LIMA — The new owners of a bankrupt ethanol plant plan to have it operating by year’s end, according to documents filed for tax abatements.
Paladin Ethanol Acquisition Lima LLC will spend $25 million to retrofit the failed Greater Ohio Ethanol plant. Paladin filed paperwork in response to a request from the Tax Incentive Review Council, which annually evaluates all community reinvestment area and enterprise zone agreements in Lima and Allen County.
Paladin plans to employ between 31 and 35 people by year’s end with a total employment of between 40 and 44, the company said in its documents for the tax council.
Paladin officials did not attend the tax council meeting, which was held in March. The council’s minutes and decisions about abatement agreements will be voted on Monday by City Council.
Paladin officials could not be reached for comment Friday.
In February 2009, a federal judge approved the sale of the plant for $5.75 million to Paladin, a Washington, D.C.-based capital firm. The plant cost $150 million to build. The plant began production in July 2009 and its owners filed for bankruptcy five months later, after design flaws beset the plant with production problems.
The Tax Incentive Review Council is made up of city, county, township and economic development officials. It decided unanimously to modify the abatement agreement, now with Paladin. The group did not cancel the agreement, but instead, after checking with the state, modified the agreement from a 50 percent abatement to a zero, Allen Economic Development Group President Marcel Wagner said.
If Paladin’s plans come to fruition, the company can work with local officials to restructure the abatement agreement, Wagner said.
“This is the best thing for the community and it will let us assist the company down the road when they get things up and online,” Wagner said.
Investors large and small lost millions when Greater Ohio Ethanol failed. SunTrust lost nearly $100 million, while dozens of local investors who each paid $50,000 for an interest in the plant also lost their money.
The Hanthorn Road plant was an economic development gem. The city earned an award from the federal Economic Development Administration for its work using a $2.3 million EDA grant to develop infrastructure for the plant.