By Jim Cooper, Editor

A judge's order will prevent Spencer Veneer from removing any equipment from its plant in the Roane Industrial Park, at least until the issue is debated in court.

Roane Circuit Judge Thomas C. Evans III granted a temporary restraining order last week at the request of the W.Va. Economic Development Authority. Spencer Veneer closed its plant on Friday, putting 132 people out of work.

Equipment at the plant was used as security on a $2.358 million loan the state EDA issued to Spencer Veneer on Jan. 16, 2001. The state EDA also has liens on the plant building.

According to the EDA's complaint seeking an injunction, the outstanding principal balance on the loan is approximately $1.53 million. It also stated that Spencer Veneer has been in default on the loan payments for a period of at least 60 days.

The EDA's complaint alleged that Spencer Veneer was in the process of dismantling the equipment with an intent to remove it from the plant. The action constituted a breach of the terms of the loan, the complaint stated.

Evans ordered that Spencer Veneer be "prohibited and enjoined from dismantling, removing or otherwise disposing of the equipment" pending a hearing on a preliminary injunction.

The hearing on a motion for preliminary injunction was scheduled for Friday, June 22 at 11 a.m. in Roane Circuit Court.

Spencer Veneer, which is owned by the Canadian company General Woods & Veneers, opened in October of 2000. The plant sawed logs into veneers used in a variety of products including furniture, doors and paneling.