Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Debt Problems Mount for Durango Some Estimate Unpaid Bills near $10 Million

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Debt Problems Mount for Durango Some Estimate Unpaid Bills near $10 Million

Article excerpt

Byline: Gordon Jackson, Times-Union staff writer

ST. MARYS -- Camden County motorists are accustomed to traffic delays as St. Marys Railroad trains pass through Kingsland and St. Marys two or more times each day. But the tracks have been eerily quiet since Tuesday.

The trains, which connect with CSX Railroad engines to deliver wood, chips and chemicals to the Durango-Georgia Paper Co., no longer have freight to haul to and from the mill. CSX cut off all deliveries to St. Marys Railroad, which is owned by Durango-Georgia Paper Co., because the railroad is behind on its bills.

"They have been customers a long time," said Kathy Burns, a CSX spokeswoman. "This wasn't an easy decision for us."

Burns wouldn't say how much St. Marys Railroad owes CSX or if liens will be filed against the company.

"We're analyzing the situation at this time," she said.

Since last week's announcement that Durango-Georgia was closing in mid-November and 900 workers would lose their jobs, St. Marys attorney Jim Stein said he has filed two liens totaling about $500,000 against Durango for non-payment of services. And more are coming, Stein said.

"We're in the process of putting the ink on the paper to sue them," Stein said. "I've had people tell me that their indebtedness could be as much as $10 million."

Two other liens filed in February and April ask the company to pay more than $130,000 in money owed to different vendors, according to documents filed in the Camden County Courthouse.

Durango officials have declined to discuss any other unpaid debts..

Court documents also show the company also owes a total of $641,000 in back taxes for the past three years and will owe another $740,000 once this year's millage rates are set, said Camden County Administrator Barry King.

The former owners of the mill, Gilman Paper Co. …

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