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The Pharma Chemie plant in Syracuse has been sold to Pet Tech Laboratories.

Paul Jonjak, the president of the newly formed Nebraska company, said he and his family acquired the Syracuse plant and its business, which were owned by Mark Pieloch. They closed the sale Dec. 27 and began operations Jan. 7.

"We will be doing private-label pet nutritional supplements," said Jonjak, who declined to name the purchase price.

The 18 employees who worked at the plant at the time of the sale will be retained, he said. At one time, Pharma Chemie employed 40 people.

"We plan to continue the existing business and grow it as best as we are able," said Jonjak, who lives in Colorado. He said he plans to spend a lot of time in Nebraska but has not decided whether he will move here.

Jonjak noted that his new company did not buy Pharma Chemie in its entirety. He said Pieloch operated a number of product lines and continues to do so under the Pharma Chemie name.

Carolyn Gigstad, executive director of the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, said the community is glad to see the company stay. 

In 2011, Pieloch announced plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Brevard County in Florida.

At the time, Pieloch said, Florida was a more favorable tax business state and offered more room for expansion than the 32,000-square-foot site in Syracuse. 

Pieloch had planned to invest $3 million in a new building in Florida and $1 million in new equipment and other improvements.

However, according to an official with the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, Pieloch decided to occupy an existing vacant building instead.

Jonjak said Pieloch ran other businesses out of the Syracuse plant, and they were moved to Florida.

While planning the move, Pieloch fought off allegations, made by the state of Nebraska, that he failed to pay $2,900 in sales tax on a 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche he bought in Nebraska.

Pieloch said he paid the sales tax in South Dakota, but Nebraska officials said he should have paid the tax here, where, prosecutors allege, he had his primary residence.

In October, Pieloch pleaded not guilty to a felony tax evasion charge. The case is pending, but no trial date has been set, Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly said.

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Reach Algis J. Laukaitis at 402-473-7243 or alaukaitis@journalstar.com.

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