Monday, March 9, 2009

The Lawsuits Come Rolling In

Now it has been over a month since our last update on the company previously known as Phoenix and a lot has happened, so let’s take a moment to get every up to speed. It seems the three amigos from Cincinnati have found out that not only do their employees dislike not being paid, but their suppliers and their mortgage broker do not like being paid as well.

Wesbanco, the mortgage broker has filed for foreclosure on Phoenix back on February 17, 2009. Perhaps someone should not have taken that second mortgage in December. To date there are currently four lawsuits filed by former suppliers of the company which Phoenix failed to pay for various building supplies over the company's two year existence. Finally there is one lawsuit by a former creditor of the company. As of March 9, 2009, Phoenix has a total of 6 pending court cases in various stages of litigation.

With all the legal trouble this extremely reputable company has encountered recently, what’s an owner to do? Well my friends file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and that is just what they did. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the liquidation of all the assets of company to pay off the debt to all the fully-secured creditors. Which means if you have a lawsuit on file or are a secured creditor you will be entitled to some restitution through the sale of companies assets. For the employees who were not paid, they unfortunately are unsecured creditors. By filing for Chapter 7, Ed Fanning and Nick Jevic have decided this a fight they cannot win, and it would be best to protect themselves from future lawsuits by filing for bankruptcy.

Edward Fanning and Nick Jevic have ultimately finally conceded, had their egos crushed, and by filling bankruptcy have realized they nothing more than couple of failures not only in business but in the evolutionary chain of life. We have learned when it comes to business this past year the evolutionary development in human species has missed many opportunities to strengthen the species; from wall street bankers, auto executives, politicians, to Ed Fanning, Nick Jevic and Thomas Hennings; one can only hope their children will realize their parents genetic flaws and failures and choose to never reproduce. 

Public Records

Almost every move an entity makes from getting a mortgage to filing a lawsuit is of public record. In some counties in Ohio this public record is available for anyone to view on the internet without having to search the court house. For those of you who would like to view some of the public records on Phoenix Building Solutions and it's three evil henchmen, we will provide you with some helpful links and tips. 

Visit the following websites  
search for the keywords 
"Phoenix Buildings Solutions" "Ed Fanning" "Tom Hennings" "Nikola Ljubisavljevic" 

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Letter From a Reader

The following Email was sent to us by an anonymous source.


The best deals come to those who state (potential(for legal purposes))untruths,

Early In the tenure of Tom Hennings and his bumbling amigos, All former suppliers and employees for Benchmark Industries were contacted in one form or another to be told one very important item.  Money was no longer an issue for the operation of this company.  There would be a 401K, flex spending accounts, all bills paid on time…in short The boys were here to save the day.

As these suppliers can attest, Phoenix regaled them with stories of massive orders, on time payments and a relationship that would be envied by all in the building business.  In fact that was one reason to remove the Benchmark name, it was a blight on this shiny new organization and must be removed and never spoken of again.  An interesting tactic to take an existing company and product known within an industry and simply remove it from existence and start from scratch, but that was the plan.  Slowly all elements of the old company were removed and new items were added.  The office got a dishwasher, a water filter and thousands of dollars in renovation, the factory also received some needed and some rather frivolous repairs and renovation.  Additionally, the smallish fleet of trucks and vehicles received an interesting treatment.  Many of the trucks were deemed not roadworthy by the resident leader, Mr. Hennings.  These vehicles had been operational prior to the purchase and had served the company well, yet Mr. Hennings deemed it an acceptable expense to sub out transportation and other vehicle related expenses at an increase of thousands and thousands of dollars to the overhead. 

Again for those of you following at home, functioning equipment was removed from service to be subcontracted at a greater expense, often going so far as to pay rental and mileage fees on rental trucks.  Where did all of Phoenix’s money go?  To the boys yes.  To random, often times inexplicable expenses yes. To the employees? NO.  To improving the product quality, specifications, marketing, customer satisfaction, service, outside sales of the organization? No, no, no, no, no, and no.  So one might be forced to wonder what caused the failure of this entity…..Those who were running it would seem to be the obvious answer.

Now, back to where we started, The overall money scheme.  Again suppliers were horribly harassed with promises of sales and payments, and at least one supplier has spoken and said none of it was true.  Traditionally suppliers offer their best prices to their best customers, Phoenix was arguably their worst customer and continually pushed for the best prices, if I am not mistaken, this supplier is still sitting on stock they ordered some 5 months ago and is owed money from over 8 months ago.  What happened to all the grandiose plans and promises?  Where’s the love Phoenix???  Hello, are you there???  Oh yes you paid yourselves and got out of the business.  Thank you suppliers, thank you employees….see ya’ in the funny pages, we’re outta here.

