Prominent Tucson dealership Beaudry RV Co. has suspended operations as bankruptcy creditors say the company's recent sale has forced its real estate loans into default.
All the company's employees have been laid off, with some saying they haven't been paid for their last two weeks of work.
The inventory has been cleared from its sales lot on East Irvington Road near Interstate 10. A chain and padlock holds the doors to the guest lobby closed.
Customers who dropped off recreational vehicles to get service with the company were left in limbo for days, wondering if they'd have access to their coaches.
Meanwhile, attorneys for Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Comerica Bank - creditors in Beaudry's 2008 bankruptcy - filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court saying they were surprised by the recent sale of Beaudry to an investors group.
They're asking for immediate appointment of a liquidating trustee, arguing the sale violated loan documents and real estate loans in default. That liquidating trustee would have sole authority over the company's real estate collateral, the motion says. Beaudry filed two years ago for Chapter 11, or reorganization, bankruptcy protection.
A group of investors led by Greg Harrington and Peter Workum completed a series of transactions in mid-September to acquire Beaudry RV's properties and operations in Tucson and Chandler. Harrington said at the time the new investors had plans to expand the company.
Those plans quickly hit a snag. The turnaround proved impossible because of Beaudry's current legal situation, the RV market and budget constraints, the investors group said Thursday.
When asked if the company's temporary shutdown could become permanent, Harrington said he couldn't address that issue at this time.
Clive Bowden, who lives in Green Valley, said he was getting close to pursuing criminal charges against Beaudry as he hadn't heard anything from the company since mid-September. He had left a 42-foot coach at Beaudry's Tucson location for body work and additional service.
Bowden was able to get his vehicle Thursday afternoon, he said, though others are still working out the details to get their RVs back.
"There are other people in the same situation as I was," he said.
The scene is the same at Beaudry's Chandler location, said Bud Bates, who bought an RV there early in September.
"Anybody who's got a vehicle in there is totally befuddled," Bates said.
Bates said he'd left the RV he purchased with Beaudry as he'd been out of the country for a few weeks. He went to the Chandler location Monday and found it completely shut down.
With Harrington's help, Bates said he was able to get his coach back and only has to make sure the proper paperwork has been filed with Arizona's Motor Vehicle Division.
Harrington said he's working to make sure everybody who left a vehicle with Beaudry gets back their property.
The company's roughly 100 employees are also dealing with the fallout.
The workers, who've survived several rounds of layoffs at the financially struggling RV dealership, were notified of the temporary suspension toward the end of last week.
Dennis Cotton, a service manager in Tucson, said the employees were told the company would reopen by the end of the year and they might have the ability to do some contract work in the meantime.
On Monday morning, though, workers learned there was no authorization for any offer of temporary employment, Cotton said. There was also no money for the employees' last paychecks, he said.
Workers haven't been compensated for work they performed between Sept. 15 and Sept. 30, he said.
Even without the incentive of a paycheck, some employees have been helping customers get their vehicles, Cotton said. But they've done so in Tucson without much guidance from the new investors, he said.
As for his immediate plans, Cotton said there's a lot of uncertainty about how he's going to earn a paycheck.
"I'm still trying to accept and realize what's happened," he said. "I've got some feelers out at this point, but I'm really not sure what we're going to do."
Did you know
Beaudry RV opened its doors in 1972.
Contact reporter Dale Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4197.