By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
A phone call to the Moffat County Attorney by a person claiming to be an employee of an NC Telecom competitor claimed that NC Telecom is in financial straits. The allegation was refuted by NC Telecom's general manager on Thursday.
Moffat County attorney Kathleen Taylor, received a phone call on Monday afternoon from a person who identified himself as Eric Hall, an employee of Adesta Communications of Omaha, Nebraska. The caller refused to give a position within Adesta or a phone number, and advised that the county should review its contracts because NC Telecom was in financial trouble, and the county's investment in the company was at risk. Taylor immediately reported the incident to the Moffat County Commissioners.
Dennie Mecham, general manager of NC Telecom, said the company is in great shape, and is not in any financial danger. NC Telecom is in the process of acquiring long-term financing from a federal agency, and that process comes after a very vigorous review of NC Telecom's financial health, Mecham said.
No one by the name of Eric Hall works at Adesta, Mecham said. The company made several inquiries, but was unable to find anyone by that name who had ever worked for Adesta, he said.
NC Telecom has negotiated long-term financing from Rural Utilities Service (RUS), and is negotiating contractual language with Moffat County that will allow that funding to be accepted by the RUS. The language of the section of the contract that insures Moffat County's interests and infrastructure and guarantees recovery in the case of default or bankruptcy for NC Telecom needs to be clarified so RUS will grant NC Telecom the long-term financing.
The RUS is a part of the Department of Agriculture, and finances construction of telecommunications infrastructure in the United States by creating public/private partnerships.
"The RUS scrutinized our business plan we have one of the most profitable plans the RUS has looked at," Mecham said. "We feel great that RUS sees us in that manner. This long-term financing is something we need to make the company happen."
RUS Field Representative Teri Baird attended a Commissioners' board meeting on Tuesday via conference call, and said the RUS is very confident in NC Telecom. The RUS is not investing in a "speculative" manner - the contract is being offered to NC Telecom because the company is in good financial health, and is bringing telecommunications infrastructure to a rural area, Baird said.
Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos has "a lot of faith in NC Telecom.
"They've done the work for the [infrastructure] - the fiber is in the ground, and the [Colorado State Patrol] loop will be completed the week of Oct. 15," Raftopoulos said.
The county is willing to work toward a situation that allows NC Telecom to receive its financing, but the county must first make sure the its investment still has its promised security, regardless of the solution, Raftopoulos said.