Steel company defaults, owes $400,000-plus to Nevada prison program

CARSON CITY — A steel fabrication and erection company that owes more than $400,000 to the state’s prison industries program has defaulted on a repayment plan.

The state Department of Corrections now has a $428,000 default judgment against Las Vegas-based Alpine Steel, plus interest.

The Committee on Industrial Programs, a panel of lawmakers and private sector representatives that oversees the prison work programs, was told Friday that the judgment has been turned over to the state controller’s office for collection.

Alpine Steel had contracts for steel fabrication with the prison industries program for different projects, but got behind on rent and other expenses. The company had been making $5,000 monthly payments to resolve the debt since February, but defaulted on its payment due July 15.

The company owes the prison industries program about $145,000 for reimbursement to correctional officers and $115,000 in rent, among other outstanding charges.

Department of Corrections Director Greg Cox said the company’s program was shut down on Dec. 23.

The company’s website says it erects about 150 commercial buildings each year and has done more than 2,000 projects in the Las Vegas area.

The uncollected debt isn’t the first for the prison industries program. A company that did card sorting of used casino card decks for resale, TJ Wholesale, filed for bankruptcy a few years ago owing the program $644,000.

The Alpine Steel prison industries program has also come in for criticism by a competitor for unfair competition.

Attorney Richard Bryan, a former Nevada governor and U.S. senator, told the Board of State Prison Commissioners in March that his client, XL Steel, lost a contract to Alpine, which was using inmate workers at High Desert State Prison and paying minimum wage.