Opp, Perihelion end contract

Published 12:31 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The contract between Perihelion Global and the city of Opp has been dissolved, and all the land and permanent structures have been deeded back to the city.

City attorney Wesley Laird said Tuesday the two entities entered into an agreement Dec. 5 that stipulated all real estate and property be turned back to the city.

In the agreement, Perihelion Global CEO John. H. Beebe was given 90 days to vacate the property.

“It was an amicable ‘going our separate ways,’” Laird said. “Mr. Beebe has released all claims (to the property) since he feels that due to the current severe recession, the downturn of the national economy, the disruption of the capital market and the decrease in fuel prices, it would not be feasible to construct a bio-fuel refinery.”

Under the original contract, Beebe had until Feb. 13, 2009, to build a manufacturing facility, employ 20 people upon completion and employ 100 people within three years. He reported he would locate in Opp with a $20 million investment in building and equipment.

In its three-year history, the company was plagued with declining stock prices and a series of financial issues. Production at the plant was delayed numerous times, and in September, The Star-News reported power to plant was disconnected and two local companies had placed liens against the company for non-payment.

However, Beebe maintained the company would meet its February deadline.

Now, that will not happen.

Robert Boothe, who served as head of Perihelion’s corporate media relations, said Tuesday he resigned his position with the company “several months ago” and is now serving as a liquidator.

“I’m not being paid,” Boothe said. “I’m here trying to satisfy the local liens. I just want to see the people (in Opp) get paid the money they’re owed.”

While Laird said the company was paid up on its rent to the city, Boothe acknowledged there are at least three liens on the company by two local residents and one Dothan company. He also confirmed he had been interviewed by the Alabama Securities Commission concerning the company’s operation.

“I do know that complaints have been filed,” Boothe said. “The ASC just wants to know what was going on with (the company) and about their stock.”

Dan Lord, public affairs manager for the ASC, said he can’t confirm or deny a formal investigation, but did confirm the ASC is “looking into it.”

Laird said Perihelion Global is to retain all moveable structures on the property, such as the mobile home and tanks. The “tent building, as people call it” is a permanent structure and will remain on the property, he said.

“This project really has not had any significant cost to the city,” he said. “In fact, right now we’re entertaining a prospect for the property. We’ve got some good things that are about to happen in Opp.”

“Good things” that will include an announcement “pretty soon” on a company who has decided to locate in the 40,000 spec building behind the former Perihelion property, Laird said.

Attempts Tuesday to reach Beebe and his attorney Julian McPhillips were unsuccessful.