Landowners should be wary of liens with wind energy company

Posted 8 March 2015 at 12:00 am


APEX Clean Energy, a Virginia-based Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), is seeking to install an industrial wind factory they’ve dubbed “Lighthouse Wind LLC” in the Towns of Somerset and Yates, along the beautiful shorelines of Lake Ontario in Niagara and Orleans counties.

According to APEX, these massive, bird-and-bat-chopping, oil-filled behemoths are slated to be as high as 570 feet-tall. Tip-to-tip, the 11-plus TON blades will span over 320-plus feet across (longer than a football field).

A question to the Somerset Supervisor, Dan Engert, regarding his comment “local residents largely support the proposed wind farm,” is: Would these people be $igned lea$eholers with Apex? On the contrary, hundreds of people who have contacted Save Ontario Shores – S.O.S., DO NOT SUPPORT this life-altering project! (Click here to see Save Ontario Shores Facebook page.)

Among our many concerns is the fact that “Mechanic Liens,” now totaling $2.1 Million as of Feb. 15, have been filed against property owned by landowners in Vermillion, Illinois, who signed lease contracts for the wind factory that APEX built there.

“Mechanic’s Liens” are claims filed on the property of another by those who performed work, or furnished materials for a project on that property, for the value of the services and/or materials rendered, when the project owner has NOT PAID the just debt to those who did the work or provided the materials.

When liens are placed on a contracted property, landowners should take note that the property will have a record of having this “lien” filed until the lien is settled and released. A lien on a property renders the property owner unable to obtain clear title to the property. Liens can damage the property owner’s credit scores, negatively affecting their ability to obtain loans and lines of credit.

The enforcement of a mechanic’s lien can be accomplished by filing a lawsuit to foreclose the lien – ultimately having the property on which the project occurred SOLD in order to pay off the lien.

In other words, if APEX abandons the project (for any number of reasons), those who signed leases with them could be left holding the bag, and forced to sell their properties to pay APEX’s unpaid bills. Invenergy Attorney, Daniel Spitzer, summed it up years ago at a Local Government workshop in Mt.Morris, when he candidly admitted, “The landowner will be liable.”

Further research on “Mechanics Liens” reveals there have been Hundreds of Millions of Dollars worth of Liens filed in County Clerk’s offices across the United States and Canada since 2007 against properties under contract with various Big Wind LLCs (ie: 66 liens filed against property owners involved in Wyoming County in 2009). Also noteworthy is the fact that the vast majority of these “liens” were filed by out-of state contractors – more proof that all of Big Wind’s claims of “local” jobs they create are NOT true. (For more info on wind-related liens, check

An environmental lawyer experienced in preserving the health, safety, and welfare of citizens across New York State commented, “These stories detail the risk landowners face who grant easements to financially insecure wind developers. Contractors who were not fully paid can file liens on the property and ultimately foreclose on those properties to get their money, despite the fact that the property owner never contracted with the unpaid debtor.”

Why would anyone in their right mind want to enter into a business contract with shady corporations who have a history of not paying their bills (and much more), for a product that has NO NET BENEFIT to the taxpayers and ratepayers who are being forced to foot the bill?

As they say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Cathi Orr
Somerset, N.Y.
Save Ontario Shores – S.O.S.