Letter to the editor

Difference between a bleeding donor and a bleeding investor

Wed, 08/25/2021 - 7:45am

In an August 12 post to Nordic Aquafarms' Facebook page, Nordic CEO Erik Heim refers to the "bleeding donors" of the Nordic opposition. If I were Mr. Heim, I would be more worried about Nordic's bleeding investors.

In 2018 emails to then Belfast City Manager Joe Slocum, Heim tells Slocum that Nordic plans to have all its permits for its $500 million industrial fish farm by November 2018 and expects to begin construction in the spring of 2019.

More than two years later, Nordic hasn't stuck a single shovel in the ground.

Nordic's Department of Environmental Protection and Belfast Planning Board permits are both under appeal and Nordic performed miserably in a trial over ownership of intertidal land Nordic needs for its project.

Nordic's star witness, Surveyor Jim Dorsky, expounded on his second ownership theory, his original theory being rather inconvenient for his client of the day. Dorsky was followed by Janet Eckrote, who waxed sentimental about land so important to her family that they sold it the very week of the trial – and failed to tell the court. Oops. 

And the City of Belfast is being sued for trying to take the same intertidal land by eminent domain – presumably because even the see-no-evil City couldn't ignore Nordic's dismal courtroom performance.

Nordic is hemorrhaging money in Belfast. Nordic's DEP permit application ran to 1,000 pages, much or all of it written by lawyers racking up hundreds of dollars an hour.

Then there's the rent on their ghost-town office in downtown Belfast, and the various employees sitting around for three years waiting for the phone to ring. And the seaside home Nordic bought and gave to the City in a dubious public-park scheme seemingly intended to obscure the City's use of eminent domain for private purpose, which is illegal in Maine.

And then there are Nordic's woes in its hometown of Fredrikstad, Norway, where Nordic's incompetence caused its infrastructure to sink into the ground and its lawyers to take one on the chin. 

The difference between a bleeding donor and a bleeding investor is the difference between someone defending their home and someone who would just as soon sell tacos - and if I were a Nordic investor, I'd be giving tacos a long hard look.

Lawrence Reichard lives in Belfast