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Gregory Canyon bankruptcy dismissed
What it means to landfill plans is unclear

By J. Harry Jones, March 24, 2014

SAN DIEGO — A bankruptcy proceeding involving the company behind the long-planned Gregory Canyon landfill has been dismissed by a judge because the company failed to retain an attorney or file any necessary paperwork in court.

The bankruptcy proceedings had been initiated Feb. 12 by three creditors who were also some of the company’s original investors. The judge ordered the company to turn in certain documents within 14 days of the filing, but no paperwork was ever filed. Last week, a meeting was scheduled on the petition at the downtown courthouse in San Diego and no one representing Gregory Canyon showed up.

An “emergency motion” to dismiss the case was made Thursday and was granted by the court on Friday. No one opposed the dismissal.

What the action means to the future of the landfill is unclear. Jim Simmons, project manager with Gregory Canyon Ltd, declined to comment Monday.

When the initial filing was made in February, company spokeswoman Nancy Chase said the move was designed to manage debt so the company could attract new investors and push the project through its final permitting stages.

On Monday, Chase characterized the end of the case as a “good thing.”

“The dismissal of the bankruptcy means we’re working on new financing,” she said. “We’re working on other opportunities.”

She said she expects there will be a financing development in about a month’s time.

Irwin Heller — a Boston attorney and one of the project’s original investors, who claims he is owed $1.55 million by the company — declined to comment Monday and referred questions to Simmons.

It’s been known for some time that Gregory Canyon has been hurting financially. It owes at least $320,000 to the county’s Air Pollution Control District, which announced in January it was suspending work on the landfill’s permit application because the company was past due on its hefty bill.

Robert Kard, an official with the Pollution Control District, said Monday he’s not sure what to make of the bankruptcy dismissal. He said the district hasn’t received any money from the company and isn’t doing any work on the permit until it does.

Six months ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — which has been processing another permit application for the landfill for several years — suspended working on the project because the company had never gotten back to the Corps with additional research and engineering studies they had been asked to provide.

Two attorneys who have been busy fighting the landfill plans for years — Walter Rusinek on behalf of the Pala Indians and Everett DeLano on behalf of an environmental group called RiverWatch — said Monday they are also unsure what the dismissal of the bankruptcy petition means.

DeLano said Gregory Canyon seems to be in a state of disarray.

“All I can tell you is this is not a company I want operating anything, let alone a landfill near a sacred site and a river and all the rest of it,” he said.

Earlier this year Chase said the company has spent more than $62 million on its efforts to build the landfill which have been ongoing for nearly two decades. The landfill is proposed for a site south of state Route 76 about 3 and 1/2 miles east of Interstate 15 near the Pala Indian Reservation.

The project has been controversial since first proposed.

The developers say the North County needs its own landfill and that it will be a state-of-the-art facility with a liner system that will make leakage impossible.

Opponents say the landfill’s proximity to the San Luis River and underground water supplies makes it an environmental disaster waiting to happen because no dump is safe.


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