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UPDATE (3/10): Clayton Gsell, R3′s chief operating officer, called us Wednesday on behalf of Robin Grathwol to say she was very very busy, but knew we wanted to get in touch with her. It appears Grathwol asked Gsell to call us and run interference instead of calling herself. Gsell said there was not much she could say, but the company was considering issuing a statement either Friday or Saturday. But since we haven’t spoken to Grathwol ourselves, as far as we’re concerned she’s still MIA, so we’ll call it Missing – Day 4.

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Robin Grathwol, you promised the people of New Hanover County your company, R3, would take care of their trash in a new and exciting way. You promised you’d be able to sift through it, turn some of it into energy and recycle the rest. You promised you’d eventually be able to get rid of our landfill.

Now it appears your company can’t live up to what it promised. Why can’t it meet its deadlines? Is there any new state-of-the-art equipment here to start sorting garbage installed yet? Why have you abandoned your offices? Why won’t you call the media back and answer these questions?

Robin Grathwol, you owe the people of New Hanover County an explanation…

Click here to check out the background of this story: http:wway.wcbi.com/2011/03/08/only-3-has-new-hanover-countys-new-garbage-company-skipped-town

UPDATE (3/9): R3 told the county last week that it doesn’t think it can meet its April 2 deadline to come up with an operating plan.

County Commissioner Jason Thompson told Chad Adams on The Big Talker FM this morning that the county can’t do anything until that date. He says if R3 can’t meet the deadline, it has posted a $384,000 bond that it would have to turn over to the county.

“They’re a private business. They’re under no obligation to contact the media,” Thompson said. “I know they’re talking to our staff. Our staff can get in touch with them just about every day for the last several weeks.”

While R3 is a private company, it is also now a government contractor, which if it succeeds will be subsidized by taxpayer money.

Comment on this Story

  • taxpayeriam

    If the tax payers are to subsidize R3 because they are a government contractor,then are doing the same for CFPUA if so why are not refinance
    the bond instead of raising rates.As to Commissioner idea for cfpua not to buy lab equipment and contract out the lab work was great,but if they did that it would cut around 6-8 high payed people off the pay roll
    and cut hundreds of thousands of dollars and they would not need the rate increase.The increase they are asking for should only be for a year to pay the bond off.100,000 customers times $5.00 for 12 months equals 6 million dollars,hope someone in our government can do the math and not allow for more increases just to keep the greedy happy.
    NO MORE NO MORE Commissioners GET SOME BACK BONE AND SAY NO!!.YOU WORK FOR THE TAX PAYERS NOT CFPUA OR R3??

  • SomeGuy

    Thanks Scott and WWAY for reporting in-depth about this issue. The entire situation of NHC’s landfill was a hot topic way back before R3 was awarded the contract, so naturally there remains an elevated level of interest in the outcome.

    While other news outlets have passed along press releases and reported on missed deadlines (or extensions), WWAY appears to be the only group that understands that at least some of their audience wants to know more. WWAY is not giving up after an unsuccessful phone call or two, and I’m looking forward to knowing what more they find.

    While maybe we all should have known that what R3 proposed was too good to be true, my concern is that the prospect of cashing in on their forfeited bond and waving goodbye to R3 may also turn out to be too good to be true.

    Finally, if that does turn out to be resolution then I respect the commissioners for protecting our interests to that extent. Re-reading GBB’s press release reminds me that there was considerable upside for the county if R3 made good on their proposal, and there could have also been considerable downside for the county if the commissioners hadn’t managed the risk as they did.

  • Guest Apu

    By the way, to me it seems like WWAY is incorrectly saying that R3 is “subsidized” by taxpayers. As commonly used, a subsidy is paid out to a person or company to help stop the decline of their industry, like subsidies paid to farmers who produce a crop, where the government isn’t buying the crop, just paying the farmer an extra amount on top of what he sells it for in the open market. For these subsidies, the government doesn’t get anything in return.

    In the case of R3, the government is entering into a purchase of services agreement. A contract was put out for bid, and R3 won the contract. The county is agreeing to pay what they have deemed to be a fair price for the services to be rendered. The taxpayers aren’t paying an artificially high price (a subsidy) for the services.

    Not only that, R3 put up a bond which they forfeit if they can’t honor their obligations. That bond is the only thing they might “owe the people of New Hanover County” at this point.

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