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USGNN Original StoryRepublic Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy; Echo Windows Details Emerge

Republic Windows & Doors filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief on Friday, December 12, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. In a statement released by Republic, the company says the bankruptcy filing for liquidation was required by its lender, Bank of America, in the negotiated settlement with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

"What happened to Republic is a microcosm of what is happening to many large and small businesses," says Republic chief executive officer Rich Gillman. "In our case, declining home sales, the credit debacle, [and] the lack of cooperation from Bank of America led to the measures taken today."

According to court documents, the company has between $1 and $10 million in assets and between $10 and $50 million in liabilities. Specifics were not provided in the initial filing.

Among the industry creditors on the list are the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Amesbury Group, Aqua Surtech OEM, Ashland Products Co., Associated Laboratories, Bostik Findley Inc., C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., Caldwell Manufacturing Co., Cardinal CG and Cardinal FG, Century Hardware, Custom Window Extrusions Inc., DAPA Products, Deco Products Co., Edgetech IG, Erdman Automation Corp., Fasco Hardware, Glaston America, Grafco, Guardian Industries Corp., Intermac Inc., Jordan, Knauff & Co., Joseph Machine Co., LCS Precision Molding, Oldcastle Glass, Pistorius Machine Co., Preferred Engineering Products, Ramapo, Ritescreen Co., Roto Hardware Systems Inc., Southwall Technologies, Spectra Gases, Sturtz Machinery, Truth Hardware, Urban Machinery, Veka, Ventana USA, Venture Tape Corp., and Vision Industries Group. (The list, spanning 45 pages, included non-industry related groups such as the Bellagio Hotel and the Internal Revenue Service.) Amounts owed had not been disclosed at press time.

The law firm of Shaw, Gussis, Fishman, Glantz, Wolfson & Towbin LLC has been retained as general bankruptcy counsel.

A meeting of the creditors is scheduled for January 26 in Chicago.

Inside Echo

Meanwhile, more details have emerged about Echo Windows, a company which Gillman incorporated on November 18-two weeks before the Republic closing. TRACO had announced on December 4-one day after Republic had announced it was closing-that it had sold its residential windows business in Red Oak, Iowa, to then-unknown Echo Windows.

One dealer, a previous Republic customer, told™, "It [Republic's closing] hasn't impacted our business as we are still doing business with them [Republic]." The dealer, who wished to remain anonymous, then confirmed that they had switched their window business from Republic to Echo.

When called the Red Oak facility an unidentified representative said, "We have no comment at this time."

Local papers have reported that business is definitely up at the Iowa plant, though, where a second shift has been re-instated and plant officials are even considering new hires.

(CLICK HERE for that article).

Inside Republic

Back in Chicago, some Republic workers are still holding out hope that the company will come under new ownership. UE director of organization Bob Kingsley announced during a National Union press conference following the settlement that the group has formed a foundation called "The Window of Opportunity Fund," which will be dedicated to re-opening the plant. It will be started with funds from the UE national union and the donations to the local UE that resulted from the workers' occupation of the Republic plant.

In other news, it was reported in the Chicago Sun Times that Gillman and a Republic adviser said that prior to the Echo purchase, Republic had investors lined up to pay cash for the assets of Orrville, Ohio-based American Weather Seal (AWS). AWS reportedly had $15 million in annual sales, which, combined with Republic, would have boosted the latter company's sales to roughly $55 million and would have allowed it to turn a roughly $3.5 million profit, said Gillman and his adviser, according to the article. But Bank of America, which also was a lender to AWS, decided instead to liquidate the company, according to the article. (CLICK HERE)

CLICK HERE for full bankruptcy filing.

CLICK HERE for information about January 26 creditor meeting.

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