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Sat, Nov 18, 2006

Tiger Aircraft On The Ropes Once Again

Only Two Employees Left Working

Tiger Aircraft may be in its final death throes. The company hasn't paid real estate or personal property taxes since 2004 and local officials are looking for another tenant to occupy the company's 75,000-square-foot production facility at Martinsburg, WV.

The company has laid off all but two workers and owes $115,000 in back taxes. So far this year only three aircraft have come off the line, and none shipped this past quarter.

The Berkeley County commission called a meeting last Thursday to discuss how the county might reclaim those back taxes. Tax assessor Preston Gooden told the Martinsburg Journal, "The tax office will just have to monitor the situation and see what action needs to be taken."

Tiger's lease on the production facility is paid through April of next year according to Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport manager Bill Walkup.

The West Virginia Development Office is tasked with business development in the region. It's preparing a package for prospective tenants to occupy Tiger's leased facility. It says interested parties have already inquired.

"You sense that it’s coming," said Bob Crawford, executive director of the Berkeley County Development Authority, "We've been in conversations with several people, but nothing has jelled yet."

Apparently, all that's left now for Tiger is to declare bankruptcy. Commission attorneys say they haven't received word yet on whether the company has filed, but they hope to reclaim the unpaid taxes if and when Tiger does.

The Journal was unable to get a comment from Tiger, although an employee did answer the phone.

FMI: www.wvdo.org

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