PARKERSBURG- A lawsuit seeking to collect more than $94,000 in back real and personal property taxes was filed against Fenton Art Glass by Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy.
In the suit, Sandy states the glassmaker owes Wood County $94,557.88 in real and personal taxes. Sandy said the filing asks for a judgment against the company, including the amount along with accrued interest and penalties and any other costs incurred.
Sandy said the amount in the lawsuit is not an additional amount due in taxes, but what is left of the $385,840.39 of the real and personal property tax debt the sheriff sued the company for in 2010.
"All we had to do was update the matter to protect the citizens of Wood County and to make sure the taxes due and owed are paid," Sandy said. "What's left from that; it's a mutual agreement between the parties. We are cooperating with each other to help get the matter paid."
On Aug. 31, the circuit court was informed that the company "does not wish to contest the allegations contained in the complaint and that it has agreed to have judgment entered against it."
Wood County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Reed signed the order.
Sandy said the filing was not adversarial. Since the agreement was made in 2010 to pay the back taxes, Sandy said, payments have been made and the company is on schedule to pay off the amount.
George Fenton, president of Fenton Art Glass, said the agreement also was made as a condition of the sale to U.S. Glass.
"As a condition of the potential sale they wanted a clear statement as to who will be responsible for the tax debt," Fenton said. "The current plan is to sell the equipment and lease the building to U.S. Glass."
Fenton said Wednesday the company has reached an agreement on all issues.
"It's now really dependent on U.S. Glass being able to raise funding to do what is needed to restart," he said. "Our goal is to pay as much of the debt as possible and we have been working in selling inventory and other assets significantly over the past year. There is a priority first to the lien holders, or secured lenders, and then taxes; they (taxes) are not first priority according to West Virginia law."
Fenton said the best chance of the company getting taxes paid is for U.S. Glass to succeed.
"It will be very helpful in this process," he said.