PASCO -- A divided Port of Pasco commission decided Thursday to give a tenant it evicted last fall another chance.
"Staff members have spent an inordinate amount of time getting payments that needed to be paid (from the tenant Green Power)," Commissioner Bill Clark said after the vote was taken. "Extend(ing) this opportunity to (Green Power) is probably the last effort," he added.
Commissioners Clark and Ernie Boston agreed to offer Green Power a six-month lease on the condition owner Michael Spitzauer pay rent for all six months in advance.
They also authorized offering Green Power an additional six-month lease after that, solely at the commissioners' discretion.
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"I wanted to give him another chance," Boston said. He added that leasing to Green Power again might raise enough money to clean up the site should things not work out.
Green Power already has begun construction on a demonstration facility that Spitzauer said could turn waste into fuel.
Commissioner Jim Klindworth voted against the motion, saying that even if Spitzauer produces signed contracts from governments wanting to buy similar facilities, "what verification do you have it means any more than all the rest of the stuff you have in front of you?"
The port evicted Green Power in September after ongoing problems with its owner missing deadlines, making late payments and paying with bad checks.
Spitzauer came before the commissioners in early January to ask for a six-month lease that he offered to pay up-front. But they asked him to come back with more information about his financial viability.
Before Thursday's meeting, Spitzauer sent commissioners copies of letters from government officials in four cities -- in Mexico, Spain and China -- expressing their intent to buy one of Green Power's facilities.
But he said all those contracts are on hold until he has a new lease with the port.
Eduard van Roosmalen, who introduced himself as a private consultant, appeared with Spitzauer. He said a European investment group asked him to investigate Green Power.
Van Roosmalen said his report will recommend Spitzauer get a financial officer and a good sales manager, and then his business should run smoothly.
He said many government officials have shown interest in buying a Green Power facility, but they first want to see one functioning plant.
"As soon as he signs that first agreement (with a government), he will not be in financial trouble any more," van Roosmalen said.
Before Thursday's meeting, Spitzauer provided commissioners a stack of letters from previous creditors that said Green Power had paid off its debts.
Spitzauer said he had set up payment plans with six other creditors, as well as with the state Department of Labor and Industries.
Although he didn't elaborate, Spitzauer reportedly was behind in paying taxes for industrial insurance for employees.
He also said he had settled claims with two former employees without elaborating.
Commissioners also raised questions about the fact that the state Department of Ecology ordered Green Power to shut down its plant Aug. 5 because the company didn't have a permit for its synthetic fuel reactor that the state said could emit "harmful toxic air pollution."
Spitzauer replied that his company has eliminated a turbine that would have emitted the pollution.
Boston asked Spitzauer about the information he submitted to commissioners as well as about the company's overall financial viability.
And Klindworth expressed concerns that "40 truckloads" of trash might be coming into the port facility each day.
Spitzauer said it would only be a demonstration project and not a fully operational facility.
As part of the lease agreement, commissioners directed port Executive Director Jim Toomey to prepare wording that would limit how long trash could stay at the Green Power site.
* Kathy Korengel: 509-582-1541; firstname.lastname@example.org