Pasco biofuels company bankruptcy case dismissed

Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldMarch 28, 2014 

Green Power Sun

March 10, 2014 - The Port of Pasco is evicting Green Power, a tenant since 2007, from this warehouse in the Big Pasco Industrial Park. The company's CEO is facing federal criminal fraud charges and the company has filed for bankruptcy with an estimated $30.5 million in debts.

PAUL T. ERICKSON — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

PASCO -- A troubled Pasco biofuels company has been denied bankruptcy protection.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Timothy Dore dismissed Green Power's bankruptcy case Friday.

The company's acting CEO sought bankruptcy protection in order to give her time to sell Green Power.

However, the U.S. bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case urged the dismissal, citing the company's lack of an attorney and insurance, and the failure to file all of the information needed for Chapter 11 protection.

Bankruptcy records show Green Power claims it has $10 million in assets, including a partially built plant in Pasco, while 14 creditors said the company owes them $30.5 million.

Most of those creditors have already filed separate lawsuits in an attempt to get paid or money is owed to the federal, state or local governments.

The company's founder and CEO, Michael Spitzauer, is in federal custody in Yakima waiting for a trial on charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering that are connected to his business.

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy involves reorganizing a company's finances and protecting it from creditors while it restructures its debts.

The rejection of the bankruptcy case will allow the Port of Pasco to move forward with attempts to evict the company from the Big Pasco Industrial Park, said Randy Hayden, port executive director. The eviction case in Franklin County Superior Court had been put on hold because of the bankruptcy.

Franklin County also will finally be able to finish a $58,700 auction of some of Green Power's equipment and tools to pay unpaid personal property taxes.

Andrew Hicks, deputy Franklin County treasurer, said they will notify Pacific Steel & Recycling of Kennewick that it has five days to pay the county, and then Hicks said they will schedule a time for the company to pick up what it bought.

Judith Calhoun, Green Power's acting CEO, asked the bankruptcy court for extensions a number of times.

Calhoun previously told the Herald that Green Power is being sold to Atlantis Renewable Energy Systems, which she said is a Delaware company that includes several U.S. and international investors.

However, a check of public records shows Calhoun recently filed to incorporate a company by the same name -- Atlantis Renewable Energy Systems -- in Washington and listed herself as the sole owner.

Calhoun, who also is Green Power's vice president of finance, previously confirmed that Atlantis is the company buying Green Power and that she's one of Atlantis' owners.

She then declined to answer any more questions.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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