Tribal Government & News

April 15 meeting set to brief Tribal members on MicroGREEN closure

04.14.2015 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, Events

By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

An Arlington, Wash.-based company that Native American Tribes, including the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, invested in closed on Friday, April 3.

MicroGREEN Polymers was founded in 2002 and used its patented technology to create InCycle recyclable cups made from recycled water bottles.

Over the last two years, the company had raised money from numerous investors to pay for expansions to keep up with orders placed by several major airlines. Along with the Stillaguamish Tribe and waste and recycling firm Waste Management, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde invested in the company, purchasing preferred stock and convertible debt in 2013 and 2014.

In addition, the Grand Ronde Tribe issued loans to Ilihi LLC, a limited liability company wholly owned by the Tribe, for investing in MicroGREEN notes secured by the company’s assets, including intellectual property.

The Tribe’s initial investment in MicroGREEN won a Deal of the Year award at the Native American Finance Officers Association’s seventh annual Leadership Awards luncheon held in New Orleans in 2014.

The company, which at one point employed more than 100 people, closed its doors and the main phone number is now answered with a recorded message that says, “We have ceased operations and are closed until further notice.”

Tribal Council Chairman Reyn Leno said that the company’s closure will not affect Tribal budgets, per capita payments or other Tribal services, but will slow the rate of return on the Tribal endowments. Leno also said the Tribe is working to recover its investments by the sale of MicroGREEN’s assets.

Tribal Council sent a letter out to the membership on April 9 regarding MicroGREEN.

Tribal Council also scheduled a special meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in the Tribal gym to thoroughly brief Tribal members on MicroGREEN. It will be held in executive session.