Big Island sawmill faces new setback
By John Burnett
A former Pacific Northwest logger facing foreclosure on the Haina Mill property has suffered another setback to his plan to turn the former sugar mill into a sawmill.
Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara ruled July 14 that Bob Marr defaulted on contracts with Allied Machinery Corp. to buy 11 pieces of used construction equipment and to rent a forklift and loader. Hara ruled that Marr owes Allied more than $560,000.
Marr's office manager, Barbara Bass, said Wednesday that Marr had no comment.
According to court documents, Marr bought three bulldozers, two excavators, three hydraulic hammers, a loader, a brush cutter and an excavator from Allied in February 2006 for $733,000. Hara ruled that Marr still owes Allied just under $495,000.
The court also stated that Marr owed a past-due balance of more than $54,600 in rental charges to Allied. In addition, Hara ordered that Marr pay Allied's attorney fees plus court costs, just over $11,100.
Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong said he met Tuesday evening with Marr and Bass. The 49-acre mill property, bought by Marr in October 2007 for $3.3 million, is near Honoka'a, in Yagong's district.
"They basically told me they're still committed to doing the project, that they still are looking for financing," he said. "They mentioned that they have some people that they lined up, that they hope the financing will come through. They did mention that there are still a lot of things going back and forth, but they didn't mention anything about the Allied thing."
A foreclosure suit was filed June 9 in Circuit Court, alleging that Haina Properties and Marr had defaulted on two loans from Haina Mill Mortgage Lender LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, totaling $5.164 million. The filing claimed that interest continues to accrue at more than $2,650 per day, and that Marr and Haina Properties owed $5,933,700 as of June 3.
Some area residents have voiced concern about noise, pollution and logging trucks on Standard Oil Road, which runs to the mill. Others, citing the need for jobs, favored converting the sugar mill on the property, which is zoned for heavy industry.