Engen says Carlyle Group 'changing stories'


MISSOULA, Mont. - We have new details on the City of Missoula's effort to take control of Mountain Water Company. Missoula Mayor John Engen says The Carlyle Group is changing stories about whether Mountain Water is for sale and is using stalling tactics in response to a condemnation lawsuit filed by the city. Carlyle is the current owner of Mountain Water. On Tuesday, Carlyle filed documents saying it does not directly own the water system and cannot be named as a defendant. Carlyle argues that it owns the companies that own Mountain Water, but it does not directly own the water system. Engen, who is leading the charge to gain ownership of Mountain Water, says the multi-billion dollar private equity firm was telling a different story a few months ago. "There's a sort of shocking level of inconsistency," said Engen. "The company's not for sale, then it's for sale. We own it, we don't own it. Again, I think this just points to the fact that the citizens of Missoula deserve a consistent, home grown, locally controlled owner." The city filed a condemnation action against The Carlyle Group back in April to gain ownership of Mountain Water Company. A group of 28 Mountain Water employees filed a motion on Wednesday to intervene in the city's suit. The employees say they're concerned about what condemnation might mean for their job security and accrued benefits.