Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 13, 2014

Coal company agrees to pay $800,000 in back taxes to McDowell County

WELCH — A Russian-owned coal company has agreed to pay $800,000 in back taxes to McDowell County, Sheriff Martin West said Thursday.

West said the past-due tax payment will help to make up the budget shortfall for the McDowell County Commission and the county Board of Education for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014. Eight county employees were laid off last month as a result of the budget shortfall.

West said as a result of his office filing a lawsuit against Mechel Bluestone Coal Corporation for back taxes in the amount of approximately $1.2 million dollars, a payment  of $800,000 has been received.

In a press released issued by the sheriff’s office Thursday, West said an employee of Bluestone Coal Corporation made contact with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department Tax Office this week and advised that a payment would be made later that day. West said Chief Tax Deputy Shelia Woolridge later contacted him and advised a $800,000 payment had been received from Mechel Bluestone Coal Corporation.

Moscow-based Mechel operates mines and power plants and produces steel, among other things.

West said a default order was entered on June 9 by McDowell County Circuit Court Judge Rick Murensky for Mechel Bluestone Coal Corporation’s failure to enter an answer within 30 days as required by law.

“I obtained the abstract of judgment and filed it in the McDowell County Clerk’s office,” West said in the press release. “I have been working with the McDowell County Prosecutor’s Office since the suit has been filed in April. I had talked with the C.E.O. of the company, and their attorney. They were advised that their equipment would be seized and sold at auction for payment of the back taxes. I was in the process of obtaining a writ of possession and order from the circuit court giving me the authority to begin the seizure of property when the payment was made.”

“As sheriff, treasurer, and tax collector, I will work diligently to do my job,” West added. “I appreciate the help and guidance Prosecutor Ed Kornish and his staff have given me. There will be other suits filed until we collect every tax dollar owed.”

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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