Gainesville City Commission Rejects GREC Settlement, Awaits Arbitration Decision
Published August 20th, 2013
GAINESVILLE - Following days of heated discussion, Gainesville City Commissioners voted not to accept settlement terms laid out by the owners of Gainesville's new biomass plant on Monday.
In a rare appearance before the commission, Jim Gordon, president of the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center, made a last ditch effort to get commissioners on board with his proposed settlement agreement.
"I am saying that we are willing to drop our counterclaim if we are given a chance, an open field, to try to monetize these tax benefits," said Gordon.
The agreement would've required the city to make a series of changes to its 30-year contract -- changes that would make it easier for company officials to sell their remaining shares of the plant, which is nearing completion.
The proposed contract changes would've also made it harder for the city to bring any lawsuits against GREC in the future.
During Monday night's special meeting, commissioners expressed concerns over GREC's settlement requests, as well as the $50 million in damages sought in the company's original counterclaim.
"We will not stand to be forced to have a $50 million gun pushed to the side of our temples after everything we've been through," said Commissioner Todd Chase.
Following the commission's official rejection of the settlement, both sides will now await the arbitrator's decision on whether to throw out GREC's counterclaim. That decision could be handed down as soon as this week.
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