The state of Mississippi says it is nearing a deal with a Georgia construction company that oversaw the construction pf a beef plant that was open for just three months before closing in 2004. Jan Schaefer, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jim Hood, said the state and Georgia's Facility Group, which was hired to oversee construction of the plant, have reached agreement although a settlement has yet to be submitted to Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd, according to AP reports.

"We have agreed on all material terms but the formal written agreement is still being finalized," Schaefer wrote in an email. "We will release more details when that is complete."

The lawsuit alleges that Facility Construction Management Inc., a subsidiary of the Smyrna, Ga., Facility Group, keep the project going even after executives knew that the project was doomed in order to get more money from the state. Three executives of the Facility Group eventually were sentenced to prison in the resulting court case.

Mississippi Beef Processors LLC laid off about 400 people when it ceased operations. State, federal and local subsidies for the plant totaled more than $71 million. The facility was acquired by Windsor Quality Foods in 2007 and now employs 300 people.

Source: AP, BusinessWeek