Creditors Given OK to Foreclose on WA Biofuel Facility

- by Kristi Pihl, August 23, 2014, Tri City Herald

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"248","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 275px; height: 183px; float: left; margin: 3px 10px;"}}]]Some of Green Power's Tri-City creditors have received the green light to foreclose on the troubled biofuel company's unfinished Pasco plant.

Franklin County Superior Court Judge Cameron Mitchell recently approved a request by the creditors to foreclose on the liens they hold against the company's personal property.

Mitchell also approved a priority order for the creditors. A company called Panda Holding, which requested the decision, is first and sixth on the priority list of those who have not been paid yet.

Jose Gonzalez, owner of American Electric of Richland, and James Osterloh of West Richland, who was Green Power's former chief engineer and owner of Concrete Structures, formed Panda Holding to pursue what Green Power owes them.

Both have received court judgments for the debts owed by Green Power. Green Power owes American Electric more than $1 million for electric work on the unfinished Pasco plant. Osterloh says he's owed $4.4 million, including interest.

In total, Green Power still owes nine creditors $6.1 million, including interest, because of liens that were secured on the company's personal property, according to court documents.

Panda Holding was approved to hold a sale of Green Power's personal property and to credit bid its entire debt at the sale, according to court documents.

Green Power fought the foreclosure by filing a federal bankruptcy protection case, which stalled the proceedings until the case was thrown out by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge after the company failed to meet deadlines to provide certain information in June.

Mitchell shot down Green Power's attempt to claim that Panda Holding was not a party of interest in the case.

The Port of Pasco received approval earlier this year to evict Green Power from its Big Pasco Industrial Park. The company's last lease ended on Dec. 31. But port officials have been waiting for the foreclosure decision.

The company's unfinished plant has been stalled for more than six years after the state Department of Ecology shut down construction because the company lacked the necessary air quality permits

Green Power founder Michael Spitzauer was federally indicted in connection with wire and bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, tax evasion and lying on a federal tax return. He has been in jail since December.

Altogether, Green Power and Spitzauer owe about $36 million, including interest, to about 40 creditors, according to court documents. Most creditors do not have liens securing their debt.

Spitzauer is accused of defrauding seven alleged victims of up to $7.6 million. His trial recently was postponed to April 13 after his attorney requested more time to prepare.

-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com