LandAir, a trucking company with Vermont facilities in Windsor and Williston, has filed for bankruptcy, according to court documents.
The company, whose legal name is North East Freightways and which is headquartered in North Easton, Massachusetts, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy — which means the company will be liquidated — in federal Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts July 14.
Vermont Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington had written to the company on July 7 about reports that it had abruptly shut its doors.
LandAir was founded as Allied Air Freight in 1968 by Fred Spencer, according to the company website, which says Spencer partnered with airlines and airfreight forwarders at Burlington International Airport. The family eventually sold LandAir to a private equity firm. Spencer died in January.
The company specialized in shipping loads smaller than a truckload but larger than a parcel. In the industry, such companies are known as LTLs, standing for “less than truckload.”
The company said only one of its Vermont locations — a 20-door truck terminal on Ruth Carney Drive in Windsor — was among the 11 properties that needed immediate attention out of concerns for vandalism or because of the presence of hazardous materials.
The company also owns an 18-door truck terminal in Williston.
The company said it has $1.3 million in assets and $44.4 million in debt, including $33.8 million it owes to the Los Angeles private equity firm that owns LandAir, Corbel Capital Partners.
Harrington, the labor commissioner, said his department contacted the company “so that we could get the names and contact information for employees so that we can make sure we provide services.” Harrington said the department also wants to make sure employees get all the pay and benefits they are due.
“It obviously takes a different turn because they filed in bankruptcy court,” Harrington said. “And so that does cause us to look at other ways that we can work with the company to make sure the employees get what they are entitled to.”
Harrington said his department has now obtained a list of Vermont employees from attorneys for LandAir and has begun reaching out to the employees to provide unemployment compensation and reemployment services. He said his office has been in touch with the attorney general’s office in case the state wants to file a claim on behalf of employees, as it did when Koffee Kup Bakery folded last year.
In the Koffee Kup case, a federal bankruptcy judge ordered the company to deliver more than $800,000 in back pay to its employees.
Harrington said fewer than 50 Vermont employees are affected by LandAir’s bankruptcy.
Most of the thresholds triggering a requirement for employers to notify state and local officials and employees of layoffs under the federal WARN act and Vermont’s Notice of Potential Layoff Act are when 50 or more employees are affected, Harrington said. But he added that, if a small company closes a facility completely, it may still have to comply with the warnings required by federal and state law.
As of Monday, LandAir had not filed a WARN act notice of impending layoffs in Vermont.
Attorney Justin Kesselman, who is representing LandAir in its bankruptcy filing, did not respond to an email requesting an interview.
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