Lauren Engineering assets being sold
An auction company sold the assets of Lauren Engineers and Constructors in an online auction that ended on Thursday.
“They just filed for bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 trustee has been appointed, and we are the auction company that was hired by the trustee and court approved to conduct an auction of Lauren’s remaining physical assets. said Kyle Rosen of Rosen Systems, Inc., an industrial auctioneer, appraiser and liquidator in Dallas.
According to Federal Court documents acquired by The Reporter-News, a voluntary bankruptcy application was filed on April 8, signed by Jack Shoemate, the company’s chief executive.
Austin’s Kell C. Mercer is listed as the lawyer in action.
“It’s a huge assortment of equipment. There are over, I think, 1,500 lots in total, ”Rosen said of the items available. “Everything from welders and metal fabrication equipment to construction equipment, to trucks and trailers, to material handling, to inventory, to all the different types of equipment that they used in their various processes. “
Shoemate became the CEO of the company after Charles “Cleve” Whitener, CEO and founder of Lauren, died in a light plane crash that killed two other people in February 2020.
No specific reason for the bankruptcy was mentioned in the documents, which indicate that a decision to file a claim for damages was approved by unanimous consent of the board of directors of the company as “in the best interests of the company. company, its creditors, shareholders and other interested parties. “
The estimated number of creditors is listed in the documents as 200-299.
According to US Bankruptcy Court documents, North Texas District, August 12 is the last day for creditors to file a proof of claim.
Since 1984, Lauren “has been an engineering company specializing in the design and construction of highly specialized facilities in the chemicals and polymers, energy, oil and gas and refining industries,” according to the documents relating to the sale of its assets.
“The operations were centered on two leased locations in Abilene, Texas, with a satellite office located in a leased space in Tyler, Texas,” the documents say.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic and the months following Whitener’s death, the company received $ 500,000 in grants from the Development Corporation of Abilene through its Economic Relief Fund.
At the time, the DCOA noted that the company had 130 jobs in Abilene and 688 in nine states.
The grant was approved by Abilene City Council last June, with the goal of helping Lauren retain all local employees.
As of July, the company was among 250 companies, nonprofits, churches and other entities in Abilene receiving support through the Federal Paycheque Protection Program, designed to help businesses affected by coronavirus shutdowns.
Lauren was the only Abilene company funded in the largest loan category, $ 5-10 million.
According to a July 8 report, a federal database said the loan was to help keep 500 jobs.
Calls and emails to the company for comment were not returned.
Sales and inquiries
Bankruptcy-related documents show that the furniture and equipment located at Tyler’s satellite office are being sold by mutual agreement to Samuel Engineering Inc.
Real estate in Abilene, as well as remote job sites including Midland and Los Alamos, New Mexico, included rolling stock, machinery and equipment, inventory, work in progress, furniture and equipment. desk and computers and computer accessories.
Rosen Systems, Inc., estimated that the assets for sale had a fair market value in excess of $ 800,000.
The company has also filed a request to be able to destroy / reject documents, files and other non-essential documents located in its offices and manufacturing workshop that are “cumbersome, of inconsequential value and unrelated to the liquidation of the estate.” . “
The documents indicate that the company is considering using the services of Shredding Services of Texas to complete the destruction and disposal.
Other documents show that the company filed an objection regarding the value of the properties attributed to the properties located at 901 S. First St. and 550 S. 18th St., stating that they were “excessive” and did not represent the fair market value.
An objection filed by the Taylor County Central Appraisal District argued that the trustee’s assertion was based on an appraisal of commercial personal property received from Rosen Systems, “which determined what the presumed value of the property would be at auction.” .
“This value is not the market value of the company’s personal property,” the document said.
Gary Earnest, county assessment district CEO, confirmed on Wednesday that a protest from Lauren had been received, although further information was “unavailable,” he said in an email.
Brian Bethel covers city and county government and general news for Abilene Reporter-News. If you value local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.