BENWOOD - Bellaire Bridge owner Lee Chaklos may not own the rights to any scrap metal that would result from the demolition of the structure, according to new court documents.
Three liens against the bridge collectively total $2,126,400, said attorney Dan Guida, representing the city of Benwood. The first of those liens is with DAC Audit Services of Clarkston, Mich., which invested $820,0000 with Chaklos. The company believes it now owns the scrap metal as a result of the deal.
Chaklos co-owns the Bellaire Bridge with his wife, Krystal Chaklos, under the name KDC Investments. The couple resides in Virginia Beach, Va.
"DAC Audit Services has never, never owned the bridge," Lee Chaklos said. "KDC Investments owns the bridge."
He added he could not make further comment on the matter at the advice of his attorney.
A "mediation statement supplementation" filed last week by Guida with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus provides details of the financial situation Chaklos faces. Guida states in court documents that Benwood would be at least the fourth party to receive any money from the bridge's scrap metal if Chaklos and his construction company, Delta Demolition, started the demolition then were not able to complete the job.
Chaklos' failure to secure a $1 million performance bond has been a factor in Benwood officials not giving him a permit to begin demolition of the span.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley set a criminal contempt hearing for Bellaire Bridge owner Lee Chaklos for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 10 after learning that Chaklos apparently failed to disclose the liens against the span.
The first of the liens belongs to DAC Audit Services, Guida said. The firm was "promised to receive a hefty return on its investments once the Bellaire Bridge was demolished and the scrap steel was sold," he said.
"DAC Audit Services believes it purchased the scrap steel from Mr. Chaklos when it entered into two contracts for the sale and purchase of commercial or industrial property with him in November 2010," Guida said.
"Mr. Chaklos may not even own the scrap steel from the Bellaire Bridge since it was sold to DAC Audit Services pursuant to two contracts for this sale and purchase of commercial or industrial property. At the minimum, Mr. Chaklos should have notified this court that there was a dispute as to the ownership of the scrap steel."
The second of the liens is with RFK Enterprises of New Castle, Pa., who made investments totalling $1,206,400 beginning in March 2011 through May 2012. Chaklos promised RFK "it would receive a high return on its investments once the Bellaire Bridge was demolished, and the scrap steel sold." In the agreement, Chaklos listed all steel scrap from the bridge as collateral, according to Guida.
The third lien is with the Scrap Dynamics Corp. of Aurora, Ohio, who Guida said invested $100,000 with Chaklos on May 4, 2012. In exchange, Chaklos promised the company it would become the exclusive purchaser of the bridge scrap.
Chaklos testified in depositions dated April 25 that DAC Audit Services would be the first paid through sale of the bridge's scrap metal; RFK Enterprises, second on the list; and Scrap Dynamics, third.
Late last year, when Chaklos was not able to secure a $1 million performance bond, Benwood officials amended their requirement for him to achieve a demolition permit. They dropped their request to a $500,000 cash bond.
Guida notes in the filing that Chaklos - during a mediation hearing on July 16 - offered to deposit $250,000 into an escrow account. If a permit were then issued by the city of Benwood, he said he would then begin demolition of the Bellaire Bridge on the Bellaire side. He hoped to secure the additional $250,000 needed by selling the scrap steel from the bridge as he worked his way toward the Benwood side, according to Guida.
Guida believes Chaklos misled the court, and that "it's impossible for him to obtain an additional $250,000 from the steel scrap to pay the city of Benwood monies pursuant to the terms of an escrow agreement."