Workers ask Walthall to stop suing factory for unpaid rent
Oct. 31, 2017
TYLERTOWN, Miss. (AP) — Two south Mississippi governments are suing an apparel maker for not paying rent on government-owned buildings, despite pleas from the company's 100-plus employees that the action threatens their jobs.
Walthall County supervisors and the city of Tylertown say Brigade Manufacturing owes $150,000 in rent for two buildings in a Tylertown industrial park, one owned by Tylertown and one owned by the county. The Enterprise-Journal reports the governments want the company evicted.
Brigade's lapsed corporate registration shows that it's based in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The company mainly makes military uniforms under contracts with the federal government.
Four Brigade executives and 40 employees asked the board to back down at a Walthall County supervisors' meeting last week, with employees telling supervisors they feared losing their jobs before Christmas.
Richard Davenport, a shareholder in the company, attended the meeting and said he'd made an offer to county officials. Supervisors said it's inappropriate to negotiate in public with a lawsuit pending.
Board of Supervisors President Larry Montgomery said he hoped the county could work something out, but said "it's in the courts now."
County Attorney Conrad Mord said the company also hadn't turned over requested information on historical employment figures and proof of insurance. A packet said to contain that information was then handed to him at the meeting.
Walthall County Tax Assessor Peggy Hilburn later said the company hasn't paid property taxes on its equipment since 2012.
Neighboring Marion County sued Brigade Manufacturing and others in 2012, saying the company broke a 10-year lease in 2009 when it left a Columbia building and stopped paying rent. The Marion County Economic Development District settled that lawsuit in 2014.
Information from: Enterprise-Journal, http://www.enterprise-journal.com