Monday, July 28, 2014

Lights Out for D.C.'s Largest Electrical Contractor

Truland Systems, the Washington, D.C.-area's largest electrical contractor, suddenly closed its doors this week, leaving about 1,000 workers without a job. The electricians' union, Local 26, filed a forced Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in hopes of liquidating the company's assets to get more than $1 million it says the company owes employees in back wages. Truland Group, which had $371 million in 2012 revenue, had been ranked #8 among the nation’s largest electrical contractors.

Employees at the company's Reston, Virginia headquarters headed out for good on Monday after the firm filed for Chapter 7 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Truland's decision to shut down its operations shocked many in Washington's commercial real estate industry, impacted more than 1,000 employees and dozens of active construction projects across the region.

The privately-held company was connected to most of the D.C. area's largest construction firms including Clark Construction, which it had more than two dozen ongoing projects.

Employees said they had received an email Sunday night that had left them shaken and confused. The email stated that the company was liquidating.

On Monday, Truland Systems and two of its affiliated companies, Truland Service Corp. and Truland Walker Seal Transportation Inc., filed for Chapter 7 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

The filing took a dozen pages to document the list of  778 creditors, representing every letter in the alphabet. The company had been reorganizing in hopes of selling itself to investors over the past three months.

The bankruptcy filing was the latest in a series of events since last Friday, when company officials, having missed making payroll, promised that employees would be paid on Monday.

Then, on Sunday, a restructuring expert retained to help sort out the company's finances told top officials to tell their employees not to show up for work the next day because the company was going to be shutting down.

Truland had fallen behind on debts and was dealing with unpaid projects.

"Projects such as a data center development for the federal government in Utah were part of what dragged down the company's finances," according to an anonymous Truland official.

Truland Group Inc. is a third generation, family-owned firm with a history that extends back to 1909.

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