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IRS levy against Ronn Motors lifted in December, documents show

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POSTED 4-6-2010

MARBLE FALLS — The CEO of Ronn Motor Co. produced records showing a federal tax levy against his company had been lifted when he met Tuesday with city officials about the publicly owned showroom and manufacturing plant he will run.

The plant will later become a vocational and technological center offering job training to adults and juveniles.
IN PHOTO: The Scorpion HX supercar has made appearances at auto shows around the world. Owner Ronn Motor Co. plans to operate a manufacturing plant in Marbel Falls. File photo

Ronn Maxwell presented the Internal Revenue Service document to the Economic Development Corp., which plans to lease the 76,000-square-foot building to Ronn Motors for up to three years for use as a manufacturing plant for automotive hydrogen-cell technology.

The EDC board also met in executive session to discuss Ronn Motors’ contract, and the board also heard an update on a proposed vo-tech center that will open at the Ronn Motors plant after the automaker vacates the facility.

The document shown at the meeting Tuesday backs up Maxwell’s earlier claim that an IRS lien filed against Ronn Motors for more than $98,000 in unpaid taxes last December was “an error.”

According to the federal lien, the company owed $98,026.37 in payroll taxes when the document was filed Dec. 21, 2009.

However, the document presented by Maxwell Tuesday — dated Dec. 23, 2009 — shows that all federal claims to Ronn Motors finances and property had been lifted two days after the initial filing.

“We’ve already taken care of it. It was an error,” he told The Daily Tribune March 16.

At the time, he indicated he didn’t wish to discuss the matter further. Also, a check at the time with the Burnet County District Clerk’s Office indicated there were no records from the IRS of the lien being released.

The lien was first reported by The Daily Tribune in March after public documents revealed IRS claims that Ronn Motors failed to pay payroll taxes during a nine-month period in 2008 and 2009.

Maxwell Tuesday declined to say how the matter was resolved, and IRS officials said they were unable to comment specifically on the case due to privacy laws.

Cottonwood Shores-based Ronn Motors produces and markets green-energy technologies, including a system that uses hydrogen to increase fuel efficiency in cars and trucks.

The company also produces the eco-friendly Scorpion HX supercar, which uses the hydrogen-cell technology.

A prototype of the $250,000 sports car recently was featured on a Discovery Channel TV series, “World’s Most Expensive Rides,” according to a company press release.

Ronn Motors last fall signaled its intent to move to Marble Falls after the EDC purchased a former candle factory at 1707 Colt Circle for about $1.7 million with plans to turn the building into a vocational learning center.

According to an agreement between the EDC and Ronn Motors, the company will occupy the building for up to three years, locating its executive offices, showroom and manufacturing facility there.

In return, Ronn Motors has promised to create at least 20 full-time jobs with an average pay of $27,000 by the end of its first year in Marble Falls, with an additional 75 full-time jobs added by the end of its third year.

If those jobs aren’t created on time, Ronn Motors would have to pay the EDC $27,000 for each position not created, according to the company’s agreement with the EDC.

Following the three-year lease term, the company has pledged to build a $3 million facility within the Marble Falls city limits, according to documents.

Once Ronn Motors vacates the building, the new vocational center — dubbed the Highland Lakes Career and Technology Center — will move in, officials said.

EDC Higher Education Liaison Bobbie Walker said a planning group for the new facility met last week.

The meeting included representatives from the city, the EDC, the Marble Falls Independent School District and Central Texas College, Walker said.

“It’s hoped that all parties would work together and support each other,” Walker said. “We also hope to identify quickly the most-needed training area. Our target is to have classes in the building in three years, but we want to have other areas involved.”

The next EDC meeting is noon May 5 in council chambers, 800 Third St.

chris@thepicayune.com

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