LISBON - An engineering firm owed money by Baard Energy is taking its case to Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
CH2M Hill, Inc. filed legal action Tuesday seeking collection of a $222,764 federal court judgment awarded the company against Baard Energy and Ohio River Clean Fuels (ORCF), LLC.
Baard Energy is the parent company of ORCF, which plans to build a $6 billion plant outside Wellsville that would convert coal to synthetic jet and diesel fuel.
CH2M, a Colorado-based engineering firm, filed a lawsuit a year ago against Baard/ORCF in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, saying it was owed money for services provided since being hired in 2006 to work on the project.
The lawsuit alleged Baard/ORCF at some point ceased making payments, and last fall a federal court magistrate issued a default judgment in favor of CH2M in the amount of $155,812, plus interest, for a total judgment of $222,764. A default judgment means the other side failed to defend itself against the lawsuit.
Eight days following this judgment, the law firm representing Baard/ORCF in an appeal before a state regulatory agency withdrew from the case because of the company's failure to pay its legal bills. The law firm later returned to represent Baard/ORCF after the company indicated it now had the money to pay.
After this occurred, Baard Energy President and CEO John Baardson told the Columbus Dispatch in an Oct. 31 story they had run out of money but he was confident the debts would be paid once private investors came on board. About this same time, Planck Trading LLC stepped forward to provide money to begin acquiring the property for the plant, and Baardson announced receiving $2.5 billion in commitments from investors in the coal and energy markets.
The lawsuits filed this week in Common Pleas Court seeks enforcement of the federal court judgment against Baard Energy/ORCF. This was preceded by a judgment lien sought against the companies on Feb. 3.
As part of its motion for collection of the judgment, CH2M is seeking from Baard/ORCF copies of all personal property, deeds, vehicle titles and various financial and bank records.
A debtor exam is scheduled for April 29 before Judge Scott Washam.