Rumors that Laurentian Aerospace Corp. is considering a Florida location are completely unfounded, according to Chief Financial Officer Andrew Edwards.

"That is absolute nonsense. There is no basis to that whatsoever," he told the Press-Republican on Thursday.

Edwards said it would be enormously costly to start over at this point and would go against their principles.

"It wouldn't be the right thing to do from a business standpoint, and it wouldn't be the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint."

NASA TIE-IN

The rumors were based on the end of NASA's space-shuttle program, which will make thousands of workers available.

The talk was also fueled by news on FloridaToday.com that Florida Gov. Rick Scott led a delegation that met with 141 Canadian companies last week and signed legislation this week that creates a new state economic-development agency.

Edwards said the delegation didn't meet with anyone from Laurentian in an attempt to lure the $175 million project to build a two-bay hangar for maintenance, repair and overhaul of wide-bodied jets away from Plattsburgh.

COMMUNITY BACKING

The company couldn't find a better location than Plattsburgh, Edwards said, from both physical and community-support perspectives.

That local support includes Clinton County, the County of Clinton Industrial Development Agency, Empire State Development Corp., the North Country Chamber of Commerce, the City of Plattsburgh and Mayor Donald Kasprzak, the Town of Plattsburgh and Supervisor Bernie Bassett and others.

"These people have been terrific in the support they have given us," Edwards said.

STILL ON HOLD

The Laurentian Board of Directors remains committed to the transaction, Edwards said, as does Verdant Capital Group.

"Verdant has again affirmed their commitment to provide the financing," he said.

Edwards said they have made progress on the final closing but nothing that would let them announce work has resumed on the site.

The project was first announced in June 2006. It was delayed after potential investors pulled back due to the worldwide financial crisis.

Laurentian announced it had made an initial closing on its financing deal on March 1, and site-preparation work began, with a final closing expected March 17.

That work stopped earlier this spring due to delays in the final closing.

AGREEMENTS

Edwards said the complex deal involves three agreements that have to be finalized: one between Laurentian and its suppliers and contractors and their counterparts; another between Laurentian and Verdant, regarding how the company will operate; and a third between Verdant Capital and its partners, which will supply the equity funding.

He said the first set of agreements is in place, but work remains on the second and third. Those involve a number of parties, including lawyers and banks, as Verdant works to collect money from a variety of sources.

The delays are administrative in nature, Edwards said, but he expects them to be resolved within weeks, if not sooner.

"I don't expect any significant additional delay."

Email Dan Heath at:

dheath@pressrepublican.com

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