Clock ticking on Powers financing

2012-06-21T21:30:00Z 2012-06-21T21:30:06Z Clock ticking on Powers financingBy Marc Chase, (219) 662-5330

Lake County solid waste district officials reiterated the terms of a deadline to a would-be trash-to-ethanol developer Thursday: Secure financing in 30 days or put your contract with the county in jeopardy.

Thursday night's meeting of the Lake County Solid Waste Management District voiced anew the expectations of what developer Earl Powers and his company, Powers Energy of America, is required to show to cure perceived breaches of contract district board members mentioned in April.

July 19, which happens to be the district's regularly scheduled board meeting, also is the end of the 90-day, district-imposed deadline for Powers to secure financing for the $300 million-plus facility that would consolidate the county's trash collections and produce ethanol from its carbon-based garbage.

Powers has acknowledged about a dozen past attempts to secure financing for the project have failed, including would-be deals with a Vegas-based hedge fund and another fund affected by the subprime mortgage crisis.

Powers Energy and the waste district forged a contract for the facility in November 2008, but the company still lacks funding, land ownership and permitting necessary for the facility.

Clifford Duggan, the waste district's attorney, told Powers Energy officials and board members Thursday the expectation voted on by board members in April — and excepted by Powers officials at that time — was that Powers would have the amount of funds necessary to complete the facility by the end of the 90-day deadline.

But Powers official Ken Bosar told the board members he could not promise exactly what his company would be able to show in terms of financing next month.

He said his company expected to have a letter of intent from an equity partner to possibly supply 25 percent of the total cost of building the plant. The rest of the money would have to be secured through bond sales at a future and undetermined date, he said.

But some district board members pointed out such a letter of intent would not satisfy the board's edict for all financing to be transferred into Powers' accounts by the 90-day deadline.

"I don't think they're going to have their money by the deadline based on what they (Powers officials) said," waste district board member and Griffith Councilman Rick Ryfa said after the meeting. "If they don't, I'm voting no (to the contract)."

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