Jay Circuit Court granted a judgment for $877,500 to the City of Portland this morning in its suit against Geesaman Industries.
Judge Brian Hutchison granted the city’s motion in a hearing after no one appeared to represent Geesaman Industries — including company owner Steve Geesaman, who had represented himself in an earlier hearing.
“I cannot think of any reason the court would not grant this motion,” Hutchison said before ruling.
The judgment states that Geesaman Industries must repay $877,500 in grant funds it received from the city — including 8 percent annual interest.
“It means we have a judgment,” city attorney Bill Hinkle said of the result and added that he would discuss the next steps with city officials. “That’s what we’re going to discuss is how we turn that judgment into dollars.”
That complaint asked for repayment of the grant funds that were given to Geesaman Industries to purchase equipment and start a facility in Portland employing at least 50 people.
Geesaman Industries never hit those employment marks and Geesaman said previously that the equipment he purchased did not work properly.
The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, which provided the grant funds to Portland, sent a letter demanding the money be returned by March 15. The city has sent a request to OCRA asking for a six-month extension while the lawsuit against Geesaman Industries is resolved.
City officials have not commented on whether a response has been received from OCRA at this time.