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TAM Ceramics sued over bills

The Niagara Falls Water Board has filed a $2.4 million lawsuit against TAM Ceramics for what it claims are overdue water and sewer bills, fees, penalties and interest.

The Water Board, which filed the suit in State Supreme Court on Wednesday, said it has tried to negotiate for months with the Town of Niagara ceramic powder maker.

Executive Director Paul J. Drof said the board was “left with no choice” but to file the lawsuit.

“It is not fair for our ratepayers in the City of Niagara Falls, especially hard-working residents, to subsidize water and wastewater services for companies that refuse to pay their bills,” Drof said in a written statement released Friday.

“Despite several attempts to collect payment from TAM Ceramics per a 2010 signed agreement and otherwise, our extensive efforts to come to a resolution have been unsuccessful.”

According to its lawsuit, the Water Board claims the company owes it $998,000 for a breach of contract, $385,000 in unpaid bills from 2010 and 2011, as well as more than $1 million in other bills.

The Water Board is being represented by David P. Flynn and Amanda L. Lowe of the firm Phillips Lytle.

The Water Board has sent the Hyde Park Boulevard company a notice that it intends to shut off water and sewer services on Wednesday.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

TAM was acquired in 2010 by three local businessmen: Jerome P. Williams, George H. Bilkey and Alfonse Muto.

In March, the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency revoked tax breaks granted to the company in 2010.

The agency said the company had owed the county $627,000, an amount that had been due in October 2011.