How Fisker blew $500 million

Fisker Automotive Inc., the electric carmaker whose shutdown has stalled plans to revive the former General Motors plant in Wilmington, failed to secure legal control of its own innovative technology before burning through at least $300 million in private investment funds and $200 million in U.S. loans and Delaware state grants.

Katie Fehrenbacher outlines Fisker's steps and missteps for GigaOM here. Besides taxpayers, Fisker losers include Silicon Valley's seminal venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins -- and a lot of local investors around the country, including many who bought stock from two off-brand brokers: Advanced Equities Inc. and First Allied Securitites.

Advanced Equities, which also sold stakes in Bloom Energy, whose state-subsidized (and ratepayer-funded) natural-gas "fuel cell" plant is rising at a former Chrysler plant in Newark, Del., shut down last winter, Fehrenbacher adds.