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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

Biden to meet with U.S. financial regulators on Monday

Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

President Biden will meet with financial regulators on Monday.

Driving the news: "The meeting will cover regulatory priorities including climate-related financial risk and agency actions to promote financial inclusion and to responsibly increase access to credit," said press secretary Jen Psaki, according to a press pool report.

Updated 5 hours ago - Economy & Business

The next worker fight: Time off for Juneteenth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Who gets paid time off to celebrate Juneteenth in the years to come will be uneven and complicated, if history is any guide.

Why it matters: Corporate America hasn't grappled with a new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was authorized almost 40 years ago. How they responded took years to evolve.