By Heather Clower
The Parsons advocate
The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) has submitted a petition with the Tucker County Circuit Court that was served to Fred and Tracy Herz regarding Timberline Four Seasons Utilities (TFSU) last week. The document was defined as a Petition for attachment, emergency hearing, and appointment of receiver. The definition of a petition for an emergency hearing is when a concerned individual or group feels waiting for the next available court date will cause more harm and if granted, allows them to be added to the next court session docket. Attachment is defined as a way to coerce the defendants to appear to answer questions for the court, and the appointment of a receiver is to place a suitable candidate in the management position of the business.
According to the documentation, on February 21, the PSC entered an order stating they felt it “necessary to petition the Circuit Court of Tucker County to attach the assets of TFSU and place it under the sole control and responsibility of an appropriate receiver”. They came to the decision to submit this petition due to, “Evidence that the TFSU is unable or unwilling to adequately serve its customers, and has been grossly and willfully inefficient, irresponsible or unresponsive to the needs of its customers despite repeated opportunities to remedy violations”.
When TFSU was served a Recommended Decision on January 31, 2019, to which they were allotted fifteen days to respond, though failed to do so. It continues, “The Commission files this Petition to the Circuit Court of Tucker County seeking expeditious relief granting an attachment of the assets of TFSU and the appointment of a competent and responsible receiver to control, conserve and operate the utilities”.
The lengthy packet of forms included copies of WV codes stating the requirements utility companies are mandated to provide that the PSC feels they are in violation of. It went further to say, “That sufficient facts were brought before the Commission through testimony and exhibits filed at the hearing held on December 13, 2018, to support a finding that CVPSD (Canaan Valley Public Service Commission) is uniquely qualified to carry out the responsibilities of receivership of TFSU, is suitably experienced to oversee the administrative, operational and maintenance responsibilities engendered by the receivership, has willing and efficient staff or access to willing and efficient staff with which to accomplish the day to day activities and responsibilities of the receivership, and has sufficient knowledge and experience with regulatory matters to assure that the operational and managerial requirements of the receivership may be met”.
The Honorable Judge Lynn Nelson will be presiding over this emergency hearing on March 13, 2019 where the goal of the PSC is to name the CVPSD over the TFSU. T. Herz was contacted and given a chance to respond to the recent happenings, at first responding with the decision to direct all questions to their legal counsel, but followed up with a few comments via email. According to T. Herz email, the utility actually owes the resort millions of dollars for capital investments which is documented and now in the process of forensic accounting. Herz continued to state that everything she and her husband owns will eventually go to their children, and commented that now the PSD is the caretakers of this asset for her children. She also expressed concern about the single, over-extended operator the PSD has and that it wouldn’t be sufficient to operate the TFSU plant because one wasn’t enough for them in the past. The email continues to state that Timberline has identified and recruited the necessary skills they will need to run the plant and “we look forward to an elegant and seamless transfer, and to receiving the asset back promptly in better condition than it was presented”.