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Hanger company closes doors again
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MONTICELLO - Shanti Industries closed the doors - again - on its hanger manufacturing facility in Monticello Friday, Jan. 21.

More than 25 unemployed workers waited for word about the company's bankruptcy court case that took place Wednesday, Jan. 26, in California, where the company is located.

According to Jeff Bosen, past manager of the Monticello facility, the court of Central District of California converted the company's bankruptcy from Chapter 11 to a Chapter 7. The company had been operating its Monticello plant under Chapter 11 reorganization since May 15.

Wednesday's court decision will allow assets to be liquidated through the courts, rather than given to Celtic Banks, with whom Shanti has a loan.

"The judge didn't really say why (he chose to convert the bankruptcy to Chapter 7), only that he felt it was the best solution," Bosen said early this week.

Creditors' actions against the company total about $3.5 million, according to Bosen.

The State of Wisconsin, on behalf of the Department of Workforce Development, had filed a civil case in Green County Circuit Court in October 2010, for at least 16 employees who failed to be paid wages totaling $23,000, when Shanti closed the Monticello operation the first time in July 2009.

That case was stayed pending the outcome of the case in California.

Bruce Yaun, Monticello, has worked at the hanger facility for more than 30 years, starting when Laidlaw owned the business. This is the third closing of the factory he has endured.

He said he lost about half of his employee stock when Laidlaw shut down in 2006.

He is one of the workers who went unpaid after July 2009, when Shanti first shut down following a disputed production sales contract with Laidlaw, he said, and is owed for that 88 hours of work.

Even so, he returned to work for Shanti in May.

"It's a matter of lack of employment opportunities," he said. Even while working, Yaun said he kept looking for more permanent employment.

He's hoping someone will step in and buy the entire factory to start it up again.

"It's a job," he said. "Unemployment doesn't last forever.

"If they auction off all the equipment, then we know it's over," he said.