Suit filed against Rivera

Published 12:31 am Saturday, August 4, 2007

NATCHEZ — Local biofuel developer John Rivera is being sued for fraud, and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office is having trouble presenting him with papers.

A Canadian company, Noront Recycling, filed suit against Rivera, saying they gave him “bridge funds” to start his company and he never gave them promised profits.

Rivera’s company, U.S. Sustainable Energy Corp., bought a warehouse near the county port in December. The company, which says it makes biodiesel-like fuel from soybeans, had plans at the time to eventually produce 1.5 million gallons of fuel a day.

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The plant was to use a unique process, which Rivera said he invented. The process produces no emissions and can make five gallons of fuel per bushel of soybeans, as opposed to the industry standard of one and a half, Rivera said at the time.

The suit, filed July 18, alleges Rivera accepted thousands of dollars to tide him over in his former Vicksburg tire-recycling operation but never shared profits from the “Rivera process,” as the suit said he promised to do.

Now, the sheriff’s office cannot find Rivera to present him with the court paperwork, Sheriff Ronny Brown said Friday.

“From what I understand, private people tried to serve him first, and they couldn’t serve him. So, we tried to serve him, and so far, we haven’t been able to,” Brown said.

The deputies aren’t allowed to leave the paperwork with anyone else, Brown said, “and we can’t get our hands on him.

“All week, we’ve been down there every day.”

Brown said he talked with Rivera by phone at the end of the week, and Rivera said he was in New York.

“Hopefully, we can get this worked out the first of next week,” Brown said.

The suit alleges fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty, restitution and an expedited accounting for profits, among other charges.

Rivera could not be reached for comment Friday.