Apr 12, 2012 4:54 PM
(Be sure to tune in to LEX 18 News at 6 for Leigh Searcy's "On Special Assignment" report)
An Owsley County man says he's fighting an uphill battle with a coal company that owes him thousands of dollars and that the company is still mining on his property despite defaulting on its lease.
Randall Thomas says feels like he's fighting a losing battle with Emlyn Coal, which he says owes him between $25,000-$30,000, but since July hasn't paid him a dime. "They supposed to give me a weigh ticket of each load been hauled out of here," he said. "Never received a ticket or nothing."
The company continues to mine on his property despite the lease agreement that clearly states if the company "defaults payment" the lease will "cease and terminate." And to complicate matters, Emlyn Coal filed for bankruptcy last November, but was in operation with lots of heavy equipment when LEX 18 visited the site.
Thomas says the president of the company knows what is happening because he sent a letter to him in January informing the company not to mine on his property and Thomas posted a "keep out" sign on the front gate.
At one point, Thomas says the president, Bart Montanari promised to buy him out. "We were trying to work on a deal, him buying me out," said Thomas. "That was a ploy, I think now, so they can keep working."
LEX 18 tried to reach Montanari at the company's Williamsburg office, but the phone was disconnected. The London office was then contacted, and the representative said that, "as far as I know they've stopped mining operations up there." When LEX 18 said there was still mining going on at the site, the representative said, "I was there (earlier) and they shut everything down."
Thomas is still waiting for his money. He says he and his wife have been left feeling defeated in many ways, because about the whole time they've battled Emlyn Coal, they've had to deal with a crash that killed their second child, Justin, on Mother's Day in 2010.
"We actually ain't had time to grieve for fighting with them," said Thomas. "Fight every day about it."