Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer
Monday, 01 July 2013 10:08
An Ohio Attorney General's Office spokesperson said he could not confirm Monday that troubled solar firm Willard and Kelsey has closed after several years of financial struggles.
The company defaulted on two loans last year - $5.6 million from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and $4.6 million from the Ohio Department of Development. The debt was recently being handled by the Collection Enforcement Section of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, which serves as a collection agency for the state and some local governments.
In the event that payments are not made, CES is able to take a company to court. Dan Tierney, a spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General's Office, said no payments have been made to the state since the loans entered collections last fall.
Tierney said CES had recently been working to evaluate Willard and Kelsey's assets to determine the best course of action, "with the goal of trying to collect as much money for the state of Ohio as possible."
"If a business closes during collection, that could affect whether we change course," Tierney said, noting that the state becomes a creditor if bankruptcy action is filed.
Willard and Kelsey's problems entered the spotlight early in 2012, when state scrutiny increased after a layoff of 40 employees. Subsequent financial woes came to the surface after the ODOD scheduled a status check of the business.
Willard and Kelsey at one time had big plans for its manufacturing facility, located just south of Levis Commons on Ohio 25, hoping to build a 750,000-square-foot expansion and employ more than 3,500 people by 2018.
The company was expected to close Sunday, according to an unconfirmed report published in The Blade.
Company representatives could not be reached for comment Monday.