The Pike County Fiscal Court may take possible action against a county coal operator.
During the PCFC’s special meeting set to take place on Tuesday, the court is expected to discuss possible action against Cambrian Holding Company, which operates several mine sites in Pike County.
“Cambrian has paid all its taxes, along with all penalties and interest when paid late,” County Attorney Howard Keith Hall said. “Currently, they owe for the 2018 taxes, which were given to us to collect in May.”
According to Hall, the coal company is owes more than $190,000 in delinquent property taxes for 2018. However he added that Cambrian has been delinquent in the past, but has paid for prior years.
“The last time they paid was November of 2018 for their 2017 taxes,” Hall said. “We will seek the full amount along with fines and penalties from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.”
Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones said the fiscal court will have a discussion on Tuesday regarding the matter of how much is owed to the county and whether the court will need to seek outside council.
“I’ve never practiced bankruptcy court and neither has (Assistant County Attorney) Kevin Keene, so we have to figure out what they owe the county, tax wise, and then go from there,” Jones told the News-Express on Monday.
According to Jones, if the court decides to pursue legal action, which he said he believes it will, the court will have to hire someone who practices bankruptcy court to file the claim for it. That doesn’t mean the court will recoup any money, but he said if the court doesn’t file then “you won’t get anything.”
“Kevin and I have our hands full as it is,” Jones said. “Kevin is one of the best attorneys in Eastern Kentucky, but I can’t overwhelm him.”
According to court documents, Cambrian Holding Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June, and according to a statement issued by the company, the company has been exploring a sale process “under court supervision.”
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Lexington, Cambrian Holding Company, which lists its headquarters as an address at Belcher near Elkhorn City, listed nearly $21 million in debt with its 20 largest creditors, including more than $2.4 million with Whayne Supply and nearly $1.2 million with American Electric Power. Buchanan Energy Company of Belfry, R.D. Adkins Trucking of Elkhorn City, Appalachian Security of Pikeville and Community Trust Bank were also listed among Cambrian’s 20 largest creditors.
A report by S and P Global said Cambrian listed assets totaling between $10 million and $50 million and liabilities between $100 million and half a billion dollars.
The company received approval in federal bankruptcy court to continue paying employee wages and benefits, including health care costs.