Heavy Metal is supposed to be about bombast and swagger, but I'm feeling a bit melancholy. I made what could be my last trip to Mount Gilead, Ohio.
Aug. 21 was a sun-splashed Friday. A beautiful day for a drive down I-71. Of course it was gloomy in the courtroom of Morrow County Pleas Court Judge Howard Hall, where Chris Filos agreed — finally — to pay state and local taxes withheld from workers at HPM under his eight years of ownership. The total bill: $44,687 to the village of Mount Gilead and $216,811 for state taxes—probably much more when the state adds up the late fees.
Filos was scheduled to go on trial the following Monday. Now he faces jail and fines if he doesn't pay up.
You probably know the sad tale of HPM Corp. in Mount Gilead by now, through the pages of Plastics News and, for local HPM employees past and present, the Morrow County Sentinel, an excellent weekly newspaper covering the county of about 35,000 people. No need repeating it here, except to say that, under the ownership of Filos and his trucking company, the machinery maker shut down at the end of 2009 — ending 132 years of operation.
There's a high level of interest in the old HPM in plastics machinery circles. I'm still amazed that people ask me about it all the time, in the United States and even in Europe.
I've covered the HPM saga for many years (no, not in 1877 when it made apple presses; I'm not that old, not an ageless vampire). Before Filos, HPM was owned by a wealthy guy from Los Angeles, Neil Kadisha. He was flamboyant. Kadisha was a major shareholder of Qualcomm. Filos was different, more down-to-earth. A New Jersey guy. Even so, the hulking HPM building now stands vacant, looking like something out of Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall fell.
(A new owner wants to redevelop it, and I wish him the best of luck).