Handy Hardware Says It Doesn't Owe Lauderdale County

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The man brought in to manage Handy Hardware says the Texas company, currently reorganizing in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, does not owe $3.5 million to Lauderdale County.

Morrie Aaron cites documents that say Handy would not have to repay federal community development money used to improve the industrial park where its Meridian warehouse was built.

A lawyer for Lauderdale County, though, says that's an incorrect interpretation of the agreement.

The Mississippi Development Authority sent $3.5 million in federal community development money to the county to build a road, extend a sewer and prepare the site for the warehouse.

MDA says the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors is in charge of retrieving the money. The state says the county might be off the hook if a new company moves in.