Having just laid off 1,200 workers during the past seven months, Hercules Aerospace now is facing the threat of a lawsuit from Salt Lake County.
County officials said Monday they want Hercules to give them $1 million worth of land they promised to give in an agreement signed more than three years ago.The land, which surrounds the plant in the west end of the Salt Lake Valley, was supposed to be given as part of an elaborate deal to keep builders from constructing houses too close to the aerospace plant. Company officials had threatened to leave the state, saying their insurance rates would rise. Houses built too close to the plant might be destroyed in the event of an accidental explosion at the plant.
Deputy County Attorney Gerald Nielson asked commissioners Monday to grant another 30 days for him to reach a solution before filing suit.
"For the past year they have ignored our phone calls and our letters," he said, referring to Hercules officials.
But Hercules government affairs manager Dave Nicponski said the argument over the land deal is a "tempest in a teapot." He said the company is happy to comply with the agreement.
"This is a simple miscommunication between attorneys, which is nothing I've found to be out of the ordinary," he said.