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Why Performance Bonds are required...

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  • Why Performance Bonds are required...


    And also why we're limited to 25% deposits on vehicle awards.

    Old story really, just highlighting the issue again so no one else ends up like this. To add insult to injury, they're still ineligible to apply for another truck project because the money was spent.
    Brian P. Vickers
    Emergency Services Consulting
    Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
    Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

  • #2
    Taken from another local message board in our area:


    Well guys, since the situation out at New Lex has finally drawn pretty much to a close I will give you all an update on what happened in the past few months.

    Some may know some bits of this that I do not, so feel free to fill in if you can.

    Back around June or July New Lex closed for about 2 weeks with Betty Jo claiming an ongoing personal emergency, they reopened, the phones were reconnected and that lasted about 2 weeks. Then, one day PNC bank shows up, changes all the locks and closed the place down. They had gone to court to force New Lexington into receivership. The receiver secured and inventoried all the assets, then went about the task of trying to find a buyer for the business; this was their first choice, to sell it as a whole. When I had spoken to the receiver he told me if no buyer could be found for the business as whole they would auction the parts of the company off.

    Somewhere in around August if I remember correctly Somerset County dropped all criminal charges against Betty Jo and the United States Attorney General took up the case. This brought the FBI in to investigate the case.

    As far as I know, they did not contact a single fire company or private company that was involved in the original criminal case against New Lex for several months. After many phone calls, an assistant chief from Kenockee Twp. Fire finally got the FBI agent who was heading the investigation on the phone. This was around November 10th. This was the first contact anybody we know of was able to talk with the FBI. When the agent was questioned as to the status of the case, he told Kenockee that the investigation was at a standstill, as they needed information from the fire departments concerning payments. The Asst. Chief from Kenockee was not very happy at this point as he had been leaving messages for the agent for several months and never received a return call.

    To make matters bleaker, the agent told Kenockee that at this point he did not see anything criminal in what New Lex had done, that bad business practices are not against the law. If this is the case I am starting an apparatus manufacturing facility whose only job will be to collect deposits for apparatus, tell a huge amount of lies about the status of those apparatus, then go out of business and move to the Bahamas.

    Kenockee got word back to the fire companies that were communicating with each other what information was needed by the FBI, and as far as I know some have sent what was needed to the agent. The FBI has not, to this day, contacted us concerning this case. In my cover letter to him when I sent our information in, I stated that there is NO Justice in the USA for the small guy anymore. I invited him to prove me wrong. I doubt he will.

    November 29th, there was an auction at the New Lex facility where the PNC bank auctioned off the pieces of the company. In the process they sold the stainless steel rescue body and 1000-gallon poly tank bought and paid for by Harmonville, Plymouth twp. I am sure that any idiot could have found the paperwork in the office concerning these items, Harmonville’s name was on that body when I was out at the plant, they knew who it belonged to. Kenockee was able to get their two tanks out of the facility. I will bet there were other items there, bought and paid for by fire companies, that were auctioned off to settle the banks debt.

    So here we all sit at the end of it, with no money, no justice, and no new fire truck. Heartbroken and disgusted, one of our members sent an email to channel 16 News, which prompted the news article above. That I know of, this aired 3 times on Channel 16 WNEP News. Bob Reynolds did a wonderful job of taking a very long story; condensing into the time he was allowed to report it, and having it make sense.

    DHS still has to make a decision as to what they are going to do with us. They thankfully have not asked for the $112,500 of grant funds that was used for a deposit back. They unfortunately will not allow us to use our remaining grant funds to pay for the chassis that was built for us by Spartan Motors.

    I don’t know what the future holds for us now. I keep asking, who do the hero’s turn to when they need a hero? Nobody has answered me yet, but maybe someday somebody will.

    We would like to thank all those who have supported us through this terrible turn of events.

    The New Lex piece was to have replaced a 1955 ALF pumper and a 1971 International tanker. The tanker was taken out of service soon after we were told we got the grant. We had been told the year before that it would not pass PA state inspection the next year without thousands of dollars of work, as there were some serious chassis issues.

    Somewhere in around September we leased a 81 Ford/FMC pumper from Llewellyn Hose so that we could take the 55 ALF out of service and do a partial in station refurb. It had some serious wiring issues and a few other things wrong that really needed to be adressed. Headlights and windshield wipers are usually a good thing at night in the rain, do I need to explain further? This was to have been a 6 month lease with the 55 ALF going back into service at the end of it.

    When we were at the Schuylkill County Firemans Convention in Pine Grove, we were approached by saleman for Shellhammer Emergency and told about the 71 Mack from Upper Saucon Twp that was for sale. After we got home, I looked this up on the Internet. I contacted C. Carstetter, the chief for Upper Saucon, got a bunch of additional information and soon we were on our way down there to pick up the piece.

    We would not have been able to afford to do this but our Hall had been damaged during the recent flood and we had just recieved our insurance settlement check. So instead of fixing flood damage we bought a truck.

    The Mack is a great truck, but is still 36 yrs old. I see already that it is just like our 55, will need pretty much constant maitinance to keep it on the road. This is one of the things I wanted to get away from with a new apparatus, the constant nickel and dime ya to death fixing things.

    I think that about covers everything, If I forgot anything else, I will add to this.

    Chris Kemmerling
    Clover Fire Co.


    • #3
      Slightly encouraging update...



      • #4
        It's nice to know that there are still really good people out there. If we don't help each other no one will.


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