Energy company sues Rifle man for blocking access to equipment |

Energy company sues Rifle man for blocking access to equipment

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” An energy company says a man who was providing space to its contractor is costing it around $10,000 a day by refusing to give back the energy company’s equipment.

A civil complaint filed in 9th Judicial District Court Thursday alleges that Calvin Murray, of Rifle, has been working with U.S. Central Pipeline to keep Energy Transfer Corp. from getting its equipment back. Energy Transfer Corp. says Murray is letting U.S. Central Pipeline employees into the construction yard, on County Road 323, but won’t let ETC employees in.

The equipment ETC wants includes treated steel pipe and valves.

Around 150 workers didn’t receive paychecks for a little over two weeks of work last Friday after ETC and U.S. Central Pipeline (USCP) disagreed over a contract for pipeline work near Rulison and Parachute. USCP says it couldn’t pay the workers because ETC owes it around $2.5 million, but ETC says it has already paid amounts exceeding the terms of the pipeline contract, and USCP’s unpaid workers are USCP’s problem.

ETC’s civil complaint says USCP “abandoned the project and was terminated for breach of contract on Oct. 20.”

Workers were angry at not getting paid, and some accused ETC of trying to get out of paying the contractor.

One welder reportedly made threats over the weekend and stole a trailer after stealing fuel for his truck and cutting a fuel or electrical line at the construction yard.

Jimmy Smith, who was working as a liaison for ETC, said in court documents that Murray’s girlfriend worked for USCP. Smith said Murray has made “angry outbursts” about the disagreement between the companies and he believes Murray is keeping the equipment because he is in a dire financial situation.

A woman who answered the phone number at Murray’s house said, “No comment.”

Cody Jordan, an ETC project manager, said in court documents that ETC is losing $10,000 a day because of Murray’s refusal to let the company retrieve its equipment.

ETC hired the Balcomb and Green law firm to file the civil complaint. It says the equipment is at risk of being stolen or damaged unless a judge enters a court order for ETC to get its equipment back.

USCP hired the Owen Law Offices of Craig and Meeker to file a lien and a lawsuit to try to recover the money allegedly owed to USCP.

An ETC spokeswoman said the company was working to get another contractor in to finish the 14-mile natural gas gathering line that runs in a loop near Rulison and Parachute.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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