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Solyndra: Where Did Your Tax Dollars Go?

I had dinner Tuesday night with a Silicon Valley CEO.  He mentioned that Solyndra, the bankrupt solar operator, was liquidating its assets via an auction.  “I want to get some cool chairs and a projector,” he told me.

Not long ago, Solyndra was a showcase for President Obama’s “green jobs” movement. Over the past few years, the company received $528 million in federal loan guarantees. Now, it’s just a sad, expensive joke.

On the other hand, if you want to get some good deals on so-called noncore assets, you can check out Heritage Global Partners, which is managing the auction (they also handled the one for Enron).

Some of the items are definitely specialized.  How many people have a need for a Fischer XDV-SD Fischerscope or an X-ray machine?

Yet some of these things could be more useful, including hundreds of computers from Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) and IBM (NYSE:IBM).  Unfortunately, you won’t find any iPads.

And yes, the auction offers hundreds of printers from companies like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Canon (NYSE:CAJ) and Zebra.  In fact, there are more than 50 projectors from Panasonic (NYSE:PC) and Sony (NYSE:SNE).  Why does a company need that many?  I’m not sure, but it seems Solyndra did at least one thing well:  making pitches, especially to investors.

Even if these kinds of items are not interesting, you can always buy a logo shirt or a tie. Hey, there are chairs from Steelecase (NYSE:SCS) and Herman Miller (NASDAQ:MLHR) for sale!

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog “IPOPlaybook,” a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.

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