Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 11, 2008

Echo Windows LLC … who’s providing the financing?

It’s been pretty well established that while Republic Windows and Doors LLC was winding down, setting up the showdown with it’s workers, the wife of the owner of Republic was forming a new company, Echo Windows LLC. In fact, that incorporation took place on November 18th. Then, on December 4th, the day that Republic announced the closure of it’s business, it was announced that Echo had purchased a division of window company Traco, and a factory in Iowa!

Pretty shady or just good business, depending on your point of view. I think it’s pretty shady, but I’ve seen plenty of comments noting that it’s their right to start another company and move to another state. Yeah…while leaving their current workers without the money or the healthcare benefits that they are due under law. Guess a little law-breaking never hurt anyone is just good business.

But the question I continued to have was, who financed Echo Windows LLC? Or at least, who financed the purchase of Traco’s residential division and the factory in Iowa?

I’m not sure it will help anything to know the answer. But it sure has been hard to FIND the answer. Maybe I just don’t Google well enough.

But things are pointing to JP Morgan Chase as the financier of Echo WIndows LLC recent acquisition.

Why? Well, first it was announced that JP Morgan Chase had “stepped in” to offer partial financing of the laid-off workers severance, to the tune of about $400K. I couldn’t find out WHY they did that – the goodness of their heart? a charitable cause? they need new windows in their offices? – but there it was. Almost an asterisk in the news about the negotiations between Republic, BofA, and the union. Turns out they’re a part owner of Republic Windows. I did not know that.

Now I come across this article that mentions JP Morgan Chase again:

by Scott Creighton

The New York Times is reporting that the workers who staged that sit-in at Republic Windows and Doors have effectively won their standoff with Bank of America (financing bank) and JP Morgan Chase (40% owner) and they will be paid what they should have been paid last week as per the letter of the law.

“…the company owners (JP Morgan Chase) had formed a new window company, Echo Windows LLC, and bought a new plant in Red Oak, Iowa, where labor costs are cheaper…” New York Times

The message there seems to imply that JP Morgan Chase is an owner of Echo Windows LLC. When I checked the New York Times, all I could find was this article, which doesn’t say that at all.

Anyone got have a better clue than me? Does it matter? Should I even care?



  1. Doesn’t seem moral, legal or ethical for this Republic Window company to claim bankruptcy and disallow what was due their employees and then immediately open up shop in Iowa under a new name. They owe a lot of employees and creditors and it should be much more difficult to shed those obligations.

    Business bankruptcy laws need a major tightening if this is truly permitted. We need individuals held accountable and not permit families to play games and bypass the system using shell corporations and new corporate names.

    How did they get financing for this purchase in Iowa? Were there misrepresentations made about the health of the existing business? In this climate it would seem that getting such business financing should be extremely difficult.

  2. rumor on the street? Hanson’s Home Improvement company in Detroit financed this mess?

  3. Thanks. Unless you are the same “Anonymous” who posted a comment to one of my earlier posts, you’re the second person to raise that name. Anyone know more?

  4. Brian Elias owns Hansons. He is behind all this. He knows how to run a biz w/o thought to his employees. We have no raises, no benefits, we’re watched when we get coffee, 5 min. breaks, treated like children. He’s real good at all that nasty stuff.

  5. Echo employees – get ready for a horrible job. The only reason I’m still @ Hanson’s is the awful economy in Mich. He (Brian) knows people are scrambling for ANY job in this state. He has more $ than GOD…some of his employees could not afford to by gifts for their own kids @ Christmas. He’s completely oblivious, or just downright MEAN!

  6. Echo Windows, formerly TRACO Red Oak Iowa has closed its doors today, Monday February 23, 2009.

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