GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — Leflore County and Balkamp, a NAPA parts distributor who closed down its Greenwood distribution center in 2009, have settled a lawsuit over the deed, lease and taxes on its former building.
County supervisors have voted to void tax sales on Balkamp's former home in the Greenwood-Leflore Industrial Park, bringing to an end several years of legal wrangling.
Board Attorney Joyce Chiles told The Greenwood Commonwealth (http://bit.ly/NTN8ti ) that Balkamp gave up its claims to the building's deed. Indianapolis-based Balkamp will pay or forfeit almost $175,000 to settle the dispute.
When it closed the facility, Balkamp believed it owned the building. However, Balkamp had failed to exercise a $1,000 purchase option included in the lease.
Nonetheless, both the county and the company apparently assumed the title to the building had passed to Balkamp, as the company ceased paying rent in 2002.
When Balkamp placed the building up for sale, it discovered the purchase option was never officially exercised. An attorney for the company attempted to exercise that option to buy in 2010, but the Board of Supervisors instead informed the company that it owed the county back rent on the property.
Chiles said the county's original contract called for the company to pay $17,500 a year on a lease if it chose not to purchase the building.
"Of course, the county wanted the lease payment," Chiles said.
Chiles said Balkamp will pay $50,000 to settle the county's claims to back rent.
The two parties also resolved a dispute over back property taxes on the building. Through a subsidiary, Balkamp had bought the building at tax sales twice, in 2010 and 2011.
As part of the settlement, Chiles said Balkamp also agreed to let the local governmental entities keep the $123,000 in proceeds from the tax sales.
"Leflore County got a chance to keep that money and go on through with that deal," Chiles said.
Coburn Supply Co. of Beaumont, Texas, a wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating and air conditioning supplies, has since reached an agreement with the county to move into the building.
Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth, http://www.gwcommonwealth.com