All remaining employees at Plainville company laid off, attorney says
By CRISTINA JANNEY
After foreclosure filings on multiple buildings owned by Chuck Comeau and his subsidiaries, his luxury furniture company Dessin Fournir and 11 of its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 8.
The company’s offices have closed, and all of its employees have been laid off, including those in Plainville, according to Edward Nazar, the attorney handling the bankruptcy.
At its height, Dessin Fournir employed more than 90 people in Comeau’s hometown of Plainville.
Nazar said Comeau is seeking to find a third-party buyer for the multiple divisions of his company. In the meantime, a meeting of creditors is set to convene, Nazar said.
“It was a very successful business,” Nazar said, “which had a reversal of fortune in 2008, and it struggled for the last 10 years to overcome the reduction in revenue and was regretfully forced to file a bankruptcy.”
The furniture manufacturer was listed in court documents to have more than 200 creditors locally, nationally and even internationally with a total liability of more than $13 million. Some of its subsidiaries had other creditors, including companies in the trade.
Some of main company’s creditors include the IRS, the Kansas Department of Revenue, the Rooks County Treasurer, Assurance Partners in Salina, designer Holly Hunt and singer Lionel Richie, who had a customer deposit of more than $15,000 with the company.
Dessin Fournir assets were listed as $6.6 million, $3.8 million of that is in inventory. The assets also includes Plainville properties at 308 and 310 W. Mill, 223 W. Mill, 211 W. Mill and 111 N. Jefferson.
The company is listed as owing more than $8.9 million in secured debt to three local banks, including $952,000 to Astra Bank, $7.5 million to Bank of Hays and $420,000 to Sunflower Bank.
Bank of Hays and Sunflower Bank filed for foreclosure on Comeau properties last year.
On March 26, District Court Judge Blake Bittel in a summary judgement ordered Comeau’s companies and other loan guarantors to pay Sunflower Bank a total of more than $420,000.
The companies included Oak Street Plaining Mill, Classic Cloth, Dessin Fournir, DFC Holding, C.S. Post, Liberty Group, plus individuals Chuck Comeau, Shirley Comeau, Christopher Mraz, Lenice Larson and Palmer Hargrave.
Properties listed in the foreclosure included 201 E. 12th St. in Hays, and Plainville properties 108 N. Main, 211 1/2 Mill, 205 N. Main, 317 W. Mill, 211 W. Mill, 221 W. Mill.
If the money for the bank loan is not paid in full, the properties involved were ordered to be sold in a sheriff’s sale.
The Bank of Hays also had a loan on Rooks County property worth $7.5 million.
Judge Bittel ruled Sunflower Bank’s interest in the case took priority over Bank of Hays’ loan.
The Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship also had a mortgage on a portion of the Rooks County properties, but the agency disclaimed any interest in the real estate in the foreclosure.
DFC Holdings listed the property at 311 S. Washington in Plainville in its real property asset list in the bankruptcy filings on April 8.
Business Home in a story published April 10 said Chuck Comeau sent a letter to clients last week saying, “I failed to understand the ‘right-sizing’ for our company after the recession, and instead thought we should try to maintain jobs.”
A call to the Attorney Ashley Comeau, who is representing her in-laws was not returned. Attorney for Sunflower Bank, Aaron Martin, said he could not comment on ongoing litigation.