Happy New Year: A Look at the Top Ten Stories of 2012

As 2012 comes to a close and 2013 begins, USGlass magazine has taken a look back at the top headlines of the year. Following is the ranking of the most popular stories of the year.

1. Trainor Closes All Nine Locations, Lets Go All Employees: It is no surprise that the news that Trainor Glass was closing its doors and releasing all of its employees ranked at the top of the most-read stories of the year—though the news itself was quite a surprise to the industry. Since then, the company has filed for bankruptcy and been named in several lawsuits—many of which also ranked high on the list of popular stories. Just weeks before the closure, the company had reported to USGlass that its annual 2011 sales were $110 million—and ranked third on the March 2012 list of the top glazing contractors for 2011.

2. Trainor Faces Suit: Amid a continuing tough economy, one recurring story in 2012 has been suits filed by a variety of unions and various health and welfare funds for unpaid benefits. Among these, the Trustees of the Indiana State Council of Roofers Health and Welfare Fund filed a complaint against Trainor Glass in the U.S. District Court of Northern District of Indiana, Lafayette Division on February 22—just one day after the company closed its doors. The Fund, a multi-employer employee benefit plan that provides health, welfare and other benefits for employees of employers who contribute into its plan, alleged that Trainor had signed an agreement with it to make payments for pension and health and welfare fund benefits, but ceased making those payments in November 2011. The suit ultimately was dismissed without prejudice in August.

3. Dwyer Group CEO Says Walking in Employees’ Shoes was ‘Overwhelmingly Rewarding’: Last January, Dwyer Group CEO Dina Dwyer-Owens appeared on an episode of the popular television show, “Undercover Boss.” Though the Glass Doctor franchise was not one featured on the show, Dwyer’s reflections on the experience still ranked high among readers.

4. Trainor Glass Files for Chapter 11: Continuing a trend in 2012, readers followed the story of Trainor Glass closely, including its filing for bankruptcy in March 2012—just a few weeks after its closure. The bankruptcy filing included claims by a number of industry suppliers, including Viracon with a claim of $1.1 million, EFCO with a claim of $1.1 million, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® with a claim of $615,084.74, Kawneer with a claim of $503,307.00, J.E. Berkowitz with a claim of $498,906.38, and Graham Architectural Products with a claim of $350,920.

5. Owner of Arizona Shower Door Arrested in Plot to Kill Wife: Much of the industry read with interest and shock when Fred (“Spike”) Knadler, former president of Phoenix-based Arizona Shower Door, was arrested for allegedly conspiring to kill his wife. Shortly after the arrest, Fred Knadler’s son, Paul, was named president of the company.

6. Trainor Glass Motions to Use Cash Collateral, in Light of Chapter 11 Filing: While the Trainor closing was the top-read story of the year, Trainor also tops the charts when it comes to companies named most times to this year’s top-ten list. Even after the company filed for bankruptcy, the news that the company was aiming to use its cash collateral, incur post-petition debt, and grant adequate protection and provide security and other relief to its largest creditor, First Midwest Bank, also ranked high. This motion also was particularly interesting to readers as it provided some insight into Trainor’s demise. “By 2010, Trainor found itself with significantly reduced liquidity and financial losses which caused Trainor to close many of its plants, sell equipment, and reduce workforce,” wrote the company in late March. “During the period June 2011 – December 31, 2011, Trainor closed 13 facilities, resulting in significant additional losses. On February 21, 2012, after being unable to secure additional financing necessary to continue operating, Trainor ceased business operations and terminated all employees.”

7. Contract Glazier American Architectural Inc. Files for Chapter 11: While the latest bankruptcy story is always a sad one for the industry, USGlass readers still tune in to hear when another occurs—and the same was true when American Architectural Inc., a Bensalem, Pa.-based contract glazier, filed for Chapter 11 in June. The company listed unsecured claims totaling $3.9 million. The filing included industry creditors such as TAD Metals Inc. with a claim of $692,510.73; Safti First with a claim of $236,598.335; JE Berkowitz LP with a claim of $117,106.88,and OldcastleBuilding Envelope’s Hauppauge, N.Y.-based office, with a claim of $97,764.53, among others.

8. Details Unfold in Arrest of Arizona Shower Door Owner for Alleged Conspiracy to Kill Wife: While the arrest of former Arizona Shower Door president Fred (“Spike”) Knadler drew the interest of readers, so did the release of the accompanying police report. The report revealed a number of details about the case, including allegations that Knadler hired an employee, Patrick King, to help get rid of both his wife’s body and the car.

9. Hearing in Trainor Glass Bankruptcy Case Continued to April 10: From closing to bankruptcy, even the smaller reports about Trainor Glass garnered massive attention from readers, including this story, which reported that a hearing to review the company’s motion to grantadequate protection and provide security and other relief to creditor First Midwest Bank was continued to April 10. According to court documents, at the time of its bankruptcy filing, Trainor owed First Midwest approximately $34 million.

10. CBO Glass Faces Lawsuit: The aforementioned suits filed by pension funds continued in April when CBO Glass of Alden, N.Y., was sued by the International Painters and Allied Trades Industry Pension Fund for failing “to pay amounts due under the Labor Contracts, Trust Agreements and Plan.” The suit also included two of the company’s officials, Gilbert DiMaio, president and CEO, and Paul F. Hogan, principal. DiMaio and Hogan have filed a motion requesting that the case be dismissed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, where the case is pending. That motion is still awaiting review by the court.

Were there any stories you expected to be in the top ten that weren’t? What do you think will be the biggest stories of 2013? Please email pstacey@glass.com.

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