Posts Tagged Patriarch Partners

Former owner of American LaFrance charged with fraud by SEC

Having nothing specifically to do with the American LaFrance Company …

Excerpts from

… bad news for Lynn Tilton, the founder and CEO of the private equity firm Patriarch Partners: The Securities and Exchange Commission is suing her, claiming — in a nutshell — that she defrauded investors and charged clients $200 million in fees that she didn’t deserve.

Tilton has since launched a countersuit, claiming the SEC violated her constitutional rights by bringing her case in the SEC’s court rather than in federal court, Fortune reported.

She’s not alone in making that complaint. Others have lodged similar concerns about the SEC’s court system, which is staffed by SEC-employed judges who hand down verdicts that almost always seem to side in favor of the SEC, according to Fortune. But Tilton, who deals in the complicated world of collateralized loan obligations, didn’t engender much sympathy when she embarked on a media tour late last week.

Excerpts from

Star Investment Manager, Advisers Charged With Fraud by SEC

The SEC issued an Order which charged investment manager Lynn Tilton, known as the Diva of Distressed Debt according to news reports, and her entities with fraud. Specifically, the Order Instituting Proceedings issued by the SEC, claims that Ms. Tilton overvalued certain funds in a manner which was contrary to the authorizing documents and unknown to investors. This resulted in the payment of unnecessary management fees by investors and compromised their rights. In the Matter of Lynn Tilton, Adm. Proc. File No. 3-16462 (March 30, 2015).

Ms. Tilton has managed what are called the Patriarch entities for years. Those entities, named as Respondents, are: Patriarch Partners, LLC (Patriarch), Patriarch Partners VIII, LLC, Patriarch Partners XIV, LLC and Patriarch Partners XV, LLC. Each is indirectly owned by either Ms. Tilton or the manager and a trust for the benefit of her daughter. Ms. Tilton, the CEO of Patriarch, and their employees, run the business of the three other Patriarch Partners entities, each of which is a registered investment adviser and a collateral manager for the Zohar Funds.

The Zohar Funds are CLOs, a securitization vehicle in which a special purpose entity raises capital by issuing secured notes. Proceeds from the note sales are used to acquire a portfolio of commercial loans. The cash flow and other proceeds from the collateral are used to repay the investor note holders of the fund.

The collateral management agreement for each fund permitted the manager to select and manage the collateral held by the fund. The Zohar Funds invested in private, mid-sized distressed companies. The goal was to improve the operations of the distressed portfolio companies to pay off the debt and eventually make a profit. Two tiers of fees are paid. One, the Senior Collateral Management Fee, ties to assets. The other, the Subordinated Fee, is linked to valuation.

The indenture for each Zohar CLO contained certain numeric tests that must be met each month. Once ratio is the so-called Overcollateralization Ratio. It measures the cushion between the value of the collateral and the principal amount of the investor notes. If the specified ratios fall below certain levels, the investors control over the fund can increase and result in the early repayment of the principal. The indenture also requires the collateral manager to categorize each asset every month. The classification is included in a report of the trustee. Specific categories are included in the indentures.

Rather than following the dictates of the indenture, Ms. Tilton used her discretion to determine how an asset should be categorized. The valuation category of an asset was not lowered unless she approved. As a result few assets of the Zohar Funds were downgraded to the lower valuation categories.

If Ms. Tilton had used the methodology for categorization in the indentures the number of assets in the default investment category would have “looked very different,” according to the Order. Certain portfolio companies failed to pay as much as 90% of the interest owed to the Zohar Funds but were not downgraded. The failure to properly classify these assets resulted in the overpayment of almost $200 million in Subordinated Fees to Respondents.

Ms. Tilton’s discretionary approach was not disclosed to investors. Failing to disclose that approach created a significant conflict of interest. The assets also were not valued in accord with GAAP as represented in the financial statements.

The Order alleges willful violations of Advisers Act Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 206(4). The proceeding will be set for hearing.

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American LaFrance … sad news (follow up)

An article in has a follow article to the sudden closing of American LaFrance Fire Apparatus in South Carolina:

A former employee who said he locked the gate to American LaFrance earlier this year stood inside the Patillo building once again Wednesday — this time, not as an employee, but as one of hundreds interested in the county’s sales of the dissolved company’s business personal assets.

American LaFrance closed in January, ending employment for hundreds and leaving behind a $650,000 debt to taxpayers in an economic development deal.

On Wednesday, the county sought to recoup that money in a public auction of the debts at the company’s final resting place on Cypress Gardens Road.

According to the county supervisor, Dan Davis, this is likely the only time a county has had to sell off a company’s business personal property in an economic deal killed by the company essentially disappearing.

Prior to the 9 a.m. start Wednesday, more than 90 had pre-registered online, and more than 70 had pre-registered for in-person bidding the day before.

Scout Boats President Steve Potts drove over from his Summerville plant to get a deal. His No. 1 item of interest? Bridge cranes.

Robert Holseberg of Rewined Candles in Charleston was also looking for extra equipment to aid in his company’s expansion. He was particularly interested in the forklifts, tables and cabinets.

The company’s inventory, which includes firetrucks in various stages of completion, was not in Wednesday’s sale. The county says the owners of the Patillo building have claim to it due to American LaFrance defaulting on its lease. A representative of the Patillo building said they are still trying to reach someone within the company to settle the issue.

thanks Dan

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American LaFrance … sad news (more)

The our in South Carolina wrote this interesting followup article on the closing of American LaFrance.

[A] building stands in a graveyard of machinery, empty except for the occasional groundskeeper drop-by. Inside, the building hums with electricity, but the domed lights overhead barely dent the darkness. Overturned chairs, pushed together desks, and walls lined with unfinished work serve as a reminder: no one works here anymore.

The 300,000 square-foot Patillo building on Cypress Gardens Road now houses all that is left of 100-plus-year-old firetruck maker American LaFrance, which closed in January.

“It’s just a nightmare,” County Supervisor Dan Davis told the Independent during an exclusive tour of the warehouse. Davis wasn’t talking about the loss of 200 jobs — which devastated the community in its own right. Davis was talking about the fallout of the company’s closure and its large, outstanding debt to the county.

When American LaFrance shut down, it owed $650,000 to the county. In the years following its 2008 bankruptcy, company officials worked with the county, unable to pay toward its fee-in-lieu of tax deal offered for economic development. The unpaid fee was on its business personal property.

Though the company was struggling prior, the Great Recession played a part in the death of American LaFrance. Shrinking emergency services’ budgets were likely a direct blow to the company. Davis said, just last year, officials from Rio de Janeiro visited the facility as they prepared to contract a firetruck manufacturer for more than 100 vehicles in preparation for the 2016 Olympics. American LaFrance didn’t get the contract. If it had, Davis said, it might have been able to weather the Great Recession.

Since January, Berkeley County has embarked into uncharted territory: reclaiming the debt. It’s a first for a county in South Carolina, so there is no precedent. The amount owed to Berkeley County doesn’t stop with $650,000. The county has had to foot the $2,800 monthly lease for the space and more for its humming electricity. More public money has been spent on working with a number of attorneys to determine how to legally proceed. Most weeks, the county expends about 40 man-hours dedicated to American LaFrance and the fallout. It took 12 county employees a week to consolidate the company’s property to one facility. When the company closed, it was operating out of two locations.

Berkeley County will auction off the business personal property later this year, likely in June. Already, the county contracted a private company to inventory what’s inside the warehouse. The public funds used in the meantime will be added to American LaFrance’s debt — covered by money raised in the auction.

Berkeley County only has claim to the business personal property — desks, chairs, pictures, everything essential to making a business run. After an auction to reclaim the debt owed, the company’s inventory — the unfinished firetrucks, the engines, the transmissions, everything essential to making emergency vehicles — will likely be auctioned off by the property owner since American LaFrance has already defaulted and owes the owner money.

With the debt owed to public and private enterprises, no one seems able to raise an American LaFrance representative to pay the bills or collect the inventory.

thanks Dan

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American LaFrance … sad news (more)

There are updates about American LaFrance since they closed their doors last month.


According to a press release sent to News 2, a class action law-suit has been filed on behalf of two former employees of American LaFrance, a South Carolina-based fire truck manufacturer that closed without warning last week.

Richardson Patrick Westbrook & Brickman (RPWB) said the two former employees filed suit against the plant claiming they and others weren’t given proper notice of termination under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) before being laid off January 17, 2014.  Both employees worked for American LaFrance for approximately 10 years until their termination.

News 2 reached out to American LaFrance about the WARN violation when they closed, the have yet to respond. However, in a statement sent via e-mail American LaFrance claims, “Unfortunately, the company’s unexpected current financial condition requires the discontinuation of operations in these locations at this time and these facilities are not expected to reopen.”

Richardson Patrick attorney Jay Ward, who represents the former employees, said, “These employees have been left out in the cold.  Not only did they lose wages and benefits, they lost the time they needed to search for new employment. Our firm has extensive experience in protecting the rights of workers locally and nationally, and our goal is to make sure these employees receive all they are due.”

American LaFrance abruptly closed its facilities in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and Los Angeles, California, which resulted in the layoffs of approximately 150 employees.

From the Summerville Journal:

A week after the unexpected closing of American LaFrance’s Berkeley County location, a law firm has filed suit on behalf of laid off employees.

The company moved in August from its 450,000-square-foot Summerville factory to a 103,000-square-foot building at 164 Spring Grove Road, off Cypress Gardens Road in Moncks Corner.

Richardson Patrick Westbrook & Brickman has announced via the firm’s website that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of two former employees of American LaFrance LLC, the Moncks Corner-based fire truck manufacturer.

The two former employees filed suit against the plant claiming they and others weren’t given proper notice of termination under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) before being laid off Jan. 17, 2014. Both employees worked for American LaFrance for approximately 10 years until their termination.

Richardson Patrick attorney Jay Ward, who represents the plaintiffs, said the sudden and unexpected closing was not handled properly.

“These employees have been left out in the cold,” he said. “Not only did they lose wages and benefits, they lost the time they needed to search for new employment. Our firm has extensive experience in protecting the rights of workers locally and nationally, and our goal is to make sure these employees receive all they are due.”

American LaFrance abruptly closed its facilities in Moncks Corner, Ephrata, Pa., and Los Angeles, which resulted in the layoffs of approximately 150 employees.

In a written statement to employees obtained by, the 173-year-old manufacturer of fire, rescue and other emergency vehicles, announced it was closing its warehouse, production and service facilities in Moncks Corner; Ephrata, Pa.; and Los Angeles.

“Unfortunately, the company’s unexpected current financial condition requires the discontinuation of operations in these locations at this time and these facilities are not expected to reopen,” the statement read.

American LaFrance moved its headquarters and main assembly plant from North Charleston to Summerville in mid-2007.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2008 after having lost $104 million over the previous two years.


In two months, the Hickory Fire Department was supposed to get a brand new $700,000 ladder truck. But that won’t happen after the company building it shut down. The new ladder truck was supposed to replace a truck that is almost 15 years old at Fire Station Three.

The city went with American LaFrance, a company they had used before and has made thousands of trucks for more than 100 years.

The gates at the American LaFrance plant in South Carolina are padlocked and the 150 employees laid off Friday evening. Staff with the city of Hickory said they visited the plant just last month to look at the progress of the ladder truck they ordered.

Mayor Rudy Wright was stunned when Channel 9 told him the company that started production in the 1800s is ceasing operations. “That is a tremendous tragedy for one of the great brand names in American history,” he said. “I feel for the employees. I can ensure you who were working hard to the last day to try to do the right thing.”

Channel 9 learned that American LaFrance built Hickory’s very first fire truck back in 1914 when the department had only one full-time employee.

“Thousands of trucks across the country. It is one of the most quality companies in America,” collector Lee Huffman said.

When Channel 9 called the company Monday, no one answered.  In a press release, American LaFrance said it was closing the facilities because of unexpected financial struggles.

The city said they paid much of the money for the $700,000 truck upfront because the company offered a discount. They are not sure if and when they’ll get the truck which was scheduled to arrive in early spring but did said they got a performance bond as insurance so they should be able to get their money back.

Huffman and his family own several old American LaFrance trucks. He hopes the company delivers.  “It puts the city of Hickory in a bad position as far as getting a new truck,” he said. City leaders said they will meet Tuesday morning to discuss their options. The mayor said the city is protected and will get a new truck.

From Lancaster OnLine:

Firetruck and rescue vehicle manufacturer American LaFrance has closed its warehouse, production and service facility in West Earl Township and two other plants.

American LaFrance released a statement confirming the closure of the plant on Cocalico Creek Road, as well as sites in Moncks Corner, S.C., and Los Angeles, idling at least 150 workers. It blamed the move on its “unexpected current financial condition,” while offering no details.

“The company is advising its customers that they will be able to continue obtaining replacement parts and service for vehicles manufactured by American LaFrance from a new third party vendor,” the company statement reads. “American LaFrance will contact customers with information about where they can obtain parts and service for their vehicles in the near future.”

In 2009, according to newspaper records, the business announced plans to close but reversed the decision. The West Earl Township plant kept operating and a service center was added, although the workforce was cut to about 50 employees.

With a 173-year history of fire vehicle manufacturing that includes hand-drawn, horse-drawn and steam-powered fire engines, American LaFrance established a presence in Lancaster County by purchasing Ladder Towers Inc. about 15 years ago. The local plant made firetrucks with aerial ladders reaching as high as 110 feet.

The parent firm, based in South Carolina, eventually fell on hard times, filing for bankruptcy reorganization in 2008. Instead of making 100 trucks a year at the West Earl Township facility, volume dropped to 50, a plant official said at the time.

thanks Dan

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American LaFrance … sad news

Sad news in the fire apparatus industry out of South Carolina – this is from

American LaFrance logo has confirmed that American LaFrance LLC (Fire Apparatus Builders)  based in Moncks Corner, Pimlico and Ephrata Pa have CLOSED their DOORS today @ 5pm. Telling employees they are closed and not to return next week, we have reached out to Patriarch Partners the Parent Company of ALF for comment, we will bring more news as soon as we can confirm more details. Estimates are over 150 people are out of a job today due to these actions.

American LaFrance fire engine


thanks Dennis & Shawn 


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