Council will seek opinion on recouping Sunland economic development money

By Christina Calloway

PNT senior writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

The Portales City Council made two economic development moves at its regular meeting Tuesday in result of a closed executive session.

The council approved officials consult with a bankruptcy attorney regarding “Sunland bankruptcy issues.”

Portales City Manager Doug Redmond said this will allow councilors to get an opinion from a bankruptcy attorney in the city’s efforts to recoup the $150,000 in economic development funds it gave the defunct peanut processing giant.

“We would like to see if the city has a superior claim to recover Local Economic Development Act) funds,” Redmond said.

LEDA funds are a portion of the city’s gross receipts used to pay for local projects and studies that support economic development.

As it turns out the city awarded Sunland the LEDA funds about a month after the company’s board of director adopted resolutions in April to start bankruptcy proceedings.

Sunland filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 8, citing the financial impact of a government-enforced shutdown after its products were tied to a nationwide salmonella outbreak in the fall of 2012.

Redmond said Sunland officials never said anything about bankruptcy or money problems during negotiations for the funds that began in early March.

A few of the councilors are set to meet on the issue Monday.

The council also approved a motion that allows the city to accept the title of the Portales Inn and let attorneys negotiate with a possible buyer.

The Portales Inn’s previous owner Bob Marrow died in May.

The council gave permission to the city’s attorneys to negotiate with Steve Crozier of Tierra Realty, who owns Hotel Clovis.

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