In an update on the article BTU published regarding the sudden closure of Vermont’s LandAir Express of New England, we have learned that overseers have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy paperwork. Dan D’Ambrosio, writer for the Burlington Free Press, a local digital news site, broke the news early July 28. This means it will not be reorganized, but liquidated.
Employees were told the company was thriving
Events leading to the sudden closure of Landair Express of New England, the Williston, Vermont based less-than-truckload carrier (not to be confused with Land Air Transport of Greenville, Tennessee) are still unclear. Drivers and employees are scratching their heads after they were told in the company’s last Zoom call that “the company was thriving.”
According to court documents filed in federal bankruptcy court in Massachusetts, where LandAir had its business registered, the company has listed about $3 million in assets, and about $43 million in debts.
Only two creditors have secured claims so far. Banc of California lists $5 million owed and Corbel Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based private investment firm that owned the trucking company, marked nearly $34 million owed.
Landair has hundreds of unsecured creditors across the U.S., many of which are in Vermont. The sons of company founder Fred Spencer, Thomas and William Spencer, are owed $137,500 each as the result of a lawsuit.
Cleaning up the mess left behind from the sudden closure
The LandAir facilities in Vermont, along with eight other sites in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York are listed as “Property That Needs Immediate Attention,” because of “hazardous materials” left at the site. John Venezia, who managed both of LandAir’s Vermont facilities, told reporters the hazardous materials consisted of old computer parts that needed to be recycled, and “a ton of leftover paint to paint the buildings.”
“I just don’t understand because we were not hurting for business or customers. There were times we just couldn’t keep up, so I know it wasn’t for lack of business. So I was shocked to see this. Just a messy and confusing situation.”Jessie Andrasi, LandAir Express Driver, in a statement to the Burlington Free Press
Still no “WARNing” of the closure three weeks later
The Labor Commissioner demanded a response to be given within 10 days after the letter was sent. No response has been made public, another 10 days after the deadline.
Harrington said in the letter that LandAir may be violating Vermont and federal laws that require such notices. Vermont law requires that a company notify the Labor Commissioner 45 days before it closes a facility or worksite that results in the layoffs of more than 50 people.
Harrington reported 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 Vermont Attorney General’s office in case the state wants to file a claim on behalf of employees. No word is available regarding whether other states’ labor departments are doing similar work.
BTU and FreightWaves are following this story closely as it continues to develop. Our thoughts are with the drivers and employees involved in this matter.