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Accounting firm responds to Shentel counterclaim

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

A Texas accounting firm suing Shentel Telecommunications Company fired back at the defendant's counterclaim.

Cablecom Tax Service Inc. filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg against Shentel and its subsidiaries July 13, claiming the communications company breached a contract under which the accounting firm received a percentage of the tax savings achieved through its services.

Cablecom, which does business as Property Tax Accounting, claimed Shentel has not paid them the money owed. Cablecom also claims Shentel used its tax services, which the firm considers trade secrets, without permission.

Shentel argued in court documents the judge should dismiss Cablecom's complaint for lack of grounds. Tax preparation does not constitute a proprietary corporate secret, according to Shentel's response. The defendants also call into question the legitimacy of Cablecom and Property Tax Accounting as incorporated companies.

Cablecom on Wednesday denied many of the claims as stated in Shentel's counterclaim and request to dismiss the complaint with prejudice. Cablecom admits that John A. White worked as a certified public accountant in Texas and that Cablecom does business under the assumed name "Property Tax Accounting," but states that White and the service are not parties to the litigation and thus Shentel's allegations pertaining to them are not relevant, according to the document.

Cablecom admits it is neither registered nor licensed in Texas as a property tax consultant but denies it is required to be registered or licensed as Shentel claims.

Cablecom admits the defendants negotiated the terms of a contract with the plaintiff but denies Shentel did not know that Property Tax Accounting was the assumed name of Cablecom at the time the contracts were executed, according to the document.

"[Shentel] never complained of the credentials of Cablecom until after the services had been performed by Cablecom, the benefits received by defendants and payments for services had been demanded," the answer states. "Cablecom has insufficient information to admit or deny the defendants' state of mind when they signed the contracts ..."

Dallas, Texas attorney Timothy W. Sorenson and Matthew A. Brennan III, of Oakton, Va., represent Cablecom.

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