Putnam company declares bankruptcy

December 16, 2018

CHARLESTON - A Putnam County electrical contractor has filed for bankruptcy more than a year after a former company official was sentenced to probation for his role in a West Virginia Division of Highways kickback scheme.

Bayliss & Ramey, a corporation based in Fraziers Bottom, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Attorney Bill Pepper, who’s representing the company in the bankruptcy proceedings, said the company has been out of business for “maybe a year.”

“Creditors have taken back their collateral and there’s nothing left - no jobs or supplies,” he said. “It’s just a matter of putting that business to rest with the bankruptcy.”

Mark Whitt, the former president of Bayliss & Ramey, was sentenced in August 2017 to three years’ probation and was ordered to pay $250,000 for his role in the scheme to illegally funnel $1.5 million in projects to a South Carolina firm.

Then-U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld announced the charges in November 2016.

Whitt, along with Bruce E. Kenney III, Andrew P. Nichols and James Travis Miller, were charged in the scheme, which, Ihlenfeld said, caused $1.5 million worth of highway work to be routed to the Dennis Corp., a Columbia, South Carolina, engineering consulting firm.

Bayliss & Ramey also was charged. The company had a statewide contract to repair traffic signals, and Whitt used that contract to funnel highway projects to Dennis Corp., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wheeling.

Bayliss & Ramey inflated invoices by 20 percent to ensure it was compensated in the scheme, according to prosecutors.

In October 2016, Bayliss & Ramey signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in which the company agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and adopt corporate reforms to prevent fraud in the future. In exchange, federal prosecutors agreed to drop all charges after 18 months.

According to the bankruptcy filing, the company has $5,200 in property and approximately $4.6 million in liabilities.

The company’s liabilities include approximately $47,000 in taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service and $116,000 owed to the state of West Virginia.

The company also owes $2,000 to the city of Fairmont, $1,600 to the city of Beckley, $8,000 to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and about $27,000 to Brickstreet Insurance.

Brickstreet company officials, through a spokeswoman, would not comment Thursday.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1240 or follow

@LoriKerseyWV on Twitter.

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