Chip Tate, who in December parted ways with the distillery he founded, Balcones Distilling, has taken legal action against an Ohio company he claims failed to deliver distilling equipment to Waco that he was going to use to launch a new venture called Tate & Co.
Tate, in pleadings filed in 170th State District Court, claims he has sent bank drafts totaling $91,334 to get barrels once used in the historic Heavy Seas Beer brewery in Baltimore, Maryland, trucked to Waco.
He was going to make use of the equipment in distilling whiskey.
But Ohio-based International Dismantling Corp., which also is known as Industrial Export: USA-Contractor Groups, has failed to make good on pledges to deliver the items by a March 18 deadline and has continued to dodge demands for answers, according to filings by Tate’s attorney, David Clouston.
“These people have made themselves completely unavailable,” Clouston said in a phone interview. “They represented themselves as a worldwide operation that had performed industrial moves for Alcoa, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Siemens and other major companies. But it appears to be a company with no real office or real people.”
Steven Cortopassi, reportedly a salesman for International Dismantling, also is named in the filings.
He met with Tate at the Heavy Seas brewery in Baltimore, “and represented that the International defendants would take care of the relocation in all respects,” the filing states.
Tate and his attorney are pursuing a writ of garnishment to secure the more than $91,000 Tate claims to have paid. State District Judge Jim Meyer on Tuesday granted a request by Clouston to freeze deposits in an account that International Dismantling holds with Bank of America.
“We want to freeze whatever money may be left, pay subcontractors who haven’t been paid and get that equipment down here,” Clouston said.
Clouston said he would like to think all the money Tate has paid remains in the account, “but I doubt that’s the case.”
A call to International Dismantling Corp. on Tuesday was not returned.
Tate’s visit to Baltimore to scout out and personally disassemble the old Heavy Seas Beer brewery made news in that city.
The Baltimore Business Journal wrote: “Chip Tate, a Texas distiller ousted from his company last year, is taking a piece of Baltimore back to Texas for his next whiskey operation.”
It went on to say Tate was disassembling Heavy Seas’ old brewhouse, the 50-barrel brewing system it replaced with a 60-barrel system.
“I’m looking forward to making a trip down to Waco to try some of the whiskey,” said Hugh Sisson, founder of Heavy Seas.
Tate and award-winning Balcones Distilling severed ties under a buyout settlement in December. He is under a noncompete clause not to distill whiskey until March 2016, but is setting up his new company in an 11,000-square-foot building on Steinbeck Bend Road near Waco Regional Airport.
He reportedly will make brandy until he is legally allowed to begin whiskey production.