Deal to sell Dunnellon's telecommunication business moving forward



A group of investors wants to bail out the city of Dunnellon in Marion County, which is $8 million in debt.

Dunnellon has a huge debt after forming its own cable TV, Internet and phone company, which didn't work out for most residents.

"For instance, I live really close and I still can't get it," said Mayor Nathan Whitt.

A few years ago, the city borrowed nearly $8 million to launch Greenlight Communications.

Whitt is now pushing a plan to sell the company that at one point was losing a quarter of a million dollars every month.

"But I wasn't in office. I was not here," the mayor said.

This week the city received bids from three telecommunication providers looking to buy, but it also got an offer from a spokesman representing a group of wealthy investors willing to pay off the city's debts in exchange for control of Dunnellon's finances, essentially forming a corporation.

City Council members were skeptical, and Whitt couldn't get a straight answer on who the investors were and whether they lived in Dunnellon.

"We never knew a name, never knew their group name, never knew an investor. Not one single name in that whole group," said Whitt.

The mayor said a decision on a buyer for Greenlight was postponed for one day to give the so-called investors a chance to put together a bid. They didn't, so one of the companies offering to buy will be selected and the mayor said the city will be on its way to getting out of debt.

A deal for the sale of Greenlight Communications could be finalized this week.