CLEVELAND —”A full-page ad that the city ran in The Plain Dealer on Jan. 6 touted the project without mentioning a public hearing the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency would conduct three days later at the Estabrook Recreation Center. Grass-roots publicity helped build a crowd of about 300 people.
The involvement of Peter Tien and his company, Princeton Environmental Group, also worries some council members. The New Jersey consultant stands to receive $1.5 million from the city if the Ohio EPA approves a permit needed for the plant.
Tien was already working on the trash project when he linked the city with Sunpu-Opto Semiconductor Ltd. in 2009. The Chinese company agreed to build an LED-manufacturing plant and headquarters in Cleveland in exchange for a no-bid, 10-year deal to supply the city with LED streetlights and other lighting products.
Jackson withdrew the agreement under criticism, saying he should not have announced it while Cleveland Public Power was still soliciting proposals. The city later sought bids on a contract that would link LED lights to jobs but rejected both proposals early last year. Sunpu-Opto did not respond.
Councilman Michael Polensek says the ‘LED fiasco’ left him wary.
‘This is a project we have to take real slow,’ said Polensek. ‘I’ve got a lot more thinking I have to do on this.’”
— Thomas Ott, Cleveland Plain Dealer