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.