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INVERNESS — An executive with a heavy-equipment company said he had a potential buyer lined up for Citrus County’s pan/scraper — a corporation co-owned by Commissioner Scott Adams.
Bill Hartt, regional vice president for Ring Power Corp.’s Brooksville office, said A.C.M.S. Inc. was preparing to buy the former landfill heavy-equipment vehicle when the deal fell through Wednesday morning.
“We had a buyer,” Hartt said. “I don’t know what happened.”
Adams, who co-owns A.C.M.S. and other Sumter County solid waste-related companies, denied his company was ever interested in the pan/scraper.
“Are we buying this machine? Not that I know of,” he said.
Adams said he asked one of his business partners, Charlie Dean Jr., to make inquiries about the pan/scraper as part of a fact-finding mission to determine whether county staffers were lying about the equipment’s condition before the county traded it in to Ring Power for an excavator.
However, Adams, who wanted the county to repair the 1995 pan/scraper and voted against trading it in, also said there would be nothing wrong if he had decided to purchase the equipment.
“If those dummies were so dumb to get rid of a perfect machine, what would be wrong with me buying it?” he said.
Dean Jr. said he asked Adams about the equipment after reading a newspaper story stating the county was trading it in for the excavator.
He said Adams asked him to inquire about the machine, but not for their corporation to buy. Dean Jr. said he told Adams he might want to buy it for his personal use.
“I was going to look at buying it,” Dean Jr. said.
Hartt said an A.C.M.S. representative met with Ring Power and was working toward a sale, though nothing was in writing. Wednesday morning, the company representative, who Hartt could not name, called to say A.C.M.S. was no longer interested in the pan/scraper.
Dean Jr. said he called Ring Power on Wednesday morning because he had not received the information he requested. Dean Jr. said he did not tell Ring Power whether he was interested in buying the pan/scraper or not.
Told that Hartt said Ring Power was nearing a sale of the equipment to A.C.M.S. prior to Wednesday, Dean Jr. said: “Nope. Didn’t happen.”
The county decided in February not to repair the machine for $35,709. This month, after county officials said the machine was dismantled at Ring Power’s Brooksville facility, commissioners voted to accept the company’s offer of a $36,493 trade-in for the pan/scraper, bringing the cost of an excavator to $161,586.
Adams said he received a call last week, on Wednesday, from Bob Schweickert, who video-recorded the machine assembled and operating properly in Brooksville. He met Schweickert at Ring Power and portrayed himself as a potential customer to gain knowledge about the equipment.
Adams said he didn’t tell Ring Power employees he was a commissioner because he didn’t want them tipping off county officials he was there.
He then asked Dean Jr. to “get as much information as you can on that piece of equipment.” Adams said he plans to present the information at Tuesday’s commission meeting, though he wouldn’t say what he discovered.
As for the pan/scraper, Adams said he is not in the market.
“It’s a good deal. It’s a great deal for somebody to buy,” he said. “It’s not a piece of junk.”
Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.