In 2004, Long Island had 100 top companies in Newsday's annual ranking of public businesses in the New York area, but in the 10 years since, the bulk have fallen off the list.
So what happened?
For our 2014 Top Companies coverage, we looked at Newsday's 2004 list to find out just what changed for the firms once named among Long Island's most powerful businesses. In some cases they just moved, in others they were sold or went private. In a few cases, they fully closed down. We used past Newsday reports, company releases or Securities and Exchange Commission filings to compile the data.
The list below shows the firms that either went bankrupt or out of business since 2004.
1. Acclaim Entertainment
Once a prominent video game producer known for hits such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam, Glen Cove-based Acclaim Entertainment went out with a bang in 2004 when it filed for bankruptcy and eventually liquidated. The proceedings briefly got heated for the company after a judge accused Acclaim's ex-CEO Rodney Cousens of fraudulently trying to scoop up some of the company's overseas assets. Ultimately, on Dec. 7, 2004, Acclaim staff filed out of the company headquarters for the last time after most of the company had been auctioned off.
2. American Home Mortgage
Representing one of the biggest local collapses of the housing and financial crisis of 2007, American Home Mortgage was undone by homeowners defaulting on their loans. In August 2007, the former Melville company laid off 6,250 people, more than 1,400 on Long Island. "We have no realistic alternative," then-CEO Michael Strauss said in an official statement. Parts of the company were later acquired by IndyMac Bank, which soon collapsed as well.
(AHM's former headquarters - Newsday)
3. Comverse Technology
Computer software company Comverse Technology had its end set in motion after federal authorities in 2006 charged ex-CEO Kobi Alexander with backdating stock options and other instances of corporate fraud. The consequences were stiff: Comverse was delisted from the Nasdaq, moved its headquarters to Manhattan and by 2012 divested itself to shareholders, spinning off into a separate company, Comverse Inc. and selling the remainder of Comverse Technology to Verint Systems, which Comverse has a stake in, for $800 million. As for Alexander, after fleeing the FBI to hide out in Namibia, he eventually settled with the government and agreed to pay $53.6 million in penalties.
(Former CEO Kobi Alexander - Newsday)
4. Delta Financial
Another casualty of the financial collapse, Woodbury-based subprime lender Delta Financial Corp. filed for bankruptcy in December 2007, after failing to secure financing to keep the high-risk lender afloat. At one time, the company was the ninth-largest subprime lender in the United States. The company was delisted and laid off its whole Long Island staff.
5. Kirlin Holdings
The former Syosset securities trading company Kirlin Holdings also went out in dramatic fashion after the Financial Regulatory Authority expelled the firm's Kirlin Securities unit from the brokerage industry. Furthermore, the company's top executives, Anthony Kirincic and Andrew Israel, were barred for life from selling securities after the agency claimed they artificially inflated the share prices of the holding company to keep it from being delisted by the Nasdaq. The company was eventually delisted in January 2005 and by 2006 has stopped conducting business.
6. Synergy Brands
Synergy was a Syosset-based distributor of baking mixes, packaged meals, cigars and other groceries, until the company filed for bankruptcy in January 2011. Meanwhile, former chief executive Mair Faibush was convicted in March of running a check-kiting scheme by writing nearly $1.3 billion in checks not backed with sufficient funds. U.S. attorneys said Faibush also caused Synergy to file false statements about its financial condition in 2008.
(Synergy's former headquarters - Google)
7. Windswept Environmental Group
Once hired by former Gov. George Pataki's office to clean up after an anthrax scare, Windswept Environmental Group eventually liquidated in 2009 after defaulting on $5.9 million in loans. The former Holtsville company operated under the Trade-Winds Environmental Restoration brand, and even helped clean up the World Trade Center site after 9/11.
8. Curative Health Services
This provider of home health services first exited Long Island when, in 2004, it shifted its corporate headquarters to New Hampshire after a merger with Critical Care Systems. By December 2005, Curative filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to restructure its nearly $185 million in debt.