Leflore County officials are scrambling to file a claim of $145,000 in back taxes owed by Hardware Distribution Warehouses before a foreclosure auction is held on Monday.
Capital One, the bank and credit-card company, intends to sell the HDW property in the Greenwood-Leflore Industrial Park, which consists of a 92,000-square-foot facility and 11.2 acres. District 1 Supervisor Sam Abraham wants the county to file a claim for back taxes immediately.
He brought the impending sale to the attention of the Board of Supervisors on Monday and asked its attorney, Joyce Chiles, and Tax Collector Annie Conley why the county had not already filed a claim.
“Once they sell it, I assume we will lose our interest, and that will be our fault,” Abraham said. He noted that the county learned that HDW was going out of business a year ago.
“Let’s get this locked in before they sell the building,” he said.
Chiles and Conley both said there had been difficulty finding out where and to whom the claim should be served. Three states are involved: Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Chiles said when she contacted Capital One, officials were “hesitant” about releasing the necessary information to her. Getting someone “to accept service of process is the problem,” she said.
Abraham pushed Chiles, asking her whether she needs the help of an attorney specializing in foreclosure law. “If the board feels comfortable with additional counsel, I would welcome that,” she responded.
The board authorized Chiles to obtain those services but did not instruct her to do so.
HDW was a wholesale distributor of hardware and building materials products that served 2,000 retailers in 11 states across the Mid-South. The company was formed as part of a merger that included Henderson & Baird Co. in Greenwood. HDW had a 100,000-square-foot facility in Marshall, Texas. In Greenwood, HDW at one point employed 100 people. The Greenwood company was formed about 130 years ago.
The auction will be held between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the courthouse.
Also on Monday, supervisors discussed ideas for helping residents countywide who depend on wells that are broken or dry and therefore have no water at their homes. District 3 Supervisor Anjuan Brown, who was not at the meeting, had stepped in late last month to try to help five or six Schlater-area families who reported they had not had water at their residences since July.
Shane Correro, county engineer, said, “They have individual wells, and something happened to them.”
Because the board understands that under most circumstances it cannot legally work on private property, it would prefer to make arrangements for the families to tie into an existing water service. But that’s cost prohibitive because of distance, which Correro, who also works for East Leflore Water and Sewer District, said is about 7 miles. East Leflore provides water service inside the city limits of Schlater.
District 5 Supervisor Robert Collins said, “We’ve got a problem all over Leflore County.”
Robert Willis, chief county engineer, agreed: “It’s countywide. It’s going to take some outside money.”
The board decided to wait for Brown’s presence before making decisions or taking action, but its members are hoping Rural Development can help. Rural Development is a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency that runs programs intended to improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.
Abraham said the county would provide any necessary matching funds. “It takes a bond issue to match it, that’s fine,” he said.
•Contact Susan Montgomery at 581-7233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.