A United States bankruptcy court has dismissed the bankruptcy protection of a failed recycling venture Cherokee County is picking up the tab for.
Judge Margaret Murphy, of the United States Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division, signed the order dismissing Ball Ground Recycling from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 3.
Cherokee County Attorney Angela Davis said dismissal was brought forth since the company allegedly has no assets and "therefore there was not an ability to develop a payment plan for the benefit of creditors."
Davis said the bankruptcy dismissal now allows the county to add the company to its civil suit as a defendant.
District 1 Commissioner Harry Johnston also noted this dismissal now means the company directly owns the county money rather than the possibility of the court relieving Ball Ground Recycling from some of the debt.
He added the dismissal also means the county "can now rely on less expensive and more effective local attorneys to pursue this claim."
"But BGR appears to have no assets, so collection from them will still be difficult or impossible," Johnston added. "Our better hope of collection is still from the Bobos personally or from their other companies that have assets. That will require a court order to pierce the corporate veil."
The county commission in 2006 created the Resource Recovery Development Authority and backed bonds up to $18 million to relocate Cherokee Recycling, later renamed Ball Ground Recycling, to land on Highway 5 just south of the Ball Ground city limits.
The agreement stipulated BGR Manager Jimmy Bobo was to make payments of the bond into an escrow account, but the county learned last year Bobo hadn't been making the payments.
That forced the county to pick up the tab, which it will still be responsible for if it does not find a new operator for the site.
Ball Ground Recycling in late May filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the company was subsequently forced to remove itself from the property.
The county, along with the RRDA, had been in bankruptcy court trying to remove the automatic stay imposed by the bankruptcy filing.
In November, it filed a civil suit against Bobo, his brother David Bobo and companies owned by both men, claiming fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.
The case has caught the attention of the Cherokee County Grand Jury, which last summer launched an investigation into the history of the deal.
The grand jury has made several recommendations to the county, including the county proceed with a forensic audit of the company's financial records and to use every avenue possible to collect money owed to the county.