A trash truck empties trash cans on S. Park Street in Bangor in January 2022. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The group that represents more than 100 towns and cities across Maine in restarting a dormant Hampden trash plant hopes to close a deal with a new prospective financial partner by June. 

The group, the Municipal Review Committee, last week named Innovative Resource Recovery as its new prospective partner in reopening a beleaguered trash plant in Hampden that has been closed since 2020. During a meeting with the Municipal Review Committee’s executive board and member communities on Thursday, it was revealed that Innovative Resource Recovery was created specifically for this venture by an investment firm backed by a multi-billion dollar pocketbook. 

Innovative Resource Recovery was formed by White Oak Global Advisors after members of White Oak met with and discussed purchasing the facility from the Municipal Review Committee, said James Condela, a representative of Innovative. 

White Oak Global Advisors is a federally registered investment advisory firm with offices in California, New York and Illinois. It manages an investment fund of about $6 billion, according to the firm’s latest filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“With over $20 billion of capital deployed since inception across over a thousand companies throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, we understand the unique challenges facing small and middle market businesses,” White Oak Global Advisors states on its website.

At the end of March, the Municipal Review Committee signed a 60-day exclusivity agreement with Innovative and agreed to a prospective closing date of June 2. As part of the agreement, Innovative has made a $350,000 non-refundable deposit and intends to purchase the facility for $3 million, said Mike Carroll, the Municipal Review Committee’s executive director. 

Condela, whose position within Innovative was not immediately clear, said he brings to the table decades of experience in food waste recycling and plastic recycling, and has evaluated dozens of waste “technologies.” 

Condela was most recently the chief executive officer and chief financial officer for Continuus Materials LLC. 

In May 2020, the Hampden facility — called Coastal Resources at the time — closed after it ran out of money to operate. Since then, the facility has sat dormant, limiting people’s ability to recycle and resulting in their trash either being sent to an incinerator or landfill.

Last August, the Municipal Review Committee purchased the facility and tapped Revere Capital Advisors, a New York-based investment firm, as its prospective financial partner.

Initially, a company called CS Solutions was slated to be the shuttered trash plant’s operator under Revere’s reopening plan. But that company withdrew after the Bangor Daily News highlighted its roots in a New Hampshire-based investment company that came to Maine more than a decade ago, pledging to reopen the Katahdin region’s two paper mills, which never materialized.

At the end of January, the Municipal Review Committee and Revere severed their partnership.

In March, Karen Fussell, president of the committee, told state lawmakers that the Municipal Review Committee needed to find $20 million in financing or risk liquidating the Hampden facility.

Since the Hampden facility closed in 2020, the Municipal Review Committee has paid for the upkeep of the facility. The group has invested $13 million in the plant, Carroll, the group’s executive director, said last month.

Although the partnership between Revere and the Municipal Review Committee seemed promising, Revere could not commit enough funds from the pool of investors it represented. 

White Oaks and Innovative have cash on hand that is already committed to purchasing and restarting the facility.

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...