MANCHESTER, Ky (WYMT) - Representatives of a Florida business that once promised to build a recycling factory and bring more than one thousand jobs to Clay County face conspiracy and mail fraud charges.
This is the latest development in a story we have followed for years.
It was news many in Clay County, including then-Mayor Carmen Webb Lewis, thought was too good to be true. In 2009, officials with the Florida-based company Waste Not Technologies announced plans to build an 800,000 square foot factory in Manchester.
They said it would employ more than 1,400 people.
In a 2009 interview with WYMT, Mayor Lewis told us she was thrilled with the possible new jobs.
"It is hard to believe. It is terrible to say but Manchester has had a bad rap for a long time and it is hard to believe something this great would happen for us and for this region," said Lewis.
At first, everything seemed fine. Elza Construction, out of Laurel County, was hired to excavate the plant's site. They started on the work immediately.
But as current Manchester Mayor George Saylor, who was a city council member at the time of the announcement, tells WYMT, he could sense something was not right.
"Really that is the reason I ran for mayor was because of this. I knew that this was a scam," said Saylor.
As Saylor remembers, soon construction and other city officials started to raise questions about the Florida company.
"They kept saying it is not going to cost the city anything. It is not going to cost the city anything. You know, blah, blah, blah. Then they kept coming back wanting the city to do this and wanting the city to do that," said Saylor.
Now, four people, David R. Bennett, Daniel R. Goodwin, Sidney A. Tarrant and Izhar H. Syed are charged with conspiracy and five counts of mail fraud.
Saylor said the city can finally start to heal.
"We can overcome what has happened but it is going to be a long, slow process," said Saylor.
Elza Construction lost more than one million dollars in the alleged scam and filed for bankruptcy in 2011.
Arrest warrants were issued for the four people indicted.
Saylor tells us they hope, in the future, to find another use for the land that was supposed to house that planned factory.