The carrier suddenly ceased operations on Dec. 21, laying off all 1,400 employees without notice, after its main creditor froze the company's fuel credit cards and operating capital. Headquarters, phones and the company's website were all shut down. Many drivers were left stranded, and a class action lawsuit has been filed on their behalf.
The 61-year-old flatbed carrier has been having problems paying its bills for more than a year, and vendors and contractors have filed lawsuits against the trucking company totaling nearly half a million dollars. A story in the Tulsa World Monday indicated more financial problems, reporting that bench warrants had been issued for Arrow's two top executives after they failed to appear at a court hearing related to its failure to make payments on a lawsuit settlement.
According to the paper, the bench warrants for Chairwoman Carol Pielsticker and former Chief Executive Officer Doug Pielsticker were issued Dec. 29 and received by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office about 2 p.m. Monday. But late Monday, Doug Pielsticker's attorney told the paper the warrants would not be served pending "remedial action" according to a conversation the lawyer had with the sheriff's office.
The hearing the two failed to appear was related to Arrow's failure to make payments on a settlement in a civil lawsuit. The case involved an intoxicated Arrow driver causing a fatal accident in 2006. According to the World, Arrow was late on the first payment (due in August) and defaulted on the second.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Tax Commission has filed a nearly $350,000 lien against Arrow, alleging that the company failed to pay state withholding taxes for 10 months.
With all these troubles, the fact that Arrow's web site is back up has many in the industry scratching their heads. The site mentions nothing about the status of the company, but it does have a 2010 copyright date. Officials at Arrow could not be reached for comment. Attempts to call phone numbers listed on the site resulted in only busy signals.
When Arrow suspended operations before Christmas, it left many drivers stranded. Many drivers first found out when their fuel cards no longer worked. Although Daimler Truck Financial, which financed most of the company's trucks, offered drivers $200 or a Greyhound bus ticket home (and Navistar came out with a similar offer for drivers of its make), many who had too many personal belongings, pets or other complications were stranded far from home just days before Christmas. (See "Tulsa's Arrow Trucking Suspends Operations," 12/23/2009)
Within days, the FMCSA issued an order directing the company to retrieve its abandoned trucks because of "the threat to public safety posed by the potential abandonment or improper parking of, and/or lack of attendance to, over a thousand commercial motor vehicles around the United States, some of which may be carrying hazardous materials."
"Arrow failed to make advance arrangements for the return of its vehicles to Arrow's principal place of business in Tulsa, Okla., or to otherwise pull the vehicles out of service in an orderly fashion," the order said.
Arrow CEO Doug Pielsticker told the Tulsa World that he has been separated from the company since Dec. 19. Last week, he also released a statement saying that the company is negotiating with its principal lender.
"I know many others have been working tirelessly on a solution," he told the publication. "This is a good company with a good history. In the last decade, it has grown to one of the largest flatbed trucking companies in the country."