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State your claim



The state of Michigan is going to have to get in line if it wants to recover the $5 million it doled out to the partnership that was operating the Central Wayne waste-to-energy incinerator in West Dearborn. With more than 200 companies already queued up, the wait could be a long one.

Last August the facility operator, Central Wayne Energy Recovery Limited Partnership, a pairing of Baltimore-based Constellation Power Source and DB Riley, a subsidiary of Boston-based Babcock Power, Inc., defaulted on $80 million in privately issued bonds and violated the terms of a $5 million state grant by closing before a 10-year operating obligation was met, according to the Ecology Center, an environmental group located in Ann Arbor.

The facility, which converted trash to electricity, is still closed. Trash that was hauled there goes to a landfill near Wayne.

The partnership filed for bankruptcy in December, but the Michigan Department of Environment Quality didn’t learn of that action until last month, according to DEQ press secretary Patricia Spitzley.

In the meantime, 222 companies are telling the partnership that they also want what’s owed them, according to the Federal Bankruptcy Court in the jurisdiction of Maryland. State officials are now scrambling to figure out what to do. The contract violation means it can file a claim to get its money and equipment back, but it has to get in line.

Spitzley says the state is attempting to determine if it can place a lien on the facility. The state has until June 30 to file a claim.

“If we can get our money back, that would be nice,” says Spitzley.

Now there’s an understatement.

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