Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Recycling Works truck drops a load of scrap wood at the old VIM plant Sept. 24, 2010. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

VIM Recycling, a waste-wood recycling facility, dumps wood chip into a mulching machine April 14, 2011. (Truth Photo By Adrienne Barnett) (AP)
Indiana AG seeks to garnish payments to VIM to cover $150,000 fine
Posted on April 26, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 26, 2013 at 6:29 p.m.

ELKHART — The state would garnish any payments by Soil Solutions to VIM Recycling to cover a $152,800 fine VIM faces stemming from a lawsuit filed against the wood recycler by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

That’s the upshot of a proposal put forth by the attorney general’s office at a meeting Friday, April 26, with Ken Will, operator of VIM, which is now defunct.

Will, according to Bryan Corbin, spokesman for the attorney general’s office, didn’t object to the proposal. But Elkhart Superior Court 1 Judge Evan Roberts, overseeing the case, has yet to rule.

“Whether VIM receives any further payments from Soil Solutions remains to be seen, but this garnishment order, if granted, would set up a mechanism to ensure that the state’s portion — for the fine and attorney’s fees — is properly taken out of any future payments,” Corbin said in an email.

Will, coming out of Friday’s meeting with Deputy Attorney General Valerie Tachtiris at the Elkhart County courthouse in Elkhart, declined comment.

The attorney general’s office filed suit against VIM in Elkhart Superior Court 1 in late 2009, saying the firm illegally accepted some 15,000 cubic feet of scrap wood from area manufacturers and improperly piled it on its grounds. The operation grinds scrap wood into mulch and animal bedding and it has long been a source of ire for neighbors who say dust and other emissions are a bother and health threat.

In the Superior Court 1 case, one of several court matters that has involved the operation, VIM and the AG’s office had reached an accord calling on VIM to process the disputed wood pile. VIM didn’t comply, leading to a $150,000 fine, plus $2,800 in attorney fees, and then debate over how it would be paid, if VIM could even pay it.

Soil Solutions bought out VIM in 2011 and now operates the wood recycling operation off Old U.S. 33 west of Elkhart. Terms of the transaction, and whether any payments are still being made by Soil Solutions to VIM, haven’t been publicly revealed.

Neighbors living around the Old U.S. 33 location have a separate pending suit against VIM and Soil Solutions in U.S. District Court in South Bend.