Alamo Recycle Centers previously operated in Abilene and left behind an estimated 10,000 tons of roof shingles on its former landowner's property. The company is being investigated by state agencies for multiple counts of illegal dumping, but the owner claims he didn’t abandon the property.
In August 2011, Jerry Colyer rented a portion of his property on Grape Street to the recycling company. He claimed the owner of the business, Robbie King, failed to pay rent and he evicted the business a few months later.
Colyer said the business then abandoned the shingles it was storing on his property.
"He was evicted. He was given the opportunity to get the property off. He said numerous times he would, then he doesn't," said Jacob Blizzard, Colyer's attorney. "And it's just a continuing: 'I'm going to, I'm going to and he never does.'"
King claimed he sent rent checks to Colyer, who refused to accept them. He said he was unlawfully evicted and that he has tried to retrieve the shingles but Colyer will not let him.
"Unfortunately Mr. Colyer has taken this as an opportunity to kind of hold us (Alamo Recycling Centers) hostage," King said. "He's demanding a quote, unquote ransom for us to access the property. He's either demanding that we pay an exorbitant one-time fee for us to get on the property and remove our material or he's demanding that we buy the property from him for $75,000."
Blizzard said neither he nor Colyer have held the shingles for ransom as King suggested. He said he sent King's lawyer, Mark McPherson, notice on Nov. 16 that King needs to remove the shingles by Dec. 16.
The Travis County District Attorney's Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is investigating the company for illegal dumping in Texas cities. No charges have been filed as of Thursday and the investigation is expected to last at least another two months.