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Alliance's struggles date to August

March 28, 2001

Alliance's struggles date to August



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Alliance Aircraft, a New Hampshire company that wants to build its own line of passenger airplanes in Berkeley County, has grappled with debt, faced lawsuits and struggled to get financing for its plant.

Alliance announced in January 2000, that it wanted to build a 400,000 square-foot plant in Portsmouth, N.H., but it was never built.

The following is a timeline based on Associated Press stories about the company's struggles in New Hampshire:

-- Jan. 20, 2000 - Alliance Aircraft plans to build a factory at Pease International Tradeport, a deal that could mean up to 2,000 jobs.

-- Aug. 11, 2000 - Grappling with debt and facing a lawsuit accusing it of failing to pay its bills, Alliance says it is abandoning plans to build its New Hampshire plant. President and Chief Executive Officer Earl Robinson said the business climate in New Hampshire was "not business friendly" and there had been negative publicity.

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-- August 2000 - A Rockingham County (N.H.) Superior Court judge sets a deadline for Alliance to pay the Bank of New Hampshire a $259,618 balance on a loan. The judge says the bank could take furniture, computers and other assets if Alliance missed the deadline. Robinson said the dispute had been resolved the day before with an agreement calling for a $75,000 payment by a certain date and the balance in 60 days.

-- August 2000 - Rocket Science Computer Company sues Alliance for $325,336 it said it was owed for design work. Alliance responded by accusing Rocket Science of misinterpretation and overbilling.

-- September 2000 - Alliance officials say they would like another chance to talk to state officials to see if something can be worked out that would allow the company to stay in New Hampshire. Alliance officials say before they head to a new spot, they want to check again to see if New Hampshire can offer incentives. The company wanted $910,000 to help build a road and traffic signals to the site Alliance picked in Portsmouth. Gov. Jeanne Shaheen said the state wasn't likely to offer any up-front financial incentives.

-- December, 2000 - Alliance officials won't say where they might move, but a report in Aviation International News lists several states it is considering, including Maine, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Oklahoma.

-- December 2000 - The Bank of New Hampshire seeks a lien on Robinson's Hampton, N.H., home to pay the remainder of a $284,000 loan he personally guaranteed. The request is part of a second lawsuit filed by the bank in Rockingham County Superior Court. The balance of the loan, which was issued May 3, is $259,618.49, court records show. Alliance officials told the bank on Aug. 1 the company didn't have the funds to make payments on the debt, court records show.

-- March, 2001 - A creditor of Alliance Aircraft says it may try to force the startup jet maker into bankruptcy unless the company pays its bill. Ralph Woodman, a lawyer representing Rocket Science Computer Services, said Alliance has not lived up to an agreement filed in Rockingham County Superior Court to make payments on a $300,000 bill for installing the company's Internet service.

-- March, 2001 - Six months after it dropped plans to open a manufacturing plant at Pease International Tradeport, Alliance Aircraft reaches a settlement with one of its creditors, and officials say they're about to secure a $50 million financing deal. Alliance Aircraft agrees to pay Rocket Science Computer Services $335,000.

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