Williams taking firm with 'grain of salt'

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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It'd be "very, very difficult" for the province to deal with a firm that had expressed an interest in the Grand Falls-Windsor mill, Premier Danny Williams said Friday.

"Obviously, the way this company has conducted itself over the last three or four days, it shows that they are all over the place ... we're treating it with a grain of salt," he told reporters.

Premier Danny Williams (second from left) is questioned by reporters Friday. Williams said he is taking an investment firm, which had expressed interest in the Grand Falls-Windsor mill, with a grain of salt. Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

It'd be "very, very difficult" for the province to deal with a firm that had expressed an interest in the Grand Falls-Windsor mill, Premier Danny Williams said Friday.

"Obviously, the way this company has conducted itself over the last three or four days, it shows that they are all over the place ... we're treating it with a grain of salt," he told reporters.

"It's a very, very important piece. If we could find someone to operate that mill, we'd only be too delighted. But we're not building up hopes. We haven't from the start."

Last week, Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale told the House of Assembly under Opposition questioning that Lott Paper had expressed an interest in the shuttered mill.

The media soon reported Lott - a German firm - was in bankruptcy protection.

Lott is being backed by Motion Invest and that company said Tuesday it was no longer interested. It said the decision resulted from inaccurate reports and statements about its intent. The company said discussions with the province were supposed to be private and that confidentiality had been breached.

Motion Invest stated its interest was dependent on a feasibility study, and that at no time was it close to preparing an offer.

Dunderdale countered Wednesday morning, saying the company had provided a letter of intent that included timelines and a request for $52 million in government money.

Then Wednesday afternoon, the minister said there had been discussions that day between her department and Bob Roche of Motion Invest's Toronto office. There was still a possibility the company could submit a plan, she said.

However, a spokesman for the firm quickly reiterated its position hadn't changed and that the province had not been told otherwise.

Williams said the situation from Motion Invest's perspective "has just been a farce" and the firm is not stating facts correctly. Dunderdale has handled it well, he said.

"We're treading very, very lightly, but we're being very thorough," the premier said.

"Tomorrow, if a group came out of that group that was a bona fide company that could operate that mill, we'd only be too delighted. But they have to play by the rules and they have to show that they're a legitimate business, and we won't accept any less for Grand Falls-Windsor."

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Newfie
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    Mary: If you lived here, you would see that Danny has done very little for the Rock.

  • Lloyd
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    Loosely following this and loosely following this from afar (Labrador) it seems to me this whole series of events from beginning to end needs to be taken with a liberal dose of salts indeed.

  • james
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    the king has spoken did all his servents get the message

  • Lloyd
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Randy, Randy, Randy.
    Cripes, I s'pose if I said PC (which could, and does also mean 'politically correct') you'd probably think I meant progressive conservative.
    No, I mean liberally quite literally, speaking in a figurative way, if you know what I mean. You've therefore gotten my meaning reversed, sort of.

  • Danny's Back
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Where was he this week when Blunderdale was taking the heat?? He will be front and centre for the good news announcements, beaming and pumping his fists.

    This was all a shameful case of smoke and mirrors yet AGAIN from an arrogant bunch who cannot admit wrongdoing (expropriation).

    I am always astonished, too, at the relative nonchalance of the masses about this. They are obviously brainwashed and have been hoodwinked again, and/or are too intimidated as always as it seems, to speak out - and better yet, to mobilize against this dictatorship.

  • Bones II
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Mary: The regular government bashers you see here are haters, plain and simple. They hate all things about government, good and bad. The Telegram likes to print articles that bring out the worst in them, and, as history will show you, it usually does. These people just need something to speak negatively about and politics is always good food for that. Many of them would claim they would trade of the current government any day of the week. Fact is, the following week, they'd all be here complaining about them regardless, lol. Half of them don't now enough to appreciate anything and that's usually reflected by the context of their comments. Case in point: If Williams HAD made a statement and stood up where the haters claim the minister failed, he would then be accused of micromanaging portfolios, lol. They're hypocrites, the whole lot of em, lol.

  • Micky
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Mary like a few other Danny adolators, I fear you are being led down the garden path. Would you please name the positive things he has done for this province. The fishery is a disaster, two paper mills and logging operations were pushed out by him and upper Churchill is still a dead horse. Look at the stupid mess he made with expropriating assets he didn't want in GFW and the phoney sale of that mill. The only thing working is the oil and that was on the go long before he got involved. Really there is no other premier who has performed as badly as he has.

  • Mary
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    What a bunch of negative comments. Aren't any of the people in NL grateful to Danny for all his done for the Rock.

  • Randy
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    What are you talking about Lloyd??The liberals had nothing to do with this fiasco,but your buddy Danny did,Looks like you kissed Danny's arse a lot more then you care to mention

  • Newfie
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Treating it with a grain of salt is a good comment, because that is all Lott/Motion Invest is going to pay for it.

    Danny No More Giveaways Williams is giving it away again.

    Shameful business deal.