Green Power gets 6 more months

Green Power CEO Michael Spitzauer is full of promises and plans but doesn't have much to show as his six-month lease at the Port of Pasco comes to an end.

Spitzauer has asked port commissioners to give him another six-month, pre-paid lease on the property in Big Pasco Industrial Center where Green Power has a partially-built plant that Spitzauer claims will turn garbage into fuel.

But he still lacks the state Department of Ecology air quality permit that caused his plant to be shut down a year ago.

Port commissioners approved extending Green Power's lease another six months Thursday, but with a list of conditions that includes increasing the security deposit.

Jim Toomey, the port's executive director, said commissioners were concerned that when Spitzauer was finished or his lease expired, the $137,000 deposit wouldn't be enough to pay for demolition of the partially-constructed plant.

That's why commissioners approved the extension contingent on the deposit being increased to $200,000, he said.

And both the $63,000 to increase the deposit and the $155,000 for the six-month lease, utilities and taxes must be paid in cashier's checks before the port would sign the lease, Toomey said. That would have to happen before Aug. 31, when the current lease expires.

Spitzauer offered to prepay the lease that expires Aug. 31 after port commissioners determined they would no longer lease land to Spitzauer due to problems with late payments.

As a landlord, commissioners are interested in making sure the port is protected, both financially and in terms of liability, Toomey said.

Whether Spitzauer succeeds or fails is up to him, he said.

While Spitzauer hasn't achieved the goals he talked to commissioners about when he asked for the most recent lease, he said in an email that he has signed enough contracts to support operations, repay debts and hire local workers.

He said he is closer to getting a Department of Ecology permit, and that some of his debts have been paid and others are under payment plans.

Jani Gilbert, Ecology's communications manager for Eastern Washington, said Spitzauer has yet to file an application with the department.

And he can't file that application until he pays about $46,000 that Green Power Inc., owes the department, Gilbert said. He owes $24,000 for the unpaid penalty for starting construction without the proper permit and another $22,000 for staff time spent on his first attempt to get a permit.

The debts went to collections, she said.

Spitzauer still owes $16 million and is accumulating interest to three investors in never-built projects Spitzauer claimed would convert municipal waste into biofuel. King County Superior Court records show that those judgments have not been satisfied.

Spitzauer said in an Aug. 4 letter to commissioners that Green Power is paying bills and is on track to be debt free by the end of the year.

Although the company still has judgment creditors, pending sales orders and an extension of the lease would help Green Power pay that, he said in the letter.

And the company will help ease the pain of upcoming Hanford layoffs by adding jobs to the area, Spitzauer said in the letter.

He previously told the Herald that he would have 500 workers in the Tri-Cities by August. Thursday, he said that goal would be reached in September.

He also said he would have gasoline ready this month. He said Thursday that Green Power would be able to produce gasoline as soon as new permits are in.