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Three former executives sue Carbon Motors over pay

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Three former executive vice presidents of a company that planned to build high-tech police cars at an eastern Indiana factory have sued the corporation for more than $600,000 in deferred wages.

The Connersville News-Examiner reported Wednesday that Trevor Rudderham, Alan Bratt and Keith Marchiando have filed suit in Fayette Circuit Court to collect back wages that they claim defunct Carbon Motors Corp. had promised to pay them by March 1.

Bratt resigned Feb. 20, followed the next day by Rudderham and Marchiando.

The company fell apart after the U.S. Department of Energy rejected the company's request for a $310 million loan last year.

A message seeking comment was sent to former Carbon Motors Chairman William Santana Li through the social network LinkedIn. A telephone number for Santana wasn't immediately available.

The lawsuit says all three former executives signed employment agreements with Carbon Motors on Jan. 1, 2008, and agreed in May 2012 that 25 percent of their deferred base salaries would be paid at the next normal pay period and 75 percent would be paid no later than March 1, 2013.

All three are asking a judge to require Carbon Motors to pay their deferred pay plus 10 percent of that amount up to double the wages due. Rudderham says the company owes him about $170,000; Bratt claims nearly $235,000; and Marchiando says he's owed about $212,000.

The company announced in July 2009 that it would move into the vacant Visteon plant, formerly Connersville's largest employer, and begin making what it said was the first high-tech vehicle designed specifically for police work. Police cars made by other companies were converted passenger cars. Carbon said it might hire as many as 1,500 workers.

But the entire operation largely hinged on a $310 million loan from the U.S Department of Energy — a loan which the agency denied in March 2012. The idea and the plant both were abandoned earlier this year.

Carbon Motors is a Delaware corporation and is still registered to do business in Indiana. Li is listed as its chief executive.

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