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Council waits for state on Kestrel

Superior’s City Council is taking no action yet against Kestrel Aircraft to recoup overdue loan payments.

The Council met in closed session Tuesday night to weigh its options to recoup about $2 million still owed on loans after the company failed to make its last two annualized payments on a $2.6 million loan. While the company made payments on time in 2014 and 2015, no payments have been made in 2016 or this year. The most recent payment was due Oct. 15.

The loan was part of the city’s incentive package to encourage Kestrel to locate in Superior. The city also offered free land and $1.125 million in tax increment financing.

Kestrel Aircraft announced in 2012 that it would create about 600 jobs in Superior when it began producing the company’s single-engine, turboprop, composite jet. The $120 million development proposal hasn’t gotten off the ground.

The incentive package included tax credits and $4 million in loans from the state of Wisconsin, and a $500,000 loan from the Douglas County revolving loan fund, all of which are in arrears.

City Attorney Frog Prell said the City Council came to a consensus that it would take no action for now.

Last month, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation informed the Duluth News Tribune the state of Wisconsin would “pursue any and all remedies available to us to protect the state’s investment” in a memo.

The Council’s going to wait and see what kind of complaint WEDC comes up with, Mayor Jim Paine said.