Bull Moose Tube employee urges City of Owensville to offer deal

By: 
Linda Trest

During a budget workshop of the Owensville Board of Aldermen on Monday, a discussion was held concerning the lawsuit Bull Moose Tube (BMT)recently filed against the City of Gerald. 

A Republican staff member was there taking notes as Owensville Ward 1 Alderman Karl Buck, an employee of BMT in the maintenance department, began speaking near the end of the 90-minute open session. 

Buck told the group that BMT had been given an eviction notice. “Tomorrow is D-Day,” he told the group, adding that the law may be parked outside the plant Tuesday. 

According to Buck, the City of Gerald was asking for a “6,300 percent increase” in the rent payment. The BMT plant is built on land owned by the City of Gerald. The past lease agreement was for an annual payment of around $4,500. Buck noted that was a ridiculously low amount. He contends the city is now demanding nearly $300,000 each year. 

“We made all the payments, We’re not in default. We paid in January. They just sent it back,”Buck declared. He referred to the City’s action as “almost extortion.”

Buck then appealed to his fellow aldermen, “If there ever was anything to entice them…wow. This is moving at a fast pace because the city has forced them (to act).”

“If there was something the city (of Owensville) can be offering, they need to be looking into it,” Buck added.

The owner of Bull Moose Tube is one of the 100 richest men in the world, according to Buck. “If the courts rule in favor of the city, my guess is Bull Moose will move,” he concluded.

Gerald Mayor Cary Parker was told of the remarks Monday evening. He replied that neither he, nor anyone else of whom he was aware, had ordered an eviction for Tuesday. He said he had certainly not ordered the Gerald Police to BMT for any reason. 

When asked what the City wanted to increase the lease payment to, Parker answered, “We were in the middle of negotiations with them when they filed suit.”

Parker also said the City had entered into communications with BMT well before they received a payment from BMT in January for the old lease amount. 

That check was marked as the 2018 payment, but was included with a 2017 invoice, according to Parker.

When asked to comment on Buck’s remarks, Steven Lucas, Gerald city attorney responded with the following press release:

 

For almost 50 years, Bull Moose Tube Co. (BMT) has leased more than 11 acres of public property and a 100,000-square foot public building for only $4,600 per year. BMT allowed its final lease for the property to end in 1980 and has never negotiated a new lease. BMT has just been staying on the City’s property without a lease for all that time for the same $4,600/year rent. This year, the City of Gerald’s administration addressed this unfairness and notified BMT that it would have to start paying a fair amount for its use of the public’s property. The City was negotiating with BMT, including terms proposed by BMT that would have allowed it to purchase the property for a fair market value. In the middle of the negotiations, without warning, BMT sued the City and is now threatening to move its business.

Although the City values all its businesses and BMT in particular, BMT has not valued the City in return. BMT has sued the City to try to continue paying a rent that even BMT says is thousands of percent less than the fair market value rent for which the City was simply negotiating.

BMT has no right to be on the City’s property. The City will protect the public’s interest and respond to BMT’s surprise lawsuit. Cary Parker, Mayor, said “the City has a duty to safeguard the public’s finances. BMT must pay a fair amount for its use of the public’s property.”

Several calls to BMT Tuesday went unanswered. There has been no response to previous messages left by The Republican.

(With reporting by Dave Marner of The Republican staff).

Category: