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Stinger Welding is hit with a federal tax lien

by Alan Lewis Gerstenecker
| August 26, 2012 4:06 PM

Stinger Welding, Inc., the Coolidge, Ariz.,-based bridge-builder with an operation in Libby, has been hit with a tax lien from the federal government for $177,637.

Last month, a similar lien against Stinger was announced for $6,212.

Stinger Welding CEO Carl Douglas was reached Wednesday afternoon, and he was asked about the federal tax lien. 

“No comment,” Douglas said. “I’m in the middle of a bidding process, and I have no comment. That’s all.”

Douglas said when he is in Libby next week, he would contact The Western News for an interview, which was welcomed.

The listing does indicate specifically the reason for the lien, but most-often it is payroll withholding taxes that most-often are not forwarded to the federal government after deducted from employees checks.

In July, local employees at the bridge and span-building company, were told they would lose their health benefits for 90 days. Reportedly, Douglas is in the process of renegotiating a health benefits plan for employees.

Last month, Stinger reportedly employed 65 persons at its Libby operation.

News of the loss of benefits last month and subsequent liens have prompted Lincoln County officials to inquire about Stinger.

Lincoln County Presiding Commissioner Marianne Roose indicated a concern for employees.

“We just want to know what’s going on. Whatever impacts Stinger affects us and the local economy.”

Expressing a concern about Stinger’s impact on the local economy, Roose said Lincoln County has a vested interest in Stinger’s success, answering criticism to those who question why county officials would care about a private enterprise.

“We (Lincoln County) were the sponsoring entity in the grants it received from the Montana Department of Commerce,” Roose said.

Just more than a year ago, Stinger Welding was to receive $17 million in financing to further the company’s growth and employment opportunities in Libby.

In recent months, the company has come under scrutiny for its slow payment of bills, some of which have been paid.

Some of those payments were to local businesses that even extended credit toward Stinger. Also, Stinger was working a deal with the Lincoln County Port Authority, the landlord which owns the land encompassing the Stinger operation.

According to Paul Rumelhart, the executive director of the Kootenai River Development Council, which administers the Port Authority property, a payment plan with Stinger still is in the works.