The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 16, 2014

Payment plan reached on coal company’s back taxes

WELCH — A settlement has been reached with a Russian-owned coal company that owed McDowell County approximately $1.2 million in back taxes.

Sheriff Martin B. West announced Tuesday that a settlemet has been reached with Mechel Bluestone Coal Corporation for the remainder of back taxes that were due.

Attorney Sid Bell represented the sheriff’s tax department, and now a trust account at MCNB Bank has been set up with the initial payment of $55,000 being deposited, Martin said in a statement released Tuesday. The agreement calls for approximately $66,000 will be deposited the 30th day of the next six months to pay the owed amount of $455,000 that is due. A payment of $800,000 was paid in June after a suit filed in the Circuit Court of McDowell County for $1.2 million in back taxes, Martin said.

This will greatly benefit the McDowell County Commission and the McDowell County Board of Education, said Martin, who added that he is pursuing other companies and has an agreement that will be made public in August.

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

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. West added that he spoke with company officials and informed them that equipment would be seized and auctioned off, and was working to obtain a writ of possession and order from the circuit court when the payment was made.

“As sheriff, treasurer, and tax collector, I will work diligently to do my job,” West said then. “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.”

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