BUCKSPORT — Demolition work on the paper mill here appears to have stopped this week, according to town officials, but the exact reason for that stoppage is still not entirely clear.
The break in activity may be related to the finances of the subcontractor hired to carry out the demolition, according to Interim Town Manager Susan Lessard.
Lessard first caught wind of the stoppage when several local vendors called the town office earlier this week and informed officials they had not been paid for services they rendered at the mill site.
The local vendors were looking for a way to get in touch with both Denovo Constructors and AIM Development, the company that bought the mill last year, Lessard said.
AIM has contracted out the demolition project to Denovo. Denovo began tearing down the mill late last year.
“This is a small town,” Lessard said. “It became clear that no work is happening on the site.”
A representative from AIM could not be reached Wednesday afternoon.
Jeff McGlin, the company’s vice president, did not immediately respond to emailed questions, and Lessard said he is out of the country and on vacation this week.
After learning McGlin was out of the country, Lessard said she corresponded with AIM’s corporate legal counsel, who promptly informed her via email that the company is having difficulties with Denovo, but did not provide more information.
Company officials are holding a conference call on the matter later this week, Lessard added.
“I don’t know what the state of Denovo is, if they’ve hit a bump or hit or a wall or what,” Lessard said. “AIM has a contract with them, so they will be following up.”
Lessard also stressed that whatever is happening, it is between those two companies.
“We didn’t stop anything. This all occurred because of issues with AIM’s contractor. The town was not a party to this,” she said.
In the past, McGlin has said AIM was seeking a performance bond guaranteeing Denovo’s completion of the demolition work. The terms of that bond could not be confirmed Wednesday.
The town has also a received a performance bond from AIM guaranteeing the project’s completion.
The project began in late 2015 and was expected to take around two years. It was estimated to cost $4.45 million.
Just last week, everything seemed on track when the town’s community and economic development director, Richard Rotella, met with AIM officials, Lessard said.
Lessard hopes to speak with AIM’s corporate counsel again tomorrow, after the company’s conference call.
“I’m sure that AIM can speak for themselves, but I’m sure they’re less happy than we are about this,” Lessard added. “If they have to go through the process of looking at another contractor, that is not a small thing.”