Friday, May 16, 2014
Berkeley County will host an auction for American LaFrance’s business personal property June 11 at the Patillo building, according to county Supervisor Dan Davis.
Cincinnati Industrial Auctioneers has been contracted for the auction, which will feature concessions. A time has not been released. The Patillo building is off of Cypress Gardens Road.
The county says American LaFrance owes $650,000 from a defaulted fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreement on business personal property. The 100-year-old firetruck manufacturer once employed 200 people in the county, but shuttered its doors in January.
Berkeley County has ventured into uncharted territory as it is the first S.C. county to navigate state law to reclaim money from an economic development deal.
Meanwhile, leading up to the auction, Berkeley County is adding to American LaFrance’s tab.
The county has had to foot the $2,800 monthly lease for the space and more for its electricity. More public money has been spent on working with a number of attorneys to determine how to legally proceed. Most weeks, the county expends about 40 man-hours dedicated to American LaFrance and the fallout, according to Davis.
Berkeley County only has claim to the business personal property — desks, chairs, pictures, everything essential to making a business run. After an auction to reclaim the debt owed, the company’s inventory — the unfinished firetrucks, the engines, the transmissions, everything essential to making emergency vehicles — could be auctioned off by the property owner since American LaFrance has already defaulted and owes the owner money.
But Patilla Investor Real Estate Vice President Peter Anderson told the Independent no auction is scheduled and the company is still trying to “determine who the owner is.”