An investor who attended a meeting Thursday night said they were told they could withdraw their money but would receive only 72 percent of their original investment.
An attorney for the nearly complete but bankrupt Canton ethanol plant has informed investors in another central Illinois ethanol facility that they can recoup a portion of their money as plans are put on indefinite hold.
Canton attorney Mike Evans, a lawyer for Central Illinois Energy’s dormant plant in that Fulton County town and the husband of one of CIE’s board members, told investors in a Streator plant Thursday night that the distillery has been delayed for the forseeable future because of economic concerns over the ethanol market.
An investor who attended the meeting and asked not to be identified said those who contributed money to the plant were told they could withdraw their investments, but only receive 72 percent of the funds they originally sunk into the venture.
The offer stands in stark contrast to CIE investors, who lost their money when the plant declared bankruptcy late last year after contractors filed around $30 million in leins against the company. That project needs about another month of construction and an additional $30 million before it could begin producing ethanol.
The Streator facility was proposed by GreenLion Bio-Fuels in August 2006 as a plant with the capacity to produce 60 million gallons of the renewable fuel additive annually. The Canton plant was built with a 37-million-gallon-per-year capacity.
Evans’ law firm is listed as a partner in GreenLion Bio-Fuels, and the organization also had a stake in CIE.
The company appeared to be delaying work at the Streator site as long ago as last summer, but developments announced at the investors’ meeting Thursday night were the first publicly available indications that the plans may, in fact, never reach fruition.
That’s not to say, however, that officials in Streator have given up on the prospects for ethanol in the area.
"It’s been on hold, and we’re not surprised that it continues to be on hold," said Mike Neuenkirchen of the Streator Area Chamber of Commerce. "But we’re hopeful that something can happen with the site."
Matt Buedel can be reached at 686-3154 or firstname.lastname@example.org.