the plant and its more than 500 well-paying jobs in the Ashland area.

Earlier: Taxpayer investment in eastern Kentucky aluminum mill decried as 'cronyism'

Braidy Industries’ shareholders include a trust in the name of Robert Stucker, a Chicago lawyer and chairman emeritus of the firm Vedder Price; and Carl Westin, described by Braidy Industries only as  Swedish national.

The members of Braidy Industries’ board of directors, whose affiliation with the company was already known, are also shareholders, according to the press release.

They are:

  • Michael Porter, a Harvard University economist
  • Gen. Norton Schwartz, the retired Chief of Staff of U.S. Air Force
  • Charles Price, the CEO of Louisville-based Charah, a company that helps power plants manage waste created by burning coal to generate electricity. Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard had previously disclosed Price as an investor in the company.
  • Christopher Schuh, the head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • John Preston, the former director of technology development at MIT

Finally, Bouchard and state-owned Commonwealth Seed LLC own shares of Braidy Industries, as previously disclosed.

“This puts to rest the question of who our shareholders are,” Bouchard said in the news release.

The company did not reveal the size of each owner’s stake in Braidy Industries, nor the prices they paid for the shares.

Public records released in June showed only Bouchard and the state owned at least 20 percent of the company.

Bouchard told WDRB News in November that Braidy Industries plans to raise more equity in subsequent rounds of funding.

Jaunique Sealey, a Braidy Industries vice president, said in an email that future shareholders will be revealed in public filings as Braidy Industries plans to become a public company in the next 18 months.

The disclosure of the shareholders came in a news release announcing Braidy Industries’ establishment of a $10,000 college scholarship fund for students from Greenup County and Boyd County high schools.

Braidy Industries plans to break ground on the plant in the spring. It is scheduled to start production of rolled aluminum sheet for the automotive and aerospace industries in 2020.

A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Gen. Schwartz's name.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822,, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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Chris Otts reports for about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and