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Court rules against refund request by defunct RG Steel

WARREN – The 11th District Court of Appeals has struck down an attempt by owners of the now defunct RG Steel to get more than $1 million in taxes overpaid by a predecessor of the steelmaker, WCI Steel, refunded.

The ruling denies RG Steel’s try to force Trumbull County Auditor Adrian Biviano and Treasurer Sam Lamancusa to pay the refund, which the company claims was due after Ohio’s tax appeals board in 2012 revised the value of machinery and equipment held at its old Warren facility for years 2001, 2002 and 2003.

The tax revision amounted to a refund of $658,316, according to the ruling, however, RG Steel contended the amount, with interest, rose to be more than $1.2 million.

It states in the ruling because RG Steel’s “claimed predecessor,” WCI “waived and released” its claim to the money in its 2003 bankruptcy case, RG Steel is “likewise barred from seeking recovery” of the claim. The decision was in response to a motion for summary judgment by Warren City Schools, one of the parties that would be affected. A refund also would have affected Howland, Warren, Warren Township and Howland Local Schools.

RG Steel asked Trumbull County for the refund in April 2014, but Biviano refused to draw the warrant, claiming it was unfair that a closed steel mill or its successors were trying to recoup tangible personal property taxes, which no longer exist in Ohio, for a period of more than 10 years ago. RG Steel then took the case to court.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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