CHEYENNE — A company has withdrawn its proposal to build a plant it says would turn Cheyenne's residential trash into diesel fuel after questions were raised about the background of its chief executive officer.
Mayor Jack Spiker said Thursday the city was itself preparing to withdraw from the deal with Green Power Inc. when CEO Michael Spitzauer e-mailed this week with his company's withdrawal.
Last week, the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reported that Spitzauer, an Austrian citizen who lives in the United States, was convicted of fraud and later was accused in connection with a series of frauds in his native country. The paper reported that the Austrian government had sought his extradition but dropped its request.
Spitzauer had denied that he had been convicted in Austria, saying there must have been a mistaken translation of court papers.
However, city attorney Mike Basom said he reviewed court papers in which Spitzauer's own attorney agreed as a matter of fact that Spitzauer had been convicted of fraud in Austria and served three years of a six-year sentence.
In addition, city officials this week discovered that an investment banking firm in Dallas had withdrawn Green Power's financing to build the $80 million plant at the Cheyenne landfill just days before Spitzauer conducted a demonstration of his trash-to-diesel process for city officials last month.
Spitzauer defended himself in a news release issued Wednesday.
"Someone had to have gone through a great deal of trouble to dig up this information on me," he said. "The only people that had anything to gain from exposing this were oil companies."
Spitzauer has said that his technology would reduce or eliminate the need for foreign oil.
"We are more than happy to build a plant there," Spitzauer said. "We just have to move on. If they want us to go into negotiations, we will go back."
Spitzauer said he had secured other investments to finance the plant construction.