County puts brakes on 3M project

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Collection process for more than $2 million to be started in 30 days

By Jennifer Garcia

Time has run out for 3M IMTEC.

On Tuesday night County Councilors terminated the economic development project for Hytec LLC, Imtec Real Estate LLC and 3M Imtec Corporation.

The vote scuttled a deal in which the county, in 2007, entered into a loan agreement and promissory note with Hytec Inc. for $2.4 million under the county’s Small Business Financial Assistance Program.

The loan was to be used to build a 20,000-square-foot building. So far, $2,032,475 has been disbursed and $496,581 has been held back pending a certificate of occupancy.

County Administrator Anthony Mortillaro said he and Assistant County Attorney C. Brian James met with Imtec and 3M recently and were anticipating some sort of proposal would materialize by Tuesday, but it did not.

Mortillaro added that there has been no communication from 3M acknowledging the default.

After a 30-day period, the county legal department will begin the collection process to collect over $2 million, plus the value of jobs and gross receipts, as well as other provisions such as attorney fees and the cost of litigation

associated with the collection.

County Attorney Mary McInerny said that settling the debt is also an option.

Jean Moore, a representative from Sutin Thayer & Browne based in

Albuquerque spoke to council regarding her client’s debt. Councilor Vincent Chiravalle asked her if there was any indication that 3M would locate jobs here.

“3M is still talking to folks and holding out hope. We can’t rule out a positive resolution in the next 30 days,” she said.

However, when Chiravalle asked Moore if 3M was continuing to seek jobs, Moore said that those were privileged discussions that she’s had with her client and referred the question to F. Doyle Shea of 3M Real Estate.

“We have worked very hard over the past 60 days and we’re sorry we can’t bring you a solution tonight,” Shea said.

Former Imtec owner Tim Thompson asked council for more time.

“Our intent when we took the loan was to continue to grow the business. I’d love to see LACDC (Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation) take on the economic metrics. There’s still an opportunity for economic development. I’d like a little more extension of time,” Thompson said.

“Making us pay is premature. I think we could make lemonade out of lemons if we have a little bit of time. I don’t think we’ll have a problem renting the building to someone associated with the lab, but we’d prefer to see a benefit come back to the county.”

Shea also told councilors that the building is rented.

“3M has a lease signed with Imtec Real Estate LLC. I’m trying to find someone I can sublet to,” he said.

Councilor Ralph Phelps was not convinced.

“We can’t terminate this agreement fast enough for me. There’s a whole bunch of cooks out there trying to cook something up,” he said.