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Mayor Maxwell & Tethys Enterprises Secretly Negotiate

Oct. 2, 2013

Anacortes, WA

Skagit County

Anacortes taxpayers paid $48,139.49 to Foster Pepper of Seattle to write the 2010 Tethys-City of Anacortes water agreement that contains no termination clause for either Tethys or the City of Anacortes. 

Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin learned yesterday that Tethys Enterprises and Mayor Maxwell/Foster Pepper have been secretly negotiating the termination of the 2010 Water Agreement. Two Anacortes city council members learned about negotiations yesterday. Maxwell is yet to inform citizens about ongoing negotiations.

Tethys, a capital venture company, proposed to build a one million-square-foot beverage bottling plant that would have been entitled to five million gallons of Skagit River water per day from the Anacortes water treatment plant. The bottling plant would have been the largest in North America.

After three years of working on the proposal with the City of Anacortes, Tethys CEO Steve Winter informed Maxwell by letter that he would cease operations in Anacortes immediately. Winter and his wife relocated to Ireland to start up “an exciting new international investment company.”

On Sept. 10, Maxwell released Winter’s letter to the press.

However, Winter’s departure apparently translates into no simple termination of the water agreement. Maxwell signed the 2010 water agreement, advised by Foster Pepper, that included no boilerplate termination clause for either Tethys or the City of Anacortes. Tethys and Maxwell are currently negotiating termination without input from at least two city council members.

At mayoral candidate forums, Maxwell has been asked if he would change the way he performed behind-closed-doors negotiations of the 2010 water agreement. He answered that he would perform the same today. Are Anacortes citizens again to be refused a public hearing regarding whatever deal Maxwell makes with Tethys about their most valuable resource, water? Will history repeat itself?

Many questions come to mind as Maxwell again secretly negotiates.

✦ Will he arrange an assignment of five million gallons of water per day to another corporation?

✦ Will tax money of $48,139.49* paid to Foster Pepper for the 2010 water agreement be repaid? (Betty Townsend of Anacortes obtained public records regarding contract cost to taxpayers.)

✦ What does Tethys want in return for terminating the agreement?

✦ Where is the due diligence of investigating with whom the City makes contracts/agreements?

✦ On Oct. 14, 2012, Sandra Spargo informed the Anacortes City Council of the following:

Since CEO Steve Winter of Tethys touts his experience at Intermec, Inc., as background for the Tethys bottling project, please know that Intermec severed Winter with a payment of $375,000 on Oct. 9, 2007. Please visit the following website:  http://www.techagreements.com/agreement-preview.aspx?title=Intermec,%20- %20Separation&num=627094

Opinion is that due diligence is required when the City signs contracts, especially regarding the region’s municipal water.

On Oct. 1, Dale Pernula, Skagit County & Planning Services, stated the following regarding Anacortes’ UGA petition that would have favored additional land for the building of Tethys’ one- million-square-foot bottling plant and accompanying train yard:

  • “Our dealings are only with the City of Anacortes.”
  • “Anacortes said that it would get back to us regarding the UGA petition after the November election.”

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