A bounced rent check prompted the city of Brownsville, Texas, to put a lock and chains on the fence around the headquarters of Taylorcraft Aviation LLC, effectively closing down the business.
According to Brownsville City Manager Charlie Cabler, Harry Ingram, president and owner of Taylorcraft, which rents a city-owned hangar at Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport, has not paid rent in 19 months. The company owes the city more than $100,000.
“Harry Ingram is not allowed back in there,” stated Cabler after the chains were installed Jan. 19.
In late November the city sought to evict Taylorcraft, but then voted to allow the company to stay if Ingram agreed to start paying rent again.
According to Cabler, Ingram signed an agreement to pay the city an accelerated amount until he caught up on the rent that he owed.
“The amount was $15,000 a month,” said Cabler. “The first payment was in December and that check cleared the bank. The second payment, in January, bounced due to insufficient funds. When he didn’t maintain the payments like he promised we locked up the place. He also didn’t pay his utility bills so the utility company disconnected him.”
When General Aviation News placed a telephone call to Harry Ingram, a recorded message reported that the telephone had been “temporarily disconnected.”
Cabler said the city would be seeking legal recourse to get the money that Ingram owes them.
“It is my understanding that he has similar issues with other people,” said Cabler. “We will have to deal with our attorney and present to courts for collection or some kind of legal action.”
The matter also has been referred to the district attorney because it is a felony in Texas to write a bad check for more than $1,500.
Ingram relocated Taylorcraft from LaGrange, Texas, to Brownsville in 2005, lured by an incentive package offered by the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp. The Brownsville Economic Development Council, which is responsible for creating these packages and offering them to businesses, did not perform a background check on either Ingram or the company. Had that been done, officials might have learned that Ingram, who bought the company in 2003, was having financial problems and getting complaints from customers that ranged from a lack of delivery of parts after payment to accusations of outright lies about the ability to make certain parts or do aircraft repairs.
When the story of Ingram and Taylorcraft’s financial issues appeared in this publication in the fall of 2006, we received several phone calls from people who said that they had ordered and paid for parts that were never delivered or were unairworthy old stock. Other people told us that they had taken their aircraft to Ingram for restorations but been forced to retrieve them when the work was not completed in a timely fashion. It was then that they learned that their airplanes had been cannibalized for parts for other aircraft.
In October it was revealed that the company did not have the required FAA licenses to build either airplanes or parts. The company also lost its state business charter because of a tax lien.
As previously reported in General Aviation News, Taylorcraft filed for bankruptcy Oct. 13 without an attorney, listing 23 creditors and $847,400 in debt. Less than a week before the filing Ingram stated that he was expecting money to be coming into the indebted company and that the financial troubles would be mitigated. The money never materialized and Ingram stopped returning calls and emails from General Aviation News. (For a full account of Taylorcraft’s woes, see the Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Nov. 3 and Nov. 17 issues or go online to GeneralAviationNews.com).
The failure of Taylorcraft comes as a blow to the city, according to Cabler.
“We thought we had a viable company that could employ people in our city,” he said. “We tried to help him succeed. We believe we did everything possible to help him succeed, but it doesn’t appear that he is able to do so.”