A New Ringgold contractor claims the Panther Valley School District is illegally holding a forklift he owns and when he asked for its return was denied.

Christopher Verta, 12 Midland Court, New Ringgold, now wants a Schuylkill County judge to rule in his favor to have the machine either returned or receive payment for its value. He filed a civil action in the Schuylkill County Court against the district.

The facts in the case, as listed by Verta, are:

On June 19, 2010, David A Kutz, Automotive and Million Dollar Towing Company, transported a forklift owned by Christopher Verta to Bermard Verta, his brother, at 401 West Bertsch Street, Lansford. The Panther Valley School District obtained ownership of the property by purchasing it on June 21, 2010 from the Carbon County Tax Claim Bureau.

The suit claims that the school district locked Bernard Verta out of the property on Oct. 4, 2010 and refused to return the forklift to Christopher Verta who claims in his suit that the school district has no right, title or equitable claim to the ownership of the forklift and that he had to expend about $5,000 to secure a replacement forklift.

He is asking the court to find in his favor and order the school district to either return the forklift or pay him the value of it.