Four former vendors of the now-defunct E and E Display Group have filed a petition to force the former Lawrence manufacturer into bankruptcy.
The four companies are owed a total of $343,691.86. They filed a petition Thursday seeking to force E and E into involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The petition was filed at the bankruptcy court in Kansas City, Kan.
Ed White, E and E's former director of new business development and a member of the company's ownership group, said he and the other owners would urge the court to reject the request.
"It was a surprise to us," White said. "We felt like we had been working closely with all our vendors."
White said the company's attorney had told him that it was likely the request to force the company into bankruptcy would be rejected. He said he did not know of a timeline for the court to rule on the request.
Attempts to reach an attorney for the four creditors were unsuccessful. The four former vendors of the company and the amount they are owed are:
- OIX Inc., Kansas City, Mo., $15,015.36.
- Euroboard Enterprises Inc., Monroe, La., $21,115.37.
- Inland Paperboard and Packaging Inc., Chicago, $74,731.69.
- Kol-Gol Inc., Waukon, Iowa, $232,829.44.
E and E, which made displays and store fixtures for the retail industry, ceased operations on July 1. Company officials closed its lone location at 910 E. 29th St. and eliminated all 105 jobs. Company officials said they had been battling slumping sales and a sour economy for its products since the 9-11 terrorist attacks, which caused retailers to slow their plans for opening stores.
White said the company was continuing to dispose of its assets to pay creditors. The company on Thursday conducted an auction of its equipment. White declined to disclose how much the auction netted for the company, but said it met expectations.
Efforts also are continuing to either sell or lease the company's 320,000-square-foot manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters.
Marilyn Bittenbender, an agent with Lawrence's Grubb & Ellis/The Winbury Group, said the commercial real estate company had shown the building to about five potential users in the past month.
"The industrial market nationally has seen increased activity, and that has been the case in Lawrence too," Bittenbender said.
White said even if E and E were forced into bankruptcy, it was unlikely that the building would be put up for auction because it is not owned by the company, but rather a separate entity that includes members of his family.