Wood-Metal files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy | News

SELINSGROVE – Wood-Metal filed for bankruptcy on Friday in an attempt to save the company and negotiations with lenders are underway on behalf of William Penn Cabinetry and Stanley Woodworking, a lawyer said on Friday.

“William Penn is closed and likely won’t reopen. We hope Stanley Woodworking and Wood-Metal survive,” said Robert Chernicoff, a Harrisburg lawyer specializing in Chapter 11 cases held by business owners Maurice and Deb Brubaker. .

Chapter 11 allows businesses to restructure creditors’ payment plans while remaining in business.

Chernicoff said negotiations to determine options for the other two companies – including bankruptcy or liquidation of assets – are continuing.

More than 100 employees have been affected by the financial difficulties of the three companies owned by the Brubakers, married tax professionals who live in Selinsgrove. The couple declined to comment on Friday.

They launched William Penn Cabinetry, a start-up maker of high-end cabinetry in Freeburg in February 2020, and bought Stanley Woodworking, a 40-year-old Middleburg company, a month later, just as the pandemic global health strike.

In early 2021, the couple secured a three-year, $ 500,000 loan under the CARES Act and over $ 370,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (P3) loans. Chernicoff, a former deputy attorney general for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and deputy chief attorney for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, said the loans should not preclude filing for bankruptcy.

In October, production of William Penn ceased. Work has slowed down considerably at Stanley and only a handful of the 25 employees still work there.

Employees and others said the problems started this summer when the Brubakers started writing bad checks and failed to notify employees for months that they had forfeited their benefits while continuing to deduct the badges. contributions from their paychecks.

Stanley Woodworking employee Wendi Clark filed a civil lawsuit with District Judge John Reed’s office in Selinsgrove against the Brubakers on Friday to recover $ 779.40 she said she deducted for retirement benefits and disability that had been abandoned.

“They owe me this money and keep saying they will pay it. I’m done with them, ”said Clark who, like many Brubakers employees, had insurance, pension and disability contributions deducted for several months without notifying them that the benefits had been cut. “If they go bankrupt, we don’t get anything.

Despite the default in June by former Stanley Woodworking owner R. Thomas Fitzgerald, the Brubakers bought Wood-Metal from Selinsgrove in August. The company was owned for years by the late Robert Gronlund, who was the head of the former Wood-Mode Inc. in Kreamer when the company abruptly closed after 77 years and put nearly 1,000 people out of work in May. 2019.

Fitzgerald told the Daily Item last month that the Brubakers owed him $ 1.7 million for Stanley Woodworking and he doesn’t expect the company to survive the loss of “key” customers.

Meanwhile, the Brubakers are under close scrutiny by the state attorney general’s office, which this week confirmed it had received insurance fraud complaints.

They were also kicked out of two of their three Snyder County business sites.

Last month, Dennis Van, owner of the Freeburg plant where William Penn operated, secured a district court judgment against the Brubakers, ordering them to pay $ 12,000 and vacate ownership of 401 E. Front St. Van said the couple owed $ 78,000 and had not paid rent since October.

Bill French, a Middleburg businessman who owns the property at 100 E. Sherman St. in Selinsgrove, where Wood-Metal is located, secured a similar eviction judgment in Snyder County court last month. against the Brubakers. French said he owed more than $ 40,000 in rent.

Deb Brubaker is scheduled to appear before a Middleburg district judge on Wednesday on charges of passing a bad check. She is accused of paying Moyer’s Gas a $ 700 propane bill with a worthless check in October.

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