The city's largest contracted garbage hauler, whose owner stands indicted of defrauding for thousands of dollars in landfill fees, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing the Augusta Commission among his top creditors.
CSRA Waste President Kester Uzochukwu filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday, and city attorney Jim Wall learned of the filing Tuesday after receiving a letter from one of the hauler's lawyers.
Commissioners have been considering what to do with Mr. Uzochukwu's contract for weeks but have failed to get the needed six votes to cancel his work agreement with the city. Now that he has filed for bankruptcy, it will be much more difficult to oust him from the city payroll.
"We have to get bankruptcy approval before we do anything, including terminating the contract," Mr. Wall said.
He said the city has not determined exactly how much CSRA Waste owes, and that he and commissioners are "studying our options."
The bankruptcy filing, which is dated March 29, lists Mr. Uzochukwu's debts at more than $1.3 million and the Augusta Commission is one of 19 creditors.
Other entities he is in debt to include multiple banks and credit agencies. Locally, he is indebted to Sherman & Hemstreet real estate agency and Augusta Disposal and Recycling, a competing garbage hauler that now subcontracts for CSRA Waste.
Augusta Disposal declined to comment on the filing, with officials saying they had not yet received formal notice.
"We have an obligation to the taxpayer, and we need to bring some finality to it," said Mayor Bob Young, who said he was told Tuesday night about the filing. "But bankruptcy may make it impossible to bring any finality to it until the contract expires in August."