(WSMV Channel 4, Nashville): Tilley says he can create energy
- Note that online you can click on the video image below the photos on the left and you will be able to see the newscast from this evening of part I of the Tilley coverage by Channel 4, Nashville; NBC Affiliate.
February 20, 2003-Team Investigation
Inventor says he can create energy
Energy inventor Carl Tilley Inventor's company went bankrupt Email to a Friend Printer Friendly Version More Links Visit the Tilley Foundation web site More of today's stories More >>
Nancy Amons namons@...
February 20, 2003
An electric car that defies the laws of physics? Carl Tilley says the batteries in his DeLorean never go dead.
(Carl Tilley) "No. Never"
The device he's invented, he says, actually creates electricity to charge the batteries. He says the technology powers his whole workshop just outside Lebanon, as well as an electric ATV. Tilley says the experts tell him it's impossible to create more energy than you use. But he says he's figured it out.
(Tilley) "Just because they say it can't be done, doesn't mean it can't."
More than a dozen investors hope he's right. They've plunked down a total of more than $500,000 buying stock in Tilley's company.
Which has us asking: who is Carl Tilley?
Tilley tells investors he was a successful businessman in Wyoming. So Channel Four's T-Team went to Kemmerer, to find out.
Kemmerer, Wyoming, is a small town where neighbors still shovel out the widow next door. It's the birthplace of JC Penny's.
In 1995, news that a man named Carl Tilley was opening Wyoming Solar Company generated a lot of excitement.
(Arthur Playle, former employee) "He told me after the schooling was done, I would be making 30 dollars an hour."
Arthur Playle and his wife placed their confidence in Tilley's business, because a state jobs program was paying half the workers' salaries, even buying their tools and boots.
(Emma Playle) "The state. Hey, it's got to be legitimate."
Kathleen Rosas believed Tilley already had contracts lined up.
(Kathleen Rosas, former employee) "He told us that we would be traveling from rest stop to rest stop, state rest stops along the highway, to install solar panels to power these rest stops."
Officials at the state of Wyoming's job training center in Kemmerer believed it, too. At least at first. One state official who didn't want to talk on camera says Tilley brought in a copy of the rest stop contract. A contract they later learned was falsified, as were his financial documents. When the state found that out, it cut off his money.
(Arthur Playle) "He just blew a lot of smoke."
They say their paychecks often bounced.
(Kathleen Rosas) "This is my personal opinion. I think he's a con man from the get-go. I wouldn't touch him with a 50-foot pole."
The former employees weren't the only ones to have a beef with Tilley. His suppliers sued him for unpaid bills. Even hauled him into criminal court for bounced checks. Tilley owed more than a hundred thousand dollars. He filed bankruptcy, and left town.
The Channel Four I-Team asked Tilley about his experience in Kemmerer. He says Wyoming Solar was a success its first year.
(Tilley) "We put in maybe 15, 20 solar systems a year. And most of 'em worked. I think all of em worked pretty good."
He admits his company went bankrupt, but blames that on one big customer who didn't pay. And what about that rest stop contract?
(Tilley) "For rest stops? That's not true." (Amons) "The state employment office says that's what you said when you came to them for the jobs program." (Tilley) "That's not true." (Amons) "You never told employees you had a contract to put solar in rest stops?" (Tilley) "Nope. We told em we looked into it, I think, but we never told em we had a contract."
Arthur Playle says that was the biggest lie Tilley told the workers.
(Arthur Playle) "That there was 30 some rest stops in the state of Wyoming and that he had a contract to do solar panels on all of them."
Instead of working at rest stops, the workers say they installed solar panels on a handful of homes, and built a gazebo at Tilley's own house.
(Amons) "Did you have your workers in the state jobs program do work on your private property?" (Tilley) "No. They didn't do any work on my property until after the state contract was done. I think I'm going to end this."
Wyoming's in the past. But what about the present? Remember - we told you Tilley's opened a new business in Tennessee. He's gotten half a million dollars from investors for the invention he says creates energy.
Friday night, we'll hear from two former company insiders, who regret they were ever involved with Tilley. (Robert Kibbey, former Tilley partner) "I was part of it for over a year, and it fooled me."