Ruling in City lawsuit against Martifer-Hirschfeld to be decided before May

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The City of San Angelo and the City of San Angelo Development Corp., which administers the half-cent sales tax for economic development, have brought suit against Martifer-Hirschfeld Energy Systems to recover more than $2.6 million in funds entrusted by taxpayers.

According to a statement from the City of San Angelo, Martifer-Hirschfeld received the public funds and confessed in court documents that it failed to live up to its contractual obligations with the City. The attorney representing the City filed a motion for summary judgement.

Judge Ben Woodward, 119th District Judge, did not rule on the case in March. Woodward will rule prior to May 6, which is when jury selection for a trial is scheduled to begin, according to City Public information Officer, Anthony Wilson.

The money was advanced to the company as part of two economic development agreements executed between Martifer-Hirschfeld, the COSADC and the City in 2009 and 2010. In those contracts, Martifer-Hirschfeld committed itself to investing $40 million into its wind energy plant in San Angelo, creating 225 full-time jobs for local and area residents and operating the plant continuously for 10 years. According to a release from the City’s public information office, by its own admission in court filings, the company failed to meet its contractual obligations.

Officials with the City and COSADC claim they tried to work out an agreement with Martifer-Hirschfeld before filing suit. Martifer-Hirschfeld expanded operations in Abilene rather than in San Angelo.