Green Power pays $217,000 to keep port lease

PASCO -- Port of Pasco commissioners gave a controversial biofuels company another chance to pay the $217,000 required to continue leasing land from the port.

By Thursday afternoon, Green Power CEO Michael Spitzauer showed up with the full amount in cashier's checks.

Previously, the port had decided to extend Green Power's lease another six months starting Sept. 1 but only if the full rent and an increased deposit were received by Aug. 31.

When Spitzauer failed to pay that bill by that time, the lease offer expired on the property in Big Pasco Industrial Center where Green Power has a partially built plant that Spitzauer claims will turn garbage into fuel.

Spitzauer showed up at the port meeting with a check for $190,000 and promised to have the rest by Tuesday if the port would agree to postpone foreclosure.

And later in the day, he brought in the full amount, said Linda O'Brien, port director of finance and administration.

The money covers $155,000 for a six-month lease, utilities and taxes and a $62,000 increase in the security deposit.

Spitzauer then signed the amended lease agreement, and O'Brien said the port would sign the lease today.

But Spitzauer still lacks the state Department of Ecology air quality permit that caused his plant to be shut down a year ago, and state officials said he can't finish the plant until a permit is issued.

Spitzauer told commissioners that increasing the security deposit by about $62,000 to $200,000 meant it took him longer because it was money he hadn't planned on spending.

Port commissioners asked for the increase because they were concerned that $138,000 wouldn't be enough to demolish the plant if the project fell through.

The port wanted the lease prepaid because of problems the port had with late payments from Green Power in the past.

Jani Gilbert, Ecology's communications manager for Eastern Washington, said Spitzauer has not filed an application for an air quality permit.

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

Also, 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.

And last month, Franklin County Superior Court awarded Twin City Metals a $48,000 judgment from Green Power.

Spitzauer told commissioners last month that Green Power is paying bills and is on track to be debt free by the end of the year.