As the lawsuits flow in, 4 to date, including the aforementioned salesperson on the Tom blog,  two of their principle suppliers, and another.   Wonder what Vegas has for the over/under on lawsuits against these guys.

Surely there is some bailout money for an organization that is seemingly as poorly run as any investment firm on Wall Street, Maybe that’s what they were angling for all along.

As seems to be their specialty, this will end up being someone else’s fault.  Couldn’t be them, they’re brilliant; all these people had it coming.  Tom and Ed had dues to pay at the club, and Infinities to buy. 

As James Brown said “…I got mine don’t worry ‘bout his..”

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why Heat is Important

Every year around October the leaves begin to turn and air begins to cool. Homes across America begin to activate their heating systems, and by November freezing temperatures can develop much of country. Why do many homes turn their heating systems on? The first reason is the keep the occupants warm, and the second reason is to keep the plumbing systems from freezing up. 

What did Phoenix Building Solutions do when the weather turned cold and the mercury dipped below freezing? They stayed the course and refused to pay their natural gas bill. By doing this the manufacturing plant remained cold, and allowed the fire protection system to begin to freeze. The first days in November when the outside temperature dipped below 15 degrees the sprinkler system froze and busted in several areas. Over several days of sub-freezing temperature the employee restrooms stopped working. Employees had to go without lavatories, and toilets until the temperature warmed enough to thaw the pipes. On December 21, 2008 the outside air temperature barely rose above 2 degrees and the entire manufacturing plant's sprinkler system froze and ruptured. All of the employees had to be sent home from work while the system drained. The next day the plant reopened without a fire protection system at all, thus placing the facility, contents, products and the employees in danger if a fire was to breakout. One could say that owners were naive enough not to comprehend that building without heat would result in a plumbing freeze, but Ed Fanning was on site Dec. 21 to sign and deliver checks. He was well aware that sprinkler system froze that day, and was well aware of previous freeze ups. It's too bad OSHA and the Fire Marshal were never notified as I believe they would have frowned upon this endangerment of lives.

LEEDING The Way To Be Green

Phoenix Building Solutions claimed in November of 2008 to build environmentally friendly homes to LEED standards, and this maybe true that their homes do in-fact meet LEED qualifying checklist, but they are far from environmentally friendly in way they dispose of their trash. The above photos were taken on drive-by of their Office facility in late December 2008, and one can notice the visible trash and overflowing dumpster. When examining the photos we can clearly see that there are open trash bags and liter on ground. This is evidence that animals have torn open the bags and they have been in position for some time. This dumpster is visible for anyone drive-by their office from Albert Road. On recent drive-by after the corporation suspended operations, we noticed that the dumpster had been emptied, and all the liter and trash had been removed of from site. Was owners of company afraid someone would find out that company was not as environmentally friendly as they claimed? We noticed from drive-by's that excessive amount of debris, trash, and liter was being dumped behind their manufacturing facility. Unfortunately we have been unable to obtain photographs of this, but a anyone can see this from Albert Road as well. If company was an environmentally friendly corporation they would dispose of their waste in timely matter and in an environmentally friendly way. We don't contest that their homes produced may not have used environmentally friendly or "Green" products in the production of their homes, but obviously the corporation itself does not care about the environment. The company seemed to be just jumping on the "Green" and "LEED" trend trying to make a dollar. Before you get lured into buying or building any home from company that claims to be "Green" make sure the entire company is "Green" and not just their product. 

Update #2: Custom Cabin/Property Removed from Buildings

We would like to bring you the second update to the “Custom Cabin of Lies” story we first brought to you on Friday January 30, 2009.

After further investigation into this story we have learned that Edward J. Fanning removed several items from the facility with the help of a former Phoenix Building Solutions employee. We have now confirmed the identity of the employee who was an accomplice to Edward Fanning's removal of property as, David Sowers, former Purchasing Manager. Edward Fanning apparently contacted Dave Sowers asking him to unlock and provide him access to the manufacturing facility. Edward Fanning and Dave Sowers proceeded to entered the facility to remove items after Ed Fanning barred any employees from removing their own personal belongings. As we first told you last week, one of the items removed from the facility included a $1,200 Heat Pump belonging to house order #810. This is theft from not only the owner of #810, but also the creditors of Phoenix. We also have learned that Tom Hennings removed several DELL Notebook computers which were still under a lease through DELL. 

