Published: Nov 26, 2012 12:17 PM EST
Updated: Nov 26, 2012 6:47 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- VR labs is denying it's in default on $5 million from Lee County government. The Bonita Springs-based company is asking for another year to meet its first hiring deadlines, because of  a dispute with a contractor.

The response comes in a five-page letter from Edward Cheffy, the Naples attorney for VR. The letter was deliverd to Lee on Nov. 23, the deadline for responding to a notice of default. Cheffy  says VR is enthusiastic about producing health drinks in Lee County. But it is held up by legal battles with the contractor, who is supposed to be converting a building in San Carlos Park into a bottling facility.

The company is exercising a clause in its contract to extend its hiring deadline from Dec. 31 of this year, to Dec, 31 of 2013. And the letter threatens to sue Lee County for legal fees and damages, if the county proceeds with a default action. 

WINK News called VR for a comment on Monday morning, but so far has gotten no call back.

Commissioners are reading through the VR response and asking questions of Lee County attorney Michael Hunt. The county attorney says he wants to get direction from the board in early December, on whether to find VR in default, or to accept the letter and other documentation as satisfactory.

VR says it has hired 8 people, at an average annual salary of $138,000.