Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Economic Development: Eclipse Aviation

As everyone will know by the evening's television news broadcasts, Eclipse Aviation of Albuquerque has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Rather than belabor the soon to be well known details, the point of the moment is to remember that Eclipse always and remains a startup, risky by definition. Not only that, Eclipse has been inventing a new business with its light jet, adding a further level of risk. Anyone putting money into such an enterprise should understand the risk.
One report I just found indicates that the state—meaning the Richardson administration—has two equity investments totaling $19 million. That money—yours and mine, a $10 donation from each of us—is gone, in all likelihood; shareholders are the last ones to escape intact from a bankruptcy.
When investing taxpayers' money, there's a rule—the prudent man rule—that basically says, "Be real careful." Putting money into startups in new industries seems outside that rule.
There is a blog with details upon details. See www.eclipsecriticng.blogspot.com.
Technology Note: My first news of the Eclipse bankruptcy came about 10:45 this morning. I was driving along Montgomery Blvd. in Albuquerque when one of those flashing new electronic billboards got my attention. "Eclipse bankruptcy," it said, and promised news at noon on KRQE TV.

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