Clearwater Fla.-based Avantair’s assets will be sold off and the company liquidated after it failed to meet a deadline last week to contest an involuntary Chapter 7 filing in the Florida Middle District U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tampa. Judge Catherine McEwen signed an order on Friday converting the case to full Chapter 7 status and gave former fractional provider Avantair until this Friday to provide the court with a list of creditors, co-debtors and unexpired leases. The court has also given Avantair’s creditors until December 18 to file a claim.
Avantair bankruptcy trustee Beth Ann Scharrer asked the court to authorize the examination of Avantair CEO Steven Santo, CFO Bret Holmes, president David Haslett, associate general counsel Tom Palmiero, executive vice president Kevin McKamey and executive vice president of finance and operations Stephen Wagman “to obtain any and all documents in [their] possession related to the assets, liabilities and business operations of [Avantair].” This includes emails, written documents, phone records, personal bank records and individual tax returns, to name just a few. Scharrer has also subpoenaed Wells Fargo for Avantair’s bank records.
Meanwhile, the FAA has suspended the airworthiness certificates of much of the Avantair Piaggio Avanti fleet–some via emergency orders, the remainder under non-emergency orders–because the FAA “Administrator has determined that there are reasonable bases for questioning the airworthiness of the aircraft.” In a sample inspection, the FAA found that four Avantair-operated Avantis had long lists of discrepancies (one alone had 83), while nine others were missing “major components,” such as an engine or engines.
John Doe (not verified)
August 20, 2013 - 5:22pm
Better break out the magnifying glass on Steve and little Kevin McKamey on his short bus. Dont even bother investigating David as he was too new to know what was going on but deffinately check out Stevie and Kevin. Steve's big problem was because he is a for assistant D.A. (Lawyer) and his wife Alison is also an attorney they think they can do whatever they want. The plane wasnt designed for the operation they had and parts coming over from Italy were not as fast as they needed or expected. They didnt realize early on how often the planes would need maintenence and more than likely started to cut corners. Probably why new planes where gutted to get older planes in the air. Who knows but put the microscope over Little Kevin and Stevie.
Furloughed Employee (not verified)
August 20, 2013 - 6:24pm
Chad, You seem to be in the know with this court case. Do you know if employees can register as creditors; in reference to the unpaid wages from June? Do you know the procedure, if the answer is yes?
August 20, 2013 - 6:34pm
I’ll have to ask the trustee’s counsel to be sure, but I don’t believe that employees have to file claims as creditors. Also unpaid employee wages are usually the first thing to be paid out, meaning before any other secured creditor. Again, let me ask the trustee’s law firm to confirm this.
Sad Ending for VNR (not verified)
August 20, 2013 - 9:25pm
Thanks for the good work keeping us informed. Unfortunately, many of the Avantair employees have been unable to access our 401K accounts without resigning from Avantair. We should be able to withdraw 401K funds without resigning for various change-of-life reasons, such as paying back taxes, etc. When we call the 401K people, they tell us to contact our "administrators", S. Santo, Carla Stucky, S. Wagman, Bret Holmes... All but one of them are gone, and the other is not answering the phone.. If that doesn't work, "no problem", she says because then you can just contact the following Trustees: A. Roberto, Bret Holmes, or Tom Palmiero! Also all gone, or refusing to answer the phone.
When you check with the Trustee about the secured creditor status, could you check on why Avantair has not yet released 401K account to the employees? It's like being kicked again when you are down..
another furloug... (not verified)
August 21, 2013 - 7:58am
Has anyone pointed out to the judge this "80 West" company that has mysteriously popped up. They seem to clearly have access to some Avantair records.
Screwed employee (not verified)
August 21, 2013 - 7:41pm
I understand that claims bills etc should not be sent to the trustee or the judge, any idea where to send them?
Screwed employee (not verified)
August 21, 2013 - 7:43pm
Where should claims be sent.
August 21, 2013 - 9:31pm
Creditors can file claims before December 18 at the bankruptcy clerk’s office:
Sam M. Gibbons United States Courthouse
801 North Florida Avenue, Suite 555
Tampa, FL 33602
Document #118 in the Avantair case docket has more information on filing claims, too.
Carol Kane - SN... (not verified)
August 30, 2013 - 2:10pm
How do I obtain a claim formn to file?
August 30, 2013 - 4:30pm
You can fill out a claim online at pacer.flmb.uscourts.gov/cmecf/proofofclaim.htm . Former Avantair employees owed back wages should file a claim, I’m told.
Dr. Van Gelder (not verified)
August 21, 2013 - 10:06pm
Its always sad to see the end of an aviation business. Despite the vitriol some people on here spew at the founders of Avantair, it was THEIR vision and chutzpah that launched this bold experiment.
When YOU have the moxie and capability to launch your own aviation endeavor, then you can talk, until then you are no more then an armchair quarterback full of wouldas, couldas and shouldas.
Yes some people got stiffed in the end but someone always gets stiffed in the end, that's the way the cookie crumbles.
Furloughed Employee (not verified)
August 23, 2013 - 1:19pm
Dr. Gelder, do you use this philosophy in your practice? "Sorry Mr. Smith, I tried to fix your wife's heart, but I couldn't, so she's dead. That's how the cookie crumbles. But at least I had the moxie to go to medical school."
I guess the means do justify the end, Doctor.
Roger F. (not verified)
August 26, 2013 - 10:51pm
I along with other dedicated employees were terminated from this company by unskilled evaluators in the training department. Then backwards thinking aviation companies decide to choose Avantair's dishonest word over my honest word. So with all my training and skills and knowledge, I leave the aviation industry. God bless the customers!
Jonathan M. (not verified)
September 8, 2013 - 9:58pm
I have been in aviation many years and had 6 airlines that I was working for go out of business. Everyone talked about paying off the creditors. Mary Beth has got it all wrong. Creditors are people and financial institutions seeking a return on their investment; Employees are seeking a salary to live by putting food on the table for the family, send their kids to school, and to hopefully live within their means of income.
Basically, the creditors were taking risk EVERY TIME they invest in someone else other than themselves. Mary Beth, let the creditors lose because every investor knows, NEVER INVEST MORE THAN YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE! PAY THE EMPLOYEES FIRST - EVERY TIME!
September 13, 2013 - 7:24am
I'm very bitter about this, having been involved from taly since the very early Avantair days.
Also a little tired about seeing the blame put on the plane : maintenace schedules were well known and certified in 1989.
On our side, today we have released a SB that will allow eligible planes to re-obtain the AW.
Talking about visions, everybody involved in aviation from the airside knows that a fractional is a mere financial scheme that needs constant grow and cash flow in order to sustain operations. It's working as long is attracting new investors. Nothing to do with aeroplanes at all.
My thoughts and deepest sympathy go to the employees and their families (the only one really hurt in this story) and none else.