Ponderay newsprint mill sale closes

County gets back taxes

NEWPORT - The sale of the assets of the bankrupt Ponderay Newsprint Company mill were completed Monday, June 7, with Allrise Capital, Inc. paying $18.13 million to the bankruptcy trustee.

Pend Oreille County received $569,418 in back taxes on the property last week, in a check hand delivered by a local title company, county Treasurer Nicole Dice said. That paid for property taxes for the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021.

As permitted by the federal Bankruptcy Judge Frederick Corbit, Allrise could assign the purchase to other entities. Allrise made the purchase of the real property through Ponderay Real Estate, LLC, and for the personal property through Ponderay Renewable Fiber and Blockchain LLC. Both were Washington limited liability companies.

The real property, the land and buildings, were purchased for $15.25 million. Real property included 927 acres and 29 buildings located near the Pend Oreille River in Usk.

According to the final seller's closing statement filed with the court, sales/use tax-exempt manufacturing equipment totaled $2.8 million. Other manufacturing equipment totaling $37,000 was purchased, as was $13,000 worth of vehicles.

The next step will be for the bankruptcy trustee to make prorated payments to the rest of the people owed money. Of the $18.13 million paid by Allrise, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee John Munding has paid out $11.72 million, according to the final seller's closing statement.

Pend Oreille Public Utility District No. 1 sought and received an $18,333 payment to continue electric services to the site through June 11.

Allrise CEO Ruslan Zinurov told Munding in a letter dated April 28 that it planned to restart operations of the paper mill as soon as possible. He said Allrise intends to begin hiring back former employees of the company and community residents. Munding requested the letter of intention before declaring Allrise the highest and best bidder. Zinurov has not returned emails or phone calls from The Miner seeking comment.

Allrise executives have met and been in communication with PUD officials.

Kelly Driver of the Port of Pend Oreille said she has been in communication with people from Ponderary Renewable Fiber and Blockchain LLC.

"They need some track work done and we're getting them a quote," she said.

Allrise was the highest bidder in a live three-way auction for the mill and its assets, outbidding the Kalispel Tribe, who stopped their bidding at $17.5 million. The other bidder, PPL Acquisition Group LLC, dropped out after the opening bid. The auction took place April 23.