Alliance’s Robinson dodges a legal bullet

 - October 4, 2007, 9:19 AM

Alliance Aircraft has reached an agreement to settle an outstanding debt with its largest creditor–Rocket Science Computer Services–after a Superior Court Judge in Brentwood, N.H., ordered Alliance president and CEO Earl Robinson arrested on contempt charges last month. As part of the deal, Alliance paid Rocket Science a portion of the $335,000 it owes for computer services performed at Alliance’s former headquarters in Portsmouth, N.H., and has established a new payment schedule that calls for installments every two weeks.

Rockingham County Superior Court judge Kenneth McHugh on October 10 approved the letter of agreement signed between Alliance and Rocket Science, but held in abeyance his order to arrest Robinson should he fail to comply with the new terms of the payment schedule. On October 9 McHugh heard arguments from lawyers representing both parties, and rejected Alliance’s request to begin paying Rocket Science $10,000 per month. In August the court ordered Alliance to pay installments of $10,000 per week. Until last month, Alliance had failed to pay any installments.

Lawyers for the plaintiff informed the court that the Strafford County Superior Court in August issued a capias for the arrest of Robinson based on a corporate debt of some $40,000 to MacIntosh Personnel Services. Alliance has since paid its debt to MacIntosh in full.

“This is one of the most outrageous pieces of litigation that this court has ever been involved in,” wrote McHugh in a court document. “Virtually all of the representations made over the course of more than one year by the defendants have been unfulfilled.”

On October 19 Robinson was on his way to Alliance’s new headquarters in Martinsburg, W. Va., from meetings in China with Harbin Aircraft and Chinese government officials, during which the Alliance CEO had hoped to close a $1.1 billion co-production contract he announced during June’s Paris Air Show. At press time the Chinese government had yet to approve the deal, which would give the AVIC II subsidiary production rights for the 35-seat SL-100-35 regional jet and responsibility for building Chinese variants of the 44- and 50-seat versions of the airplane.