CANAAN VALLEY, W.Va. — An administrative law judge issued an order Thursday recommending the state Public Service Commission seek court action in Tucker County to place the Timberline Four Seasons Utilities into receivership.
The ALJ said the receiver should be the Canaan Valley Public Service District.
The PSC presented evidence in a December ALJ hearing alleging Timberline Four Seasons Utilities (TFSU) had failed to meet federal and state tax liabilities for multiple years, failed to collect payment on water and sewer services provided to affiliates, was unable to provide timely bills to their customers along with having inaccurate readings of water meters on the bills, and was unable to satisfy many other state codes. The delinquent public utility taxes amount to more than $13,000, with arrearages reaching more than $200,000 by October.
The PSC opened a case against the utility several months ago. Also at the December, hearing, customers complained about boil water advisories, there was testimony about the lack of a licensed operator of the system, the inability to get in touch with anyone in the utility’s office and bounced paychecks.
According to a news release from the PSC, “the Commission concluded that among other serious problems, nearly $500,000 was transferred out of TFSU to various businesses owned by the same individuals that own TFSU between January 2015 and December 2016 and that many of the various businesses and individuals affiliated with TFSU had unpaid water and sewer bills that totaled more than $104,000. The Commission placed TFSU on an improvement plan that included requiring TFSU to be repaid by its affiliates for the improper transfers and for the delinquent water and sewer accounts. Today’s Order stated TFSU had violated the conditions of that improvement plan.”
TFSU is owned by Frederick Herz, who is also the owner of Timberline Four Seasons Resort. Herz was charged in December with 12 misdemeanor counts of failure to pay hotel/motel taxes.
Timberline Four Seasons Utilities serves approximately 743 sewer customers and 428 water customers in Tucker County.
The parties involved in the case have 15 days to file an exception to the ALJ’s order. If none are filed the order will become a final order from the PSC in 20 days.