Tri-County CAC board to inventory assets

By Joshua Keeran - [email protected]

URBANA — The board of trustees of the Tri-County Community Action Commission Inc. on Thursday discussed compiling an inventory of the agency’s remaining assets and voted to retain its current legal counsel.

In April 2014, Tri-County, which no longer holds any state grants, ceased offering services to residents of Champaign, Logan and Shelby counties when its then director, Denise Bergen Birt, was removed from office for possible criminal activity. The board has remained intact to resolve its debt issues.

Board Chairman Al Evans Thursday discussed a need for the board to make a list of all Tri-County’s inventory, much of which is stored in the agency’s three remaining properties: 111 N. Detroit St. (Liberty Gathering Place) in West Liberty, 125 E. Patterson Ave. in Bellefontaine and 315 W. Auburn Ave. (Transportation for Logan County hub) in Bellefontaine. Tri-County also owns two small lots in Bellefontaine, one on Clagg Street and one on West Columbus Avenue.

Evans said the remaining inventory includes paper documents, computers, servers, phones, restaurant equipment, a box truck and other miscellaneous equipment.

“The truck won’t run, and it’s pretty rusty,” he said, adding it might be scrapped if it can’t be fixed and sold. “The majority of stuff we will have to deal with are the records. We need to find a place to store them until this litigation is over.”

The Ohio Auditor’s Office and the Logan County prosecutor took paper files from the defunct organization’s headquarters in March.

As for Tri-County’s current debt, Evans estimated the agency owes $450,000 for its Patterson Avenue property, $110,000 for the West Liberty property, $215,000 on the Auburn Avenue property, $210,000 to the Ohio Development Services Agency, $15,000 to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, $11,000 to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and $185,000 to third-party vendors.

“I get mail every day. Every time I get a letter, I contact the party and explain the situation,” Evans said. “Some have written off our debt, but I don’t know that for sure.”

When asked whether filing bankruptcy was an option, Evans responded, “We’ve talked about it. No one has really forced our hands.”

Board member Jim Holycross added, “The board is working tirelessly to resolve our debt.”

Since late last year, Tri-County has sold three of its properties: 1771 County Road 130 in Bellefontaine (sold for $170,000 in November 2014), 1431 N. Main Ave. in Sidney (sold for $101,000 in December 2014) and 955 N. Main St. in Urbana (sold for $150,000 on March 31).

As for Tri-County’s legal counsel, the board approved by a 6-0 vote a resolution authorizing Evans to take the necessary actions to retain the services of attorney Beverly A. Meyer on and after Aug. 31.

“The firm Beverly is a partner in currently is disbanding,” Evans said. “She and one of her associates there are going to join another law firm. In order to make everything on the up and up and ensure that when Beverly moves from her current law firm to her new law firm she can take all the records and everything at her current law firm over to her new law firm and continue as our counsel, we need to have a board resolution.”

Tri-County is using its insurance provider to pay for the majority of its legal counsel, Evans said.

“Ms. Meyer is doing a lot of pro bono work,” he added.

By Joshua Keeran

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-652-1331, ext. 1774, or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

Reach the writer at 937-652-1331, ext. 1774, or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.