City Files Lawsuit In Hopes Of Recouping $375K Mistake
By Mike Perleberg
A copy of the mistake check sent by the Lawrenceburg Clerk-Treasurer’s Office to ProMaxima Manufacturing LTD in 2012. File photo.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – The City of Lawrenceburg wants its money back.
All $375,547.97. Plus interest.
In 2012, a check for that amount was mistakenly printed and mailed out by the City of Lawrenceburg Clerk-Treasurer’s office to a Houston, Texas-based fitness equipment company called ProMaxima Manufacturing LLC. Eagle Country 99.3 previously profiled the high-dollar blunder last year.
The check was supposed to be an economic development grant for local employer Proximo Distillers. While a clear explanation for the mix-up has never been disclosed by the city, it could have something to do with the similarity in the names of the two companies. ProMaxima was in the city’s accounting system, having been paid for providing fitness equipment for the police department some years earlier.
It was not until a 2014 audit that the city became aware of the goof. Without city council’s knowledge, the Lawrenceburg Clerk-Treasurer’s Office and ProMaxima reached an agreement on a reimbursement plan in 2015. ProMaxima sent two payments of $2,500 to the city in March and May of that year, but then the company stopped repaying.
The Dearborn-Ohio County Prosecutor’s Office had been investigating the case, but never filed criminal charges against ProMaxima or its executives. Lawrenceburg city attorney Del Weldon said former prosecutor Aaron Negangard felt the case was not strong enough to warrant charges.
Now the city is trying to get the taxpayer money back through civil court. Lawrenceburg filed a lawsuit against ProMaxima in Dearborn Superior Court II on June 28.
The lawsuit accuses ProMaxima of breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
“ProMaxima knew or should have known that it had not given value for said check and that the check was delivered in mistake,” wrote Anthony M. Smart, the city’s hired attorney from local law firm Ewbank & Kramer, in the complaint. “ProMaxima failed to notify Lawrenceburg of the mistake and wrongfully converted the funds of the City of Lawrenceburg.”
The city asks a judge to order ProMaxima to repay $370,547.97 – the amount after the two $2,500 payments in 2014 – plus eight percent annual interest and legal fees.
ProMaxima executives did not responded to a request for comment Wednesday.