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KR Sridhar, co-founder and CEO Bloom Energy. Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images.

Fuel cell maker Bloom Energy recently filed to go public, but the beneficiaries may include two men who defrauded Bloom investors nearly a decade ago, according to a note in its IPO filing.

Bottom line: The Silicon Valley-based company won't explain why it will issue new shares to the co-founder of a now-defunct "placement agent" that was fined by the federal regulators over its Bloom-related activities.

History

Bloom once was among the most prolific users of Advanced Equities, a Chicago-based firm that helped private companies raise big money from small investors. But AE was long known to be a boiler room-type operation, and it eventually disappeared after it and its two co-founders were nailed by the SEC for lying to investors while raising money for Bloom.

AE's pooled investments in Bloom were ultimately transferred to another manager (Connecticut-based Spruce Investment Advisors), and currently represent a 6.55% ownership stake.

There also were additional complications for the individual investors, as neither AE nor Bloom were terribly responsive at the time.

Present Day

All of which leads us to a bizarre note in Bloom's S-1 about how it will issue 200,000 shares of Class B common stock to Dwight Badger and Keith Daubenspeck, the very AEI co-founders who defrauded Bloom investors.

Bloom refers to it as a "dispute settlement," although we've been unable to find any relevant legal complaints. Moreover, the settlement came in June 2014, which is years after AE went bust.

A source very close to the company says he has no idea why Bloom would further compensate the pair, and Bloom is declining comment via an outside spokeswoman.

Go deeper

Advocates say Biden has let Haitian migrants down

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Continued turmoil in Haiti is causing a growing number of Haitians to try to make it to American shores — and some advocates say the Biden administration isn't supporting this community in its time of crisis.

The big picture: Haitian-American activists in South Florida told Axios Today they feel like President Biden has gone back on campaign promises he made to the community to stand up for them.

42 mins ago - Health

Supply isn't our only COVID treatment problem

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Antiviral COVID treatments are hailed as a pandemic game-changer, but they're currently in very short supply — and that's only one of several barriers to access for high-risk patients.

The big picture: Even when supply ramps up, it will still be tricky to connect some of the most vulnerable patients to the pills without changes to the process.

Four-day workweeks get rave reviews, but they're not catching on

Expand chart
Data: Indeed.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

The four-day work week is nowhere close to becoming the norm, despite a flurry of corporate announcements, media coverage and intense interest from worker bees worldwide.

Why it matters: With the pandemic throwing work-family dynamics into chaos and a labor market favoring workers, there's demand for this.