WTG announces plans for bankruptcy
Friday, April 18, 2014 12:11 PM
The battle between farmers and the Brownfield-based West Texas Guar resumed Wednesday with WTG announcing they would voluntarily file for bankruptcy instead of being forced to do so by the courts.
“We are going to try to work out a settlement with them and they will go ahead and file for bankruptcy themselves,” said Megan Davis, an associate attorney in the office of the Lubbock-based attorney Fernando Bustos.
Bustos is representing some of the farmers involved in the litigation.
Legal council for WTG announced Wednesday in Federal Bankruptcy Court that the company would file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, succumbing to the pressure of several guar farmers who had filed a request to force the company into bankruptcy and to have it overseen by an outside party.
Davis said the agreement so far hammered out by both sides includes allowing WTG to pay its legal fees but to also pay up to $150,000 of the producers’ legal fees as well.
Allowing the company to pay anything but hourly employees as well as routine operating costs is a change from the previous hearing which locked down WTG’s funds making it impossible for the company to pay legal fees or salaries of consultants or executives.
The company was allowed to remain operational, but was forbidden to process any of the product.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert L. Jones has been overseeing the hearings between the company and 24 producers who are seeking nearly $4 million in payment.
The hearing is just one of several which began shortly after several guar farmers failed to receive payment from WTG for their product.
At first some farmers sought relief in Terry County in District court through a Temporary Restraining Order in an attempt to order WTG from processing their product. The move was an effort to halt the company from processing until more extensive efforts could be make including filing a motion in Federal court to force WTG into bankruptcy and ordered to be overseen by a third party.
Another development in WTG’s fate was announced, Davis said, when the company let it be known that WTG’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Stanley had resigned in early April making way for Edgar Montalvo to take the helm.
Montalvo, Davis said, has extensive experience including establishing a guar facility in India.
“His resume is very good,” said Davis.
A new hearing was scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, May 16, but has since been rescheduled for 10 a.m. on the same day.
“Our goal is to get a good settlement for the farmers involved in the continuing litigation,” Davis said.