Port of Pasco to sell parts from biofuels company

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 17, 2013 

The Port of Pasco is moving forward with plans to sell parts from a troubled biofuels company.

Green Power CEO Michael Spitzauer missed the most recent deadline to pay what he owed to the port for past and future rent.

He had asked port commissioners to allow him to continue renting space at the Big Pasco Industrial Park after being evicted for not paying his rent.

After he failed to bring the $570,000 due in court judgments, fees and future rent to a port meeting last week, the commission voted 2-1 to give him another chance if he paid $495,700 by Tuesday.

The amount covered the court judgment for unpaid rent and the port's attorney fees, but reduced the amount of space Spitzauer would lease.

Commission President Jean Ryckman told the Herald that since Spitzauer failed to meet the payment deadline, any future communication from him must be in writing to the commissioners.

And port staff will start disposing of Green Power's property, she said.

Spitzauer told the Herald in an email that he intends to do everything needed to get the lease back.

"We are prepaying our lease," he wrote. "There is no risk to the port."

Commissioner Ron Reimann, who opposed the latest offer to Green Power, said the port did what Spitzauer asked, and then he changed what he was asking for.

"I thought enough was enough at that time," he said.

Reimann said as far as he is concerned, Spitzauer could come in with any amount of money at this point, and it wouldn't change his decision. This is the last time the port should go through this process, he said.

The port started to evict Green Power in 2010, but the process was halted when a new agreement was reached.

The port again began eviction proceedings when Spitzauer failed to pay $233,867 due Sept. 1.

Spitzauer's agreement with the port requires him to pay six months of rent before a lease begins. The port began requiring the prepayment because of Spitzauer's repreated problems with late payments.

Port Executive Director Jim Toomey said the port is creating an inventory of the equipment and property in the two bays and building formerly leased by Green Power. New locks were put on the doors Dec. 26.

Property owned by Spitzauer and Green Power will be sold to pay the company's debts.

Toomey said he is unsure who will have priority for the debts at this point. It's a complicated process because of the number of creditors and the volume of equipment.

It may take weeks or months to complete, he said.

Spitzauer owes about $20 million to investors and a former employee, according to court records.

He owes $42,000 to the state Department of Ecology for an unfinished biofuels plant and more than $28,000 to the state Department of Labor & Industries, including unpaid wage claims.

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