Fleet Management

Bankrupt Trucking Company Owner Sued

August 23, 2000

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The owner of a bankrupt Columbus, Ohio, trucking company is being sued by the U.S. Department of Labor, which says he failed to pay nearly $243,000 in employee medical claims and instead used the money for personal and corporate expenses.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the lawsuit, filed earlier this week, says that John Armstrong failed to pay the benefits to workers at TennOhio Transportation Co. and three affilated companies, Marpam Truck and Trailer Co., Garland Transportation Co. and
Commercial Trailer Co.
Another suit, filed earlier this year, claimed that Armstrong kept retirement savings withheld from employees' paychecks in company accounts instead of investing the money in their 401(k) accounts in 1996 and 1997. The plan had assets of nearly $650,000 and provided retirement benefits to as many as 356 employees of the three companies.
The latest lawsuit covers the period between May 5, 1997 and Aug. 25, 1997, the day the company filed for bankruptcy court protection.
The lawsuit is seeking a court order requiring Armstrong to return any excessive compensation he received and to appoint an agent to pay medical claims still owed by the plan.
Federal investigators say Armstrong was paid more than $160,000 between May 1 and Aug. 25, 1997, and received the use of a corporate airplane.
Armstrong, who has moved to Tennessee, could not be reached for comment by the Dispatch.

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