County Attorney Angie Davis said the county was planning to file its motion today asking the court to remove the stay in the United States Bankruptcy Court’s Northern District of Georgia.
In a bankruptcy proceeding, the automatic stay immediately stops all evictions, foreclosures, repossessions or lawsuits.
Removing the stay, she said, would be the first step in allowing the county to evict Ball Ground Recycling owner Jimmy Bobo from the property he leases from the county.
The county is mainly focused on removing Bobo from the property and determining what assets Bobo has that could be used to repay the debt he owes the county are two items, she said.
“We won’t stand by and let that be discharged without taking every effort to find recovery for us,” she said.
When contacted for comment, Bobo said in an email that at present he did not want to comment on the situation and was focusing on the business and a reorganization path that would make the project work for the county.
On May 25, Ball Ground Recycling filed for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which allows companies to reorganize.
The filing was completed by Bobo, who listed himself as the managing member of Ball Ground Recycling, which is still in operation while under the bankruptcy protection.
The bankruptcy filing came just days before the county planned to force the owner off the property if he did not pay some of the money owed to Cherokee County for bond payments.
The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners and the Resource Recovery Development Authority approved an eviction notice for the company on Tuesday, which ordered the company to get off the property it leases in Ball Ground by May 29 or start paying the county at least a partial payment weekly of $15,000 to delay eviction.
Davis said the county will seek every avenue it can to get the money it is owed.
“We’re not giving up on him, his company, him individually or other companies he’s involved with,” she said.
County Commissioner Jim Hubbard said he’s optimistic about the county’s chance to get the stay lifted, adding it would seem far-fetched that a judge would allow Bobo to continue operating without paying the county.
County Commissioner Harry Johnston said he and other county leaders realize they may not be repaid in full.
He said the bankruptcy proceedings “will open up some doors that were closed to us” when it comes to finding other assets.
“We may find a basis to force him to pay us that we were not able to find before,” he said.
The county created the RRDA, made up of the five county commissioners, in 2006 and approved the bond rate for a maximum of $18.1 million in bonds.
The bonds were used to relocate Bobo’s company from its former location on Blalock Road near Holly Springs to its current site on Highway 5 just south of Ball Ground.
The county guaranteed financing through the issuance of bonds through the authority.
Bobo was under a lease agreement with the authority to pay $100,000 a month in bond payments up to $18.1 million borrowed by the authority to purchase land and equipment for the operation.
The Blalock Road site was used for parks for the county.
The county government owns about 160 acres on Blalock Road in the Toonigh community, 30 of which was being used by the company, which recycles construction debris into landscaping materials, topsoil and mulch.
The County Commission, acting as a third-party beneficiary per the RRDA’s lease agreement with Ball Ground Recycling, agreed to offer a halt to eviction proceedings if Bobo had at least made partial payments during its May 15 executive session.
The third-party beneficiary role gives the commission the authority to take action to enforce the lease agreement and collect payments.
The county was notified last year by the Bank of New York that Bobo had not made payments into the escrow account, and the county was obligated to make the payments.
The commission moved $1.8 million out of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds into the general fund in February to cover the payments on the debt after Bobo failed to make payments owed on the bonds the county had guaranteed.
Money from the general fund was originally used for expenses that were paid by SPLOST funds last year and the move would reimburse those payments back into the general fund, freeing the monies up to cover the bond debt payment.
The county had to make $1.2 million in payments last year and still has to pay an additional $608,171.28 this year.
A total of $1.2 million was originally due on a yearly basis, with the county placing $101,000 into an escrow account for the purpose of making semi-annual debt service payments.