Detroit –At least three suppliers to Mayor Dave Bing’s auto supply businesses claim they were not paid thousands of dollars.
Ohio-based Wyoming Steel Supply Inc. filed a lawsuit in November for $123,835.73, claiming the Bing Group didn’t pay for delivered steel. Two other businesses say they are owed as well: a Wixom machine company has sued for $1,931.85 and a Royal Oak steel company says it is owed $10,747.22.
” said Mark Berg, one of the ”They just kind of went ‘poof,’ owners of Berg Steel of Royal Oak, who claims he wasn’t paid for an October shipment of 26,000 pounds of steel to Bing Steel. “You’d think being the mayor, he would think differently.”
“They knew this was coming.”
Bing’s staffers would not comment on the accusations, say whether the mayor has any financial stake remaining in his companies or explain if they still exist. His staffers in October said the mayor put his stake in the Bing Group in a blind trust that removed him from company operations but allowed ownership to revert to him after he leaves office.
Since then, a subsidiary, Bing Metals Group, was sold to L&W Engineering Co. in November. In February, Bing Steel, a 151,000-square-foot facility on Euclid in Detroit, and its equipment were up for sale, according to a report in the American Metal Market.
But it’s still unclear if the entire Bing Group business has been sold, and Bing’s staffers would not clarify the situation.
Bing Group attorney Max Newman declined comment on Tuesday and efforts to reach its president and CEO , Kirk Lewis, were unsuccessful.
Bing, the former professional basketball star whose company reported in 2009 a payroll of 600 employees and annual sales of $400 million, ran for mayor largely on his success as a businessman.
But, like other auto suppliers, the company was hit hard by the downturn of the auto industry. In a series of memos to General Motors Corp . in June, Lewis acknowledged the company was living paycheck to paycheck and courting two potential buyers.
Berg said he has made repeated calls and sent e-mails to Bing company officials but hasn’t gotten any response and could soon file his own lawsuit.
“It’s a mystery,” Berg said.
Alfredo Cassab, an attorney for Wyoming Steel, declined comment Tuesday on the lawsuit, which names Bing Group entities BVR Technologies and Bing Metals Group. Josh Moss, a lawyer for Oakland Stamping, the stamping facility now owned by L&W Engineering Co., also declined comment.
Michigan Tractor and Machinery, in Wixom, filed a lawsuit in January against Bing Metals Group in 36th District Court claiming it is owed $1,931.85 from an open account the company had as of November.
Source:The Detroit News/Christine MacDonald