Friday, January 06, 2012

Forest City avoids the question of how they'll get that exterior steel; local officials in Indiana still baffled by firm's closing

So Forest City Ratner yesterday told Crain's New York Business, regarding the closure of steel fabricator ASI Limited, "we don't believe it will affect our construction schedule."

And they told Patch that they don't believe it "will aversely affect the timeline."

Well, that's possible, since the exterior was supposed to be finished by May and presumably there's some flex in the timeline--as long as ASI Limited reopens or (with more difficulty) a new supplier of such custom work can be found.

But that doesn't sound yet like a plan to get that work done. So, until Forest City offers specifics, they
don't sound too convincing.

The Crain's article was updated, with a glimmer of detail:
In a statement, a spokesman for Forest City said the site's construction manager, Hunt, and the bonding company for ASI have developed an action plan. They have already started work on site and have developed several options for on-going fabrication. It didn't specify the options.

Questions in Indiana

And keep in mind that ASI Limited apparently is keeping even locals in the dark. Yesterday, Indianapolis Business Journal, in Boone County officials ‘surprised’ by ASI closing, reported:
The high-profile portfolio of work ASI has built through the years made the closing even more difficult to understand for Dax Norton, director of the Boone County Economic Development Corp.

...Norton said he has attempted to contact company President Ken Smith via telephone and e-mail to gather more information but has been unsuccessful.
Note that ASI was supposed to notify the state 60 days in advance of the plant closure, but did not do so, a sign of disarray, or of accelerating financial problems.

That makes them vulnerable to $500-a-day fines, as well as lawsuits. Federal law allows three exceptions to the 60-day notice requirement
(1) Faltering company. This exception, to be narrowly construed, covers situations where a company has sought new capital or business in order to stay open and where giving notice would ruin the opportunity to get the new capital or business, and applies only to plant closings;
(2) unforeseeable business circumstances. This exception applies to closings and layoffs that are caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time notice would otherwise have been required; and
(3) Natural disaster. This applies where a closing or layoff is the direct result of a natural disaster, such as a flood, earthquake, drought or storm.
So if ASI Limited is, in fact, a faltering company, then it better get that new capital soon. Surely Forest City Ratner and its allies could muster it up in a pinch; a delay in the arena opening threatens an enormous amount of contracted revenue, such as for sponsorships and naming rights.

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