Bankrupt Company Owes Mississippi $3.5 Million

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A Texas company that Mississippi officials say owes the state $3.5 million has filed for bankruptcy, complicating collection efforts.

Handy Hardware, a hardware wholesale cooperative, announced in November it would close its two-year-old Meridian warehouse.

By then, the Houston company had missed an October interest payment to Capital One Financial Corp. and defaulted on $26 million in debt.

Handy laid off 109 Meridian workers and filed in January for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

The Mississippi Development Authority says the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors is in charge of retrieving $3.5 million in federal community development money Handy accepted in exchange for creating 175 jobs.

Smaller amounts have been repaid to Lauderdale County and East Mississippi Electric Power Association, but it's unclear how actively officials are pursuing the $3.5 million.