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Merwin Hulbert


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Well, this just got a whole lot more interesting.





A-Square's Alphin faces felony charge


February 17, 2011






A-Square of Wyoming President and Founder Art Alphin was seen for an initial appearance on a felony charge of obtaining property by false pretenses in Converse County Circuit Court Tuesday morning with his attorney, Ian Sandefer of Casper, at his side.


Alphin was served court summons in January but was never arrested. No bond was set during the Feb. 15 hearing, meaning Alphin will remain out on an OR (own recognizance) bond.


He declined immediate comment to the Independent.


Alphin is being accused of falsifying a Department of Workforce Services document and receiving $1,500 in grant funding to train an employee that no longer worked at the rifle manufacturing company, according to a document filed Feb. 7 in circuit court.


The application was allegedly filled out Dec. 17, 2007, while the employee hadn’t worked at the company since September 2007, according to an affidavit filed by Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Kenneth Glassen.


Alphin had been awarded $2,000 in grant funds for the employee, but only received $1,500 so far, Glassen wrote. Glassen began investigating Alphin Nov. 6, 2010, after being contacted by the Glenrock Police Department.


Alphin has been charged with obtaining property by false pretenses, a felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.


Alphin first brought A-Square to Glenrock after he, along with then-Vice President Jay Lesser and then-Mayor Steve Cielinski, signed contracts March 17, 2007, to enable the company to relocate its Kentucky- based rifle plant to the site of the old Glenrock paint factory.


The building was leased at no cost until operations were to begin as a built-in incentive to help bring the company to town.


After a “miscommunication in paperwork requirements because of the unique nature of the business,” according to Alphin, financial history paperwork was submitted after a delay to the Wyoming Business Council as part of an application process for a $1.5 million grant.


By June 19, 2008, the $1.5 million grant was awarded to the town of Glenrock by the WBC. The funds were to go toward the construction of a new building near the old paint plant.


At the time, Cielinski told the Independent the town’s matching contribution of $375,000 would be paid for by the demolition of the old building. He called the value of the land and the value of the current building, calling it, “really a $1.5 million grant with zero dollars out of the pocket.”


The building currently holding A-Square cost approximately $1,119,727, the amount of the winning bid by McMurry Construction of Casper in February 2009. While the new building had yet to be completely ready for operations, Alphin presented the Glenrock Town Council with its first rent check for $1,500 Dec. 28, 2009.


The facility was completed in January, and seven months later, the council unanimously approved a lease agreement with the high-powered rifle manufacturer during its July 26, 2010, meeting.


The five-year lease, signed by Alphin, CEO Mike Blank and then-General Manager Jay Lesser, went into effect June 1 and required A-Square to pay $3,750 a month in rent, which adds up to $45,000 per year. Over the course of the five years, ASquare is expected to pay the town $225,000 in rent.


Finally, on Dec. 23, Alphin invited WBC and town representatives to A-Square to celebrate the company’s first rifle manufactured completely in Glenrock and to meet the four full-time workers who were hired on in October.

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