KINGSTON – Kingston may be able to recover money from the defunct wind turbine next to the Boneyard Dog Park that stopped spinning in 2019 following a cease-and-desist order from the town and seven years of complaints about the noise and flicker.
Kingston Wind Independence, the company that put up and operated the wind turbine, received a $6.75 million settlement from the turbine manufacturer, Hyundai Heavy Industries, according to court documents.
Cathay Bank, which issued a $5 million loan for the wind turbine, said in a federal lawsuit filed on July 24 that Kingston Wind Independence received the settlement after pursuing arbitration against the turbine manufacturer and the bank wants to be paid back for its outstanding balance, $1.8 million. Kingston Wind Independence alleged the turbine was defective, Cathay Bank said in its lawsuit.
The bank declared the loan balance immediately due in a July 8 letter, but Kingston Wind Independence never responded, the bank said.
The bank is also suing the three people behind the company, Bradford Cleaves, Kially Ruiz and Duncan Peterson. Cleaves and Peterson run a construction company in Weymouth, D & C Construction Company, which shares the same address as Kingston Wind Independence.
Kingston Wind Independence did not return a request for comment. Cleaves said the turbine is “up in the air right now,” and then that he had no comment. Peterson and Ruiz could not be reached.
The town’s attorney, Jay Talerman, said he was not aware of the lawsuit against Kingston Wind Independence, or that it received a settlement for the turbine, until he was contacted by a reporter with The Patriot Ledger.
“They’ve owed us a lot of money,” Talerman said. “There’s the rent on the land from the town. They stopped paying rent a long time ago and that adds up. They owed the town personal property taxes.”
He said the total owed to the town could be well over $1 million but the bigger question is what happens to the turbine.
When Falmouth decided to take down its two wind turbines, the subject of multiple lawsuits over the noise they created, the town asked residents to approve spending $2.5 million to dismantle and store them.
Talerman said reaching into the settlement money could be difficult but there is still a lawsuit against the company in Plymouth Superior Court. Kingston Wind Independence sued the town over a noise abatement order and lost. The town filed a counter-claim, which could be revived, he said.
“It becomes difficult to get blood out of the stone,” he said. “We’d have to give notice to the bank as well.”
Talerman said he is “realistic” about the remedies available to the town. Since Kingston Wind Independence is a limited liability corporation, or LLC, the owners cannot be sued individually and, before the news of the $6.75 million settlement, it appeared the company was out of money.
“The fact they got this money could be the basis of a remedy,” he said.
The turbine had problems for years before finally shutting down in 2019. For one, it was noisy. Then, lightning struck it, frying a controller. When noise issues continued, it was discovered that the turbine’s yaw system, which adjusts the angle of the blade’s rotation around its vertical axis, had a defect.
Wicked Local Plymouth reporter Emily Clark contributed to this report.
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