We will bring you more information as we continue our investigation.

If anyone has any more information on this, please contact us.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Delusional World

As the end of January fast approaches, it seems that Ed Fanning, Nick Jevic, and Tom Hennings seem to be living in a delusional world of denial. The corporate entity known as Phoenix Building Solutions; once produced modular Homes, Apartments, and Condominiums has sat cold, dark, and dormant at 630 Hay Avenue and 600 Albert Road in Brookville, Ohio since January 5. The lights are off, the heat is gone and the only activity in the facility is the screeching cries of fighting raccoons. The flame of the Phoenix has been extinguished.

In the fantasy world inside the delusional heads of three Cincinnati, Ohio men, Phoenix still burns bright and productive. This fantasy is very evident by the three’s total lack of the concept of reality, as they refuse to acknowledge their failures in life and in business. Total Denial, is an appropriate term. The website for Phoenix Building Solutions continues to be live, without any indications to public that company is no longer doing business. The phone numbers and email addresses on the website are listed for inquiries, but not a single person works at the facility to answer those inquiries. After not compensating the employees for two weeks of employment before being layoff, the employees were told verbally without any written record as Ed Fanning termed the phrase they were “temporarily” discharged.

In a matter that makes this curious case of delusion even more interesting is the simple fact that Phoenix Building Solutions’ third party Human Resource Company, PAYCHEX, which handled payroll, 401k, and W-2 tax filings, has not been informed of the situation at Phoenix by Edward J. Fanning. When employees place a call to PAYCHEX to find out information regarding W-2 filing, the employees are told they are not authorized to receive this information. When requesting information on accessing the employees 401k account, the employees is told the plan is still “Active” and there has not been a triggering event. Furthermore the person that has the ability to access and cancel the account with PAYCHEX is Edward J. Fanning, and the account administrator. Apparently Ed Fanning believes he is still operating an ACTIVE corporation. This one major headache for all the employees can be cured by Edward J. Fanning contacting PAYCHEX, terminating the account and having W-2 Form sent the former employees. Instead of Edward Fanning choosing use morals and do what is ultimately right, he chooses stay in his home office and play Modular Home Builder with his Lincoln Logs and Lego’s.

By keeping this account with PAYCHEX active, Edward J. Fanning had done nothing more than anger and push his former employees even more towards the breaking point. Coupled with the loss of their employment, vacation compensation, 2 weeks compensation, locked 401k benefits, flex spending accounts, and with-holding IRS W-2 forms; the drive to survive in tough economic times become even harder. What would make Edward Fanning, Nick Jevic or Tom Hennings think any employee would even comprehend working for these men ever again? It must be pure delusion.     

Update: Custom Cabin/Property Removed from Buildings

We would like to update the “Custom Cabin of Lies” story we brought to you yesterday, as we currently have breaking news on this story.

We have just learned that sometime during the week of January 26, 2009; Edward J. Fanning entered the Phoenix Building Solutions locked facility and removed several items from the buildings. We have been able to confirm that one item that was removed was the Heat Pump designated to be delivered to House #810, Custom Cabin. This heat pump was already paid for by the owner of this home, who has paid Phoenix in full for the House Order. This is not Edward J. Fanning’s property, and is in fact STOLEN PROPERTY. We do believe Edward J. Fanning had help to accomplish this task, but at this time we are withholding the identity of this person until confirmation.

We will bring you more information as we continue our investigation.

If anyone has any more information on this, please contact us.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Custom Cabin of Lies

In August 2008, Phoenix Buildings Solutions accepted and signed an order to produce a custom designed cabin to be built in Ohio. The order was processed, the contract was signed between the client and Phoenix, and the deposit was accepted. Engineering completed plan schematics and received approval from the State of Ohio Building Department in early September. The original plan was to start production in late September, but production did not start until mid-November. Why? Tom Hennings, President and CEO, simply did not want to produce the product and had no intentions of producing the product. This was simply a scheme by Phoenix Building Solutions to inject capital into the company. At the contract signing, a customer is required to make deposit of at least 10%. By signing contracts with clients, the company is making quick cash.

