Jones has lone bid on Hardwick
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
May 18, 2014 | 1601 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The deadline for bidding on Hardwick Clothes passed Friday afternoon and local businessman Allan Jones remains the only bidder for the iconic Cleveland company.

Jones CapitalCorp LLC made its bid of $2 million in March only to have an objection to the sale filed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

It is because of the PBGC’s demands for a $4 million payment of Hardwick’s discarded pension plan the company said it was forced into the bankruptcy process.

That objection was dropped after negotiations last month resulted in an agreement between the parties on the bidding and sale procedures.

Objections to the sale may still be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court by 4 p.m. Monday.

Because the PBGC acquiesced to the agreed upon process and terms, it appears unlikely that entity would express an objection to what now appears to be the ultimate outcome of Jones acquiring the clothing company.

The next scheduled step will be a hearing Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. where U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley D. Rucker will rule upon any objections that may have been filed and potentially enter an order “approving the sale of the purchased assets to the prevailing bidder” which would be Jones.

Under the current circumstances, Jones would be free to begin exercising “a thousand ideas” he has concerning the future of the company. He has said more than once the future is to build on the past.

He noted in a statement last month helping Hardwick recover from its woes “won’t come without a challenge,” but noted it was worth the price because of the company’s part in Cleveland history and its employees are part of the community.

“The biggest asset is not on the balance sheet. It’s the 134 years of tradition and all the long-term employees. It’s hard to put a value on that. That’s what I’m placing my value on. The purchase price is just a drop in the bucket of what it will take to turn this company around,” he said in a statement last month.

Jones has already begun the process to hit the ground running.

Jones CapitalCorp Senior Vice President Joe Mason testified April 10 the company has begun the process of a nationwide executive search for a chief executive officer, which he said was costing well more than $100,000.

Oliver said Jones wanted to have an experienced person in place immediately once an acquisition took place.

He added Jones was searching for “experts in the apparel business” for the position.