MARION, IND. (Updated July 27, 3:30 p.m. ET) — The former TriEnda LLC plant in
Meanwhile, manufacturing of TriEnda-brand pallets and components is ongoing at its former plant in
The lawsuit, filed June 13 by Lee's Marion T LLC holding company in Grant County Superior Court, alleges that Portage-based TriEnda failed to make required payments for March and April on the 184,000 square feet of manufacturing space it leased in the Marion T industrial complex.
The 4½-year lease, dated Dec. 1, 2008, requires a $38,000 monthly payment plus 21.7 percent of real estate taxes, special assessments and miscellaneous fees.
After the custom thermoformer missed payments, Marion T on April 12 notified TriEnda that it would terminate the lease and take possession of the property in 10 days in a letter sent by John Gray, a North Vernon, Ind.-based attorney for Lee.
“I don't know their business; I just know they didn't pay us,” said Lee, whose holdings include the
He referred additional questions to Joseph Certain, the Marion-based attorney who is representing Marion T in the lawsuit.
After TriEnda failed to respond to the warning about its back rent, Marion T took over the plant, idling an unknown number of employees, Certain said in a July 27 telephone interview.
Under a provision of the original lease, TriEnda granted Marion T a security interest in the contents of the plant, but that was modified in December 2009 to give Fifth Third Bank collateral.
Certain said the lawsuit includes Cincinnati-based Fifth Third in order to get it to disclose whatever interest it has in equipment, supplies, office furniture and business machines inside the plant.
Fifth Third spokeswoman Debra DeCourcy would not comment on the pending litigation, saying it was against bank policy to do so.
Marion T seeks control of the property and cancellation of its lease with TriEnda, and wants the $2.1 million it says it would be owed for rent, maintenance fees and utilities under the remaining 27 months of the lease. It also seeks to repossess the factory contents as security against the amount owed.
“If Marion T is paid, then I doubt that it would press a claim on the machinery,” Certain said.
TriEnda spent $20 million in 2008 to retrofit the
Complicating the already murky situation is the sudden sale of TriEnda's assets to Lexington, Ky.-based Spara, which incorporated those assets into its Spara Logistics LLC subsidiary.
After abruptly notifying employees in Wisconsin on June 23 that they would be laid off and would have to reapply for their jobs, TriEnda President Curt Zamec — who became Spara Logistics' CEO — appeared to take a back seat to Kentucky-based management as the transition proceeded.
After acquiring the TriEnda business from Fifth Third in an Article 9 foreclosure sale, Spara rehired 101 of 125 of the Wisconsin-based employees with full benefits, but a spokesman at the time deferred questions about the Indiana work force, saying Spara needed time to assess that facility.
Spara spokesman Pete Borum said July 27 that the company expects “everything will be resolved to the mutual satisfaction” of Spara Logistics and Marion T.
“As we discussed a few weeks ago, Spara Logistics LLC purchased the assets of TriEnda LLC in an effort to save the company from bankruptcy. Because we purchased the assets of TriEnda LLC and not TriEnda itself, we are not the target of any pending lawsuits, and are not able to comment on the subject,” Borum said in an email.
Certain said Marion T and Spara had been in contact over the lawsuit, but that no meetings were scheduled.
A hearing on the matter is Sept 13 before Judge Jeffrey Todd in Grant County Superior Court.
Amid the developments in
“We will continue to use the TriEnda name, as it's a valuable brand in our industry. Since we acquired the assets of TriEnda, we have started a successful new program. Another new program is expected to be in place by September,” she said.
DeMoss did not elaborate on the new products. Until capacity is required at the
Spara LLC consists of 14 companies divided into three groups: components; fabrication and assembly; and logistics. Spara supplies molded, forged and cast metal and plastic parts for the global aerospace, energy, defense and transportation industries.
Spara Logistics specializes in the design and manufacture of heavy-gauge, reusable plastic pallets and shipping containers for the material handling and packaging industries.