3/27/09 When a wind developer doesn't pay his bills, what happens next? 46 landowners with liens against their property
UPDATE: 3 more properties now have liens against them.
Noble liens hit 43 more properties
March 26, 2009 by Darcy Fargo in Malone Telegram
Just a week after it was first reported that mechanics liens had been filed on three area property owners on land used by Noble Environmental Power LLC, 43 more such documents were filed in the Franklin County Courthouse including two on the Village of Chateaugay.
On March 11, three liens filed by electrical contractor Stuart C. Irby Company of Jackson, Miss., indicated that Noble has not paid $784,692.88 for "electrical materials and equipment and related services in connection with the construction and installation of a wind turbine project known as ‘Noble
Chateaugay Windpark, LLC' in the State of New York."
Late Tuesday and early Wednesday, the 43 new liens totaling just shy of $3 million were filed in the Franklin County Clerk's office.
While the lien documents are filed as a liability on Noble Chateaugay Windpark LLC and Noble Constructors LLC, they also include the property owners. The liens filed March 11 were on properties owned by Michael Garrow of Chateaugay; another is owned by Alonso Domingo of West Orange, N.J.; and the other is owned by Marjorie Cornell of Pawling, and Gary Cornell of York, Pa.
Garrow, the Cornells and Domingo are also named in the new liens, filed by Aristeo Construction Company of Livonia, Mich., for "excavation and backfill of soil, installation of steel and concrete foundation systems for placement of turbines, and erection and installation of turbine components." Also named in liens some property owners having liens filed on multiple easement properties are the Village of Chateaugay, Harrigan Brothers Dairy Farm, Timothy and Ellen Chase, John and Pamela Carroll, Kenneth and Bernice Dumont, Daniel Boadway, Clement and Jodene Lavoie, Edward Prechtl, Trainer Real Estate, William and Mary Jones, Peter and Linda Neveu, Kurt Peets, Thomas and Brenda Rabideau, John and Francois Cutting, Eugene and Kathy Lavoie, John Beckett, Shari Spaulding, Harry Otis, Ronald and Sandra Weaver, Bruce and Debra Bennett, St. Lawrence Valley Dairy Inc., Douglas and Sharon Malette, and Lloyd and Luciella Gillette. The individual liens range from $12,813 to $128,439.
Aristeo, in the documents it filed, said it performed a total of $26.63 million in work for Noble.
Having a lien on a propertyin addition to potentially damaging credit scores renders the owner unable to obtain a clear title to the property. It can also impact the owners' ability to obtain loans and lines of credit.
Every individual reached for comment Wednesday night said they had not been made aware of the liens.
"This is the first I've heard of it," said Sharon Malette. "We don't know anything about it. We have no comment."
Chateaugay Village Trustee Pat Dragon said the Village had not been notified of the liens placed on properties it owns on Sancomb Road. The liens on the village-owned property total $85,626.16.
"I don't know that there's a lot that we can do," Dragon said. "We need to get some answers. A lien is a lien, and we can't just make it go away. I can't see us paying the lien it's definitely more than we¹re making off the windmills."
When asked if the village had any projects that it hoped to fund with borrowed funds, Dragon said the village had been considering loans for a sewer system upgrade.
"This could affect the sewer project," she said. "It's definitely not something we can blow off."
Shari Spaulding said she and her husband were also not aware that the liens had been filed.
"I saw the article last week, but I wasn't aware that there was (a lien) put on our property," she said. "I'm not sure where this loophole was or how they could have put liens on my property. Things don¹t add up.
"It's something we saw coming. We saw the other liens. It could be that (the contractors) are just trying to get people to push Noble. I guess I can't blame the contractors for their wanting money."
Spaulding said she and her husband "haven't heard anything from Noble" regarding the liens or regarding any financial difficulties.
Noble Environmental Power entered into easement agreements with more than 50 area landowners in Franklin County for use of land for wind turbine development. The agreements specific to the liens were entered into by property owners and Noble Chateaugay Windpark LLC one of many Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) operated under Noble¹s umbrella.
Documents on file in the county clerk's office show at least 12 different LLCs under Noble's umbrella: Noble Bellmont Windpark LLC, Noble Burke Windpark LLC, Noble Chateaugay Windpark LLC, Noble Chateaugay II Windpark LLC, Noble Chateaugay LLC, Noble Chateaugay Windpark II LLC, Noble Cherry Hill Windpark LLC, Noble Clinton Windpark I LLC, Noble Development LLC, Noble Environmental Power LLC, Noble Constructors LLC, and Noble Environmental Power 2008 LLC. The LLCs are based in Delaware.
Web link: http://www.mtelegram.com/