Anaheim Mayor: City Is ‘Looking Into’ Green Deal Gone Bad

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said Tuesday that city officials are “looking into” how the city’s green energy test project with iCeL Systems Inc. went bad and how officials could have been unaware of the many lawsuits and accusations against iCeL founder Chaz Haba.

That was all Tait would say regarding the city’s dealings with Haba, which Voice of OC revealed this week. Other council members, approached during at their regular meeting Tuesday, refused to comment.

Other Anaheim residents, meanwhile, said the city should do something. “People should be held accountable for what they’ve signed and done,” said Bill Dalati, who was a candidate for City Council last year.

In 2009, Anaheim entered into a nearly $100,000 contract with Haba’s iCeL Systems Inc. for a pilot project involving a station with dozens of lithium ion battery packs at Energy Field, a park in central Anaheim.

The company claimed that the battery packs would store energy from alternative sources such as solar panels. Eventually consumers with battery packs installed in their homes would be able to jump off the electricity grid during periods of peak energy use.

But iCeL was never able to deliver on its promises, and by late 2010 the project had ground to a halt. Company officials began leaving after not being paid for months. A former high-level iCeL official said the battery station in Anaheim, which is beside a children’s playground, was left unmonitored and dangerous.

City officials shouldn’t have been surprised at the outcome. In at least a dozen lawsuits going back to 1985, former employees, business partners and creditors have accused Haba of misdeeds ranging from unethical business practices to outright fraud.