Company that made parts for Lindbergh files for bankruptcy

John Hassall Inc. could lay off all 83 John Hassall Inc. could lay off all 83 employees between July 28 and Aug. 10, the company said in a regulatory filing. Photo Credit: Google

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A Westbury company that made fasteners for the airplane that Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and notified employees that it could close by July.

John Hassall Inc. could lay off all 83 employees between July 28 and Aug. 10, the company said in a regulatory filing.

The potential closure is due to "economic" factors, according to the notice, which is required by the state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The act requires employers with at least 50 full-time employees to give a 90-day notice before a major layoff or closing.

Company officials did not return calls for comment Thursday. In a published report a financial consultant for Hassall, Richard Bennett, said the company has enough financing to continue operations, and it hopes to emerge intact from the bankruptcy proceedings.

Hassall makes custom-designed metal parts and fasteners for the aerospace, automotive, defense and other industries in its 65,000-square-foot plant, according to its website.

The 157-year-old company says its products have ranged from metal parts on the "Spirit of St. Louis," which Lindbergh flew in 1927 on the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic, to high-strength bolts in modern jet engines.

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The company has assets of $8.5 million and liabilities of nearly $5.5 million, president and chief executive Theodore B. Smith III wrote in a court affidavit filed Wednesday, the day the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

It has suffered "declining revenue as a result of the general downturn" in the industries it serves and the economy as a whole, and its sales during the first quarter were lower than expected, Smith wrote.

Hassall explored a potential sale of its business lines and assets last year, but it was unable to come to terms with potential buyers, Smith wrote. It filed for bankruptcy so it could resume its search for a buyer, he wrote.

It has 55 union employees, whose contract expired in 2011. Contract negotiations ended in an impasse, and the company imposed new terms in 2012, Smith wrote.

Hassall also is engaged in a court fight with its landlord, according to Smith's affidavit. The company sued the landlord last year, charging that the roof leaked from 2008 through 2012, interrupting work at the plant; the landlord countersued, and the dispute remains unresolved, Smith wrote.

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