Motors Liquidation Corp Outsources Plant Liquidation To Community

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
motors liquidation corp outsources plant liquidation to community

The New York Times checks in on the cheery scene of Flint North, a giant factory complex that was left to Motors Liquidation Corp (aka “Old GM”) after the GM bankruptcy, and finds that the liquidation process is moving along nicely. It turns out that all Motors Liquidation Corp needed to do was look the other way… Flint North was more than happy to liquidate itself.

Ownership of Flint North was ceded to Motors Liquidation in July 2009, though in a special arrangement, G.M. kept making pistons and other engine parts at one of the factories. The empty plants were essentially abandoned in their as-is condition on their last day of production. “They still have personal goods on the table,” said Captain Swanson of the sheriff’s department. “There’s still ceiling fans going.”

Shortly afterward, thieves began to systematically strip copper — used in heating, cooling and other systems — from one of the nearby vacant plants. Authorities said that a ring of thieves hit the building night after night over a three-month period, taking out more than 150,000 pounds of copper.

The gang would load the metal on flatbed rail cars — owned and once used by G.M. — and roll the cars to a hole in a fence, where the copper was put on trucks and then sold to scrap dealers.

In March, the authorities arrested 11 people and estimated the value of