Great Northern Paper auctioneer makes partial tax payment but still behind schedule

Vehicles leave the Katahdin Avenue industrial park in Millinocket after an auction of papermaking equipment on Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Vehicles leave the Katahdin Avenue industrial park in Millinocket after an auction of papermaking equipment on Thursday, June 19, 2014. Buy Photo
Posted July 21, 2014, at 3:13 p.m.
Last modified July 21, 2014, at 5:15 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — The auctioneer paying Great Northern Paper Co. LLC’s
approximately $1.18 million net personal property tax debt made a $133,500 payment Friday, Town Manager Peggy Daigle said Monday.

“We are waiting to see what today brings,” Daigle said in an email issued at 1:30 p.m.

The $133,500 payment leaves auctioneer Koster Industries behind and well short of the schedule Koster, Great Northern and town leaders agreed to, which was due to be completed Monday.

According to that schedule, Koster owed and paid $225,000 on July 3. It failed to make a $340,000 payment on July 8, a $360,000 payment on July 14 and has a deadline for the remainder of the $1.18 million Monday, the payment schedule states.

The Town Council meets at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and will likely discuss the non-payment issue, although no agenda has been set.

Daigle and councilors expressed considerable frustration and hinted during a council meeting on July 10 and in subsequent interviews that they have developed a legal strategy to recover the unpaid debt. They have declined to provide details.

Great Northern Paper has owed the town a net payment of $1.08 million in property taxes, plus interest and expenses, since April. Interest accumulates at a rate of $467 per day.

The company hired Koster, which auctioned papermaking equipment at the Millinocket mill on June 17 as part of Great Northern’s plan to pay the Internal Revenue Service and the town. Millinocket secured a payment by filing a lien seeking the property taxes in late May.

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