Power plant group found in contempt

Judge rules owners of LEC failed to comply with land option deal

LORDSTOWN — The battle between two groups with plans to erect twin natural gas-fired power plants continues to unfold in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

The projects are a venture of Clean Energy Future, LLC, which William Siderewicz heads, and Clean Energy Future Lordstown, of which the Macquarie Group is the lead owner, with Siemens Financial Services Inc. owning 26 percent and Clean Energy Future owning 4 percent.

Clean Energy Future Lordstown already has the $900 million Lordstown Energy Center, referred to as the Lordstown plant, under construction on Henn Parkway. The Clean Energy Future plant, known as the Trumbull plant, is also expected to cost around $900 million to construct, putting the total project investment around $1.8 billion.

The latest turn in the lawsuit involving the groups happened Friday, when Judge Peter J. Kontos found Clean Energy Future Lordstown in contempt of court for failing to comply with the provisions of a land option agreement signed between the two parties in April 2016.

The agreement called for Clean Energy Future Lordstown to grant to Clean Energy Future the option to purchase parcels of land from Clean Energy Future Lordstown on which to build the Trumbull plant.

Instead of signing the agreement, according to Kontos’ order, Clean Energy Future Lordstown conducted a study on the potential effects of the Trumbull plant on the Lordstown plant. From the study, Clean Energy Future Lordstown identified 19 new uses for the land it had agreed to option to Clean Energy Future. The plaintiff argued that no such study was called for in the option agreement and that the land uses were merely pretextual.

In response, Clean Energy Future filed a motion of contempt against Clean Energy Future Lordstown for failing to sign an addendum to the Lordstown Industrial Park’s rules to allow the Trumbull plant to be built in the park.

Clean Energy Future Lordstown was also found in contempt for demanding Clean Energy Future pay $6.7 million per year to compensate for the economic impact of the Trumbull plant on the Lordstown plant.

In granting Clean Energy Future’s motion for contempt, Kontos ruled the court would wait to award sanctions until a motion to enforce a settlement agreement is resolved. Clean Energy Future is seeking to be awarded $100,000 per day until Clean Energy Future Lordstown withdraws the pretextual land uses, damages of $158,000 based on evidence at the hearing, attorney’s fees and a hearing for a trial to enable the court to issue a permanent injunction to provide relief from the delays Clean Energy Lordstown has caused.

A representative of Clean Energy Future Lordstown LLC declined to comment. Multiple attempts to reach Siderewicz were unsuccessful.