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Aluminum startup finds going rough in Louisiana, as it did in Mississippi

By JACK WEATHERLY 

In February 2015, American Specialty Alloys, which was to build a $1.2 billion plant at Columbus and produce aluminum alloy for automobile bodies, pulled up stakes and decided to seek its fortunes in Louisiana.

The startup, which never built the plant and was at odds with the Mississippi Development Authority and the Golden Triangle development agency, LINK, has run into similar problems in Pineville, La.

Now called Revolution Aluminum Propco LLC, it has been sued by several parties for a total of about $2 million for failure to pay back “bridge” loans and for unpaid work.

It has been placed in involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

LINK held an 826-acre site for the startup for about a year, waiting for American Specialty to show the development agency its financial arrangement for the $1.2 billion plant.

It never did.

Revolution is headed by Roger Boggs, who was founder and chief executive of American Specialty.

Boggs told the Mississippi Business Journal on Tuesday by telephone that he would have no comment on the state of the undertaking, but that a “full release” would be issued on Oct. 12.

The new company initiated the purchase of 1,400 acres at Pineville that had been the site of an International Paper plant.

Boggs announced that the site, renamed Innovation Park, was to be joined by “several” other companies that will support the mill’s operations, according to The Town Talk newspaper of neighboring Alexandria.

A call to the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance was not returned.

Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields said in a telephone interview on Monday that he is hopeful that the plant will be built.

Fields said the city has been unable to reach Boggs for a month or more. “We’ve been directing folks to the website Revolutionary Aluminum.com.

The site has no phone numbers and scant information. Under the heading About Us it says only “A mini-mill for the Aluminum Industry.”

Under Project Updates it says:

“We have been very busy at the Pineville site over the past several months.”

Bulleted items say that:

» “17,800 cubic yards of concrete have been removed and staged for recycling;”

» “additional land clearing, brush removal and grading has been completed;”

» “and approximately 12 miles of rail is being refurbished.”

Acadiana Railway has sued Revolution for nearly $800,000 for unpaid work and uncollected fees, according to The Town Talk.

The railroad says it is owed $648,000 for improving rail access and $150,000 for three months of car switching fees, according to The Town Talk.

Ryan and Associates of Davenport, Iowa lent Revolution $1.15 million with promise of repayment and ownership of 100 acres for a fabrication shop and contracts to perform work for the aluminum mill.

Ryan and Associates and two other debtors succeeded in getting an involuntary Chapter 11 order against Revolution on Sept. 30 from Judge John W. Kolwe of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Western Louisiana.

One of those creditors, Integrated Project Resources LLC of Columbiana County, Ohio, accuses Boggs and Revolution of fraud and deceit and that “Revolution should be considered the alter ego of its sole member and officer, Boggs.”

It alleges that funds for the corporation and Boggs are commingled; Revolution has failed to follow statutory formalities for the incorporating and transacting” of corporate affairs; that Revolution is undercapitalized and has not held regular shareholder and director meetings.”

The Louisiana Economic Development agency offered Revolution a $34 million performance-based grant.

LED Secretary Don Pierson issued the following email on Tuesday:

“No taxpayer dollars have been provided for this project to-date, and none are at risk. Louisiana Economic Development reached a prospective agreement in 2015 with the company, then known as American Specialty Alloys, which would have provided performance-based grants on a reimbursable basis, as the company completed construction.

“However, no final contractual commitment has been made by the company. Should the company proceed with the project, it could receive the announced incentives in the future as it completes construction and hiring.”

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