During the next two months, the client was lied to repeatedly by Phoenix Building Solutions about the status of the model plans. The client was told that the plans were still at the State of Ohio, and had not had been approval yet. The story then changed after client found the plans were approved. The new story became “engineering needed more time to produce production drawings”. This went on for two months, while Tom Hennings and the Owner, Edward Fanning and Nick Jevic, tried to decide if they wanted to build this product. Production finally began on the Custom Cabin home around the first of December 2008, and the home was completed and delivered on December 15th 2008 near the site location.

Now if the case of the cabin had not been ugly enough, by December 15, 2008, the weather had turned ugly and rain, snow, and ice were a constant reminder that homes are not usually delivered in the winter. The set crews spent a week trying to lowboys carrying the modular units up to top of hill in the snow, ice, rain and mud to the site. The crane crew then spent another day trying to get a crane to the top of the hill. Because of the cold, wet, muddy conditions, the actual placement of modular units on the foundation were delayed a week after December 15, 2008.

Phoenix Building Solutions, Tom Hennings, Ed Fanning and Nick Jevic opted to charge the builder for every day that set crew was unable to ascend the hill with lowboys to the site. Phoenix’s claim was that house was to be delivered on the 15th per the contract and every day late incurred a late charge to builder. Now if the home would have been constructed and delivered in October when and around the contract between the builder and Phoenix was signed, these weather conditions would not have been a problem. Another interesting note concerning this case is that in a Phoenix contract nowhere does it state an actual delivery date, but the contract references the “delivery date” throughout the contract.  The client refused the invoice over the delayed delivery due to faults committed by Phoenix. By refusing to pay the invoice, Phoenix Building Solutions have withheld the heat pump that failed to ship with home. The heat pump was being held hostage in their now closed and locked production plant.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Phoenix Building Solutions - Media Day

Thursday, January 22, 2009, WHIO-TV and WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio covered the closing, refusal of compensation, and lock out by Phoenix Building Solutions, Inc in Brookville, Ohio. 

Several former employees were interviewed on camera and gave their account of the situation.
The Chairman, Edward J. Fanning, who was identified as an Investor in the company  and not an owner gave a statement. Ed Fanning summarized the company is in temporary layoff due to the rough economy and has intentions on paying all of the employees laid off. Ed Fanning said due to lack of orders, and inflow of capital the company was forced to close.

What Ed Fanning did not mention was the fact a 6-unit Multi-Family Building was on the assembly line which company had already received two installment payments, which roughly accounted for $150,000 of the total $300,000 of the project. Ed Fanning also did not acknowledge the company took out a second mortgage on the properties on December 7, 2008 for $257,000. In the month of December, Phoenix should had already received roughly $450,000 cash flow into the company. Where did all this money go? What happened to the loan issued on December 7, 2008 by Wesbanco for $257,000?  

Edward J. Fanning, your audience is awaiting your response.

WHIO-TV and WDTN-TV did not find out about this information from Ed Fanning, but a simple search of public records at the Montgomery County Court House will confirm that a second mortgage exists.

If you would like to read the WHIO-TV article CLICK HERE

Phoenix: A Plundered Name; A Pillaged Logo

Photo Credits: Phoenix Building Solutions.

In early 2007, FNJ Group acquired Benchmark Homes, and formed a new company with the assets known as Phoenix Building Solutions. Phoenix needed to establish an identity for itself and corporate logo. Tom Hennings was established as the President and COO of Phoenix Building Solutions by his business partners Edward J. Fanning and Nikola Ljubisavljevic (Nick Jevic). Together the three amigos pillaged a corporate identity and violated copyright laws.

The birth of Phoenix Buildings Solutions was not out of the decaying ashes but rather out of convince. The company stole and adopted a corporate logo featured on, and pawned it off as their own original concept. Even more shocking is the corporation name, was apparently stolen from the exact same logo design. The stolen logo was for “Apex Building Solutions, Inc” and the company altered the name and logo slightly to “Phoenix Building Solutions, Inc” and modified the logo design. How convenient that another corporation was to provide Ed, Tom and Nick with the building blocks to form a corporate identity.

On Phoenix’s website they have a section devoted to their business practices and it quotes “We are committed to maintaining the highest level of integrity and honesty throughout all aspects of our business”, then later goes on to say “We are committed to the highest standards of professionalism, we pursue innovation, and we deploy imagination.” (Read the whole quote) Apparently Ed Fanning, Nick Jevic, and Tom Hennings’ imagination failed to evolve past the Homo Erectus stage of the evolutionary trail.

Phoenix Building Solutions is a corporation that designs and builds modular homes. It does not take a lot creative genius to steal an idea or concept, so I ask you how original are their products if they can’t even develop a name and logo?