MISSOULA, Mont. - The Carlyle Group, the current owner of the Mountain Water utility, has rejected Missoula's purchase offer of $50 million.
NBC Montana obtained Carlyle's response letter to Mayor John Engen. In the letter, Carlyle Infrastructure Partners Managing Director Robert Dove writes that "I reiterate that Carlyle Infrastructure and Mountain Water will vigorously defend our legal rights in the event of condemnation."
In a memo to Council before the rejection, Engen wrote that he expected a rejection "at which point we will begin condemnation proceedings in district court," though he said he would return to Council to discuss the matter first.
A condemnation would mean an attempt by the City to prove in court that controlling Mountain Water would be a public necessity.
Engen wrote in a memo to Council that Carlyle has suggested that its price in Mountain Water is more than $120 million, "more than double what they paid for it in 2011."
He also wrote that "…a community's water system is a public asset that is best owned and operated by the public, through municipal government."
Carlyle's response letter claims that "The Company has an exemplary record of serving Missoula under private ownership."