The reason Colsa—one of Alabama’s largest privately owned defense contractors—was excused from paying nearly $1 million in taxes was, basically, a technicality. In its notification to Colsa of the amount owed on a 2009 consumer’s use tax, the city’s finance director used a facsimile signature stamp instead of his real signature. As such, the Supreme Court ruled the city failed to comply with the Alabama Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights.
The high court’s ruling upheld a Madison County Circuit Court judgment.
Colsa Corp. is a Huntsville bootstrap success legend. “Big” Frank Collazo, a native of Puerto Rico, after 30 years with the U.S. Army, started the company in his basement in 1980—just in time to capitalize on the Star Wars missile program. By 1988, Colsa ranked the third highest recipient of Star Wars contracts issued by the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command, and hasn’t looked back since—except to check its tax accounting.
By Chris McFadyen