If $397 Million Was $25 Million Or Less

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the differences between two separate lawsuits regarding the municipal solid waste (MSW) incinerator that OSGC proposed in Green Bay versus the plastics-to-oil (PTO) incinerator that OSGC proposed on the reservation, so let’s look at the facts.

Situation #1) OSGC & Green Bay Renewable Energy versus City of Green Bay regarding MSW incinerator on Hurlbut St.: In November 2012 OSGC & GBRE (owned by OSGC) sued the City of Green Bay over the rescission of a Conditional Use Permit to build an MSW incinerator on Hurlbut St. The City’s Common Council said OSGC made misrepresentations and in January 2013 a Brown County judge agreed. In March 2013 OSGC appealed and in March 2014 an appellate court panel said OSGC’s claims weren’t misleading enough to warrant the rescission. OSGC said when they first lost that the City’s decision cost OSGC $4 million. The City of Green Bay could appeal the reversal, and OSGC & GBRE could file a new lawsuit for $4 million damages (which seems like a great way to possibly inspire a boycott of the Oneida Casino’s brand new eateries and country music bar).

Situation #2) ACF Services, ACF Leasing & Generation Clean Fuels (GCF) versus GBRE, OSGC & Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin regarding PTO incinerator on Oneida reservation:
On May 5, 2013 General Tribal Council voted against OSGC doing any incineration on the reservation. But on May 24 & June 10, 2013 the OSGC CEO & GBRE Chair, Kevin Cornelius, signed agreements with ACF & GCF to engage in PTO incineration. Around November 2013 it was discovered that OSGC had leased its building at O’Hare Blvd. on the reservation to ACF & GCF for incineration without a permit and against the wishes of GTC. In December 2013 GTC voted to dissolve OSGC. On March 6, 2014 ACF & GCF sued GBRE, OSGC & the Oneida Tribe over GTC’s vote to dissolve OSGC claiming it resulted in $397 million in losses and damages after the BIA and Wisconsin Bank & Trust withdrew funding for the PTO incinerator project.

The monetary claims on page 7 of the ACC & GCF complaint break down like this:

  • $122.5 million in projected profits
  • $250 million in projected value
  • $22.2 million in leasing agreements
  • $3+ million fees and costs

Add that up and you get about $397.7 million.

Two important questions about ACF & GCF’s lawsuit:

(A) What proof do ACF & GCF have that this project would have made that big of a profit?

(B) What proof do ACF & GCF have that this project would have resulted in their companies gaining $250 million in value given that their lawsuit says the agreements with OSGC “constitute the launch” of their businesses?

Proving these claims of losses and damages in court under cross-examination would probably be very difficult and uncomfortable for ACF & GCF as the case would put the entire PTO incineration scheme under a public microscope and show that the real profit-engine is not the sale of energy but convincing other suckers customers to invest in the process and leasing the machines & services.

[In ACF & GCF’s response to a lawsuit by a De Pere investor who was wildly promised $1.75 million over seven years for just a $250,000 investment, ACF & GCF said their machines were to be built by a company called P2O Technologies, which appears to be owned in part by Todd Parczick and Mark Verhaagh, two of  the principals of Alliance Construction & Design which is the 49% shareholder in OSGC’s Oneida-Kodiak Construction. ACF & GCF have claimed that they cannot pay their investors because P2O Technologies never built the machines. Oops.]

Subtract $122.2 million and $250 million from $397.7 million and you wind up with $25.5 million, or almost the exact same amount that was handwritten on BC Chair Ed Delgado’s December 17, 2013 fill-in-the-blank Memorandum insisting on a Special GTC Meeting to “reconsider” dissolving OSGC due to the possibility of “$25.6″ million in liabilities to the Oneida Tribe.

Let’s say the Oneida Tribe can prove in court that ACF & GCF’s claims of $122 million in lost profits and $250 million in lost valuation are speculative at best. What if the Tribe still has to own up to the $25.6 million in leasing fees and costs resulting from the agreements signed by OSGC & GBRE?

Who signed those agreements and when? Kevin Cornelius did in late May & early June 2013 after GTC overwhelmingly voted against any incineration schemes on the Oneida reservation. Perhaps that explains why Kevin left the reservation for North Carolina in August 2013.

While $25.6 million is nothing to sneeze at, it’s a lot less than $397.7 million which seems like a number being used to try to scare GTC into voting to overturn its decision to dissolve OSGC, and now the question is: Are some Oneidas trying to protect their personal investments by acting as if ACF & GCF’s lawsuit for hundreds of millions is legitimate when it’s really just blowing smoke?

Lawsuits are unpredictable and it’s likely that neither ACF nor GCF really want to go through with putting their claims on trial, especially given the amount of environmental activists, experts and attorneys who would offer to help the Oneida Tribe debunk the claims of the incineration industry. ACF & GCF might even forgo trying to recoup the $25 million.

What’s the main problem for the Oneida Tribe in having to defend itself against claims for millions of dollars in losses and damages by exposing the pie-in-the-sky promises of ACF & GCF?

ACF & GCF are making the same kind of unproven claims about their risky start-up ventures that OSGC & GBRE have made to the Oneida Tribe and to the City of Green Bay.

Maybe it’s time for the current Business Committee to come clean about the fact that they let OSGC run wild with the Tribe’s resources and reputation and admit that both they and OSGC executives need to be held accountable.


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Abdul Latif Mahjoob / ACTI / AREC / AREI / ARTI ACF Leasing ACF Services Alliance Construction & Design / Alliance GC (Global Conservation) American Combustion Technologies Inc. (ACTI) / American Combustion Technologies of California Inc. (ACTI) / American Renewable Energy Inc. (AREI) / American Renewable Technologies Inc. (ARTI) Artley Skenandore Jr. / Swakweko LLC Atty. William Cornelius Bruce King City of Green Bay Fmr. OBC Chair Cristina Danforth / Tina Danforth Fmr. OBC Chair Ed Delgado Fmr. OBC Sec. Patty Hoeft Fmr. OBC Vice-Chair Greg Matson Fmr. OBC Vice-Chair Melinda Danforth General Tribal Council / GTC Generation Clean Fuels Godfrey & Kahn Green Bay Renewable Energy LLC / GBRE Green Box NA Green Bay LLC Incinerators / Gasification / Pyrolysis / Plastics-to-Oil / Waste-to-Energy Jacqueline Zalim / Jackie Zalim Kelly Van Den Heuvel / Kelly Yessman Kevin Cornelius Mike Metoxen Mission Support Services Nevada LLC / Mission Support Services LLC Nathan King Nature's Way Tissue Corp. OBC Chief Counsel Jo Anne House OBC Vice-Chair Brandon Lee Stevens / Brandon Yellowbird Stevens Oneida Business Committee / OBC Oneida Energy Blocker Corp. Oneida Energy Inc. Oneida ESC Group LLC / OESC Oneida Nation of Wisconsin / Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin / Indian Country / Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic Oneida Seven Generations Corporation / OSGC Oneida Total Integrated Enterprises / OTIE OPD Lt. Lisa Drew-Skenandore Owen Somers / Oneida Internal Security Director Paul Linzmeyer Pete King III / King Solutions LLC Ron Van Den Heuvel Sustainment & Restoration Services LLC Todd Van Den Heuvel Tsyosha?aht Cathy Delgado Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation / WEDC

As It Happens

March 2014
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