Last week Harvest Capital Strategies manager Andrew Kaplan tried to attend an analyst meeting for First Solar, which he says he was invited to. Upon arriving at the Westin in New York, where the event was taking place, Kaplan received a badge, grabbed himself a Diet Coke, and waited for the conference to begin. Unfortunately, Andy never got to find out what the company had to say for itself, because he was approached by an IR person who informed him he need to leaving the building ASAP. First Solar claims Kaplan, who is short the stock, was never invited. He begs to differ, and doesn't understand why there'd be any reason to throw him out, since a) he was asked to come b) it's not like he looked like some hobo off the street. But whatever! He's not going to raise too big a stink about the whole thing. He just wants his damn money. The money it cost him to get himself back to the office after being asked to get off the property.
"Andrew Kaplan was not invited to the live event, which had space limitations on attendance, but he managed to RSVP via e-mail and we did not catch the error in advance," Bernheimer said. "We regret any embarrassment or awkwardness caused by issuing him an admittance badge and then taking it back."
Kaplan e-mailed First Solar officials to ask why he was barred and request that the company pay his $9 taxi fare from the hotel back to his office on Park Avenue, where he listened to the analyst conference on the Internet. Kaplan said he runs one of five funds at Harvest Capital. First Solar is the world's largest maker of thin-film solar-power modules.
"While, I suppose, you have the right to refuse admission to your event to anyone whom you have reason to believe might be disruptive, I find it hard to see how I might fit into that category," Kaplan wrote in his e-mail to First Solar on Dec. 17. "I was dressed nicely. My hair was combed. I have always conducted myself with decorum at other events, and my questions to management members have always been pertinent and respectful."