Thanks to some enterprising court-records-digging reporters at the Contra Costa Times we know Monday some more details about the financial struggles at the Piedmont Lumber and Millwork company, whose Walnut Creek lumber yard and retail store were destroyed by a four-alarm fire Saturday.
Fire investigators, however, can't say whether these difficulties, which include foreclosure proceedings and a lawsuit by the Teamsters union, have anything to do with the fire, which covered an acre of building and construction materials. The cause of the $5 million blaze is still unknown, with Contra Costa Consolidated Fire investigators searching through a 7,800-square-foot structure. Investigators also have no evidence linking Saturday's blaze to an arson fire at the Pittsburg facility on August 21.
But here are some details of the company's legal and financial troubles, per the Contra Costa Times:
--"A bank filed a lawsuit March 1 against Piedmont Lumber and co-owners William C. Myer Jr. and Victoria Myer, alleging the company is in default on nearly $15 million in loans obtained since 2007. The 14-count complaint seeks judicial foreclosure on Piedmont Lumber properties in Pittsburg, Tracy, Mendocino County and Lake County."
--"County Costa County records show a bank lien filed March 2 began foreclosure proceedings related to the Pittsburg property."
--"Another lawsuit was filed federal court March 1 against the company by Northwest Administrations, which handles the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust Fund on behalf of union employees. The complaint alleges that since November, the company has failed to make fringe benefit contributions as required in the union contract."