By Paul Gable
As PTR Industries struggles to become current with Horry County and other vendors, it is important Horry County Council remembers the lessons of AvCraft.
Having covered the AvCraft debacle from beginning to end, the issues with PTR Industries sound eerily familiar.
It will be one year ago next week that Gov. Nikki Haley and Rep. Tommy Rice visited PTR Industries to celebrate the one year anniversary of the announcement that the company planned to relocate to Horry County. Te dignitaries received special edition rifles to commemorate the occasion.
One week later, PTR Industries laid off workers.
In early July 2014, PTR Industries presented a check to Horry County during an executive session of Horry County Council that, reportedly, brought the company to within 45 days of being current on its rent at the county building it occupies at the Cool Springs Business Park.
One year later, it is being reported in local media that PTR Industries hasn’t paid rent to the county since March 23, 2015. In other words, we are back to at least 90 days in arrears.
Additionally, PTR Industries is in arrears to other vendors and, according to information from sources familiar with the company, is required to bring cashier’s checks, as often as weekly, to utility providers in order to keep the lights on.
This does not sound like a business that has been “profitable since last fall” as PTR Industries CEO Josh Fiorini claimed to local media earlier this week.
If you are profitable, why aren’t you paying your rent?
Horry County Council was informed at its June 16, 2015 regular meeting that county officials had sent a Notice to Cure to PTR Industries to bring its rent current within 30 days or face eviction from the county building it rents.
According to sources familiar with the situation, PTR Industries submitted an alternate plan to the county for consideration.
The county spent approximately $3 million in upgrades and improvements on the Cool Springs building prior to PTR Industries beginning production operations in Horry County in January 2014.
PTR Industries entered into an incentive arrangement with Horry County and the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, prior to its relocation, promising to create 145 new jobs within three years.
According to information from several sources, eighteen months into this agreement PTR Industries has approximately 41 current employees, the same number it had one year ago.
This is the same type of promise, don’t produce, enter into a new agreement with Horry County that AvCraft got away with for 12 years.
We don’t need a replay with another county owned facility that had considerable money spent on it and negligible returns for the investment.
Maybe PTR Industries will make good on its latest attempt to become current with its bills. If not, Horry County Council doesn’t have to repeat the AvCraft dozen before pulling the plug.
(An interesting aside – a source told me a final liquidation sale of AvCraft office equipment, airplane parts, tools and the like was held several days ago.)