City reaches accord on stand still agreement with U.S. Repeating Arms
(5/10/2006) Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. today announced that the City of New Haven and U.S. Repeating Arms Co. have come to terms on the “stand still” agreement the City has been seeking, pursuant to which both parties will cooperate while the City and a third party consultant seek a new buyer for the plant. U.S. Repeating Arms also has agreed by June 30 to pay the City approximately $850,000 pursuant to a tax abatement recouping real estate and personal property taxes..
“We spent a great deal of time negotiating the terms of this stand still agreement and we feel it represents the best outcome for the City,” the Mayor said. “Without this agreement, U.S. Repeating Arms could have removed all of their equipment and inventory on March 31 and left town. Instead, along with meeting their financial commitments to the City, they are providing a reasonable time period in which to market the Winchester site and hopefully to find a successor firearms manufacturer.”
Pierre Bourgeois, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Repeating Arms, said the company has met all its obligations to its employees and vendors. By funding a time-limited search for a new buyer, “this agreement buys more time to explore a productive outcome for the Winchester site, a process that I have directed our counsel, Robert L. Berchem, to actively move forward and participate in.”
Under the terms of the agreement, U.S. Repeating Arms has also agreed to pay $150,000 to a consultant, Workout Solutions, Inc. of Guilford, to assist the City in locating a qualified buyer. The consultant will seek a manufacturer willing to purchase the property, the intellectual assets and the right to use the Winchester name. The manufacturer also would have to agree to assume the lease for the property with Science Park. Kevin S. Tierney, president of Workout Solutions, will partner with MHB Enterprises of Saint Charles, MO to obtain the benefit of MHB’s industry specific expertise and assistance. Any and all interested parties are encouraged to visit www.savewinchester.com, a website for Winchester patrons to voice their support for the continued production of Winchester firearms in New Haven. The website will also serve as a portal through which to obtain offering documents.
The agreement also lays out a timeline under which the consultant will issue a request for proposals from interested buyers by June 1; proposals will be due back by June 23; and acceptance of the best proposal will be made by July 15. A closing will take on or before September 1.
U.S. Repeating Arms closed at the end of March but the City’s efforts to find a buyer and also to keep the Winchester name in New Haven have been ongoing.