American Architectural Products Corp. is collaborating with federal authorities to find out who may have circulated a phony news release saying the company's subsidiary, Eagle Window & Door Inc., would start distributing its own products. Eagle, based in Dubuque, Iowa, manufactures its own aluminum-clad wood windows and doors and sells them through more than 200 distributors across the country, said Larry Powell, vice president of sales and marketing at AAPC.
The release was sent to Eagle's dealers about Oct. 1 through a shipping outlet, like a Mailboxes Etc., he said.
"Someone is getting their jollies by circulating this bogus information in the hopes that someone would pick this up," Powell said.
And someone did.
Fenestration magazine printed the information in its November/December issue, he said.
A number of discrepancies on the phony news release should have tipped off its recipients that the information was false, Powell said.
First, the name of parent company American Architectural Products Corp. was portrayed as American Architecture Products Inc. Also, the release was not in standard format for an AAPC news release or distributed through PRNewswire, and it did not contain a company logo and a list of contacts, he said.
"The grammar and structural content was obviously third grade," Powell added.
But distributors started calling and demanding answers.
"Everyone was caught totally off guard," Powell said. The company sent out letters to all its distributors explaining there would be "no changes in our distribution policy."
AAPC is working to determine who distributed the phony information.
"Whoever did this went to the Eagle [Web site] and picked up the names of their dealers and faxed them this bogus press release," Powell said. "We don't know who it would be. We can't even think of a disgruntled customer or worker who did this."
In related news, the vinyl, wood and aluminum window and door manufacturer has a busy couple of months ahead.
The company is in the process of moving its headquarters from Boardman, Ohio, to the Miami area to be closer to its customers and expand its operations in the Southeastern United States.
The firm recently announced it would divest all noncore assets, meaning anything that does not tie in with the window and door businesses, Powell said.
AAPC also said it will concentrate on building its presence in the South and Southeast through acquisitions and internal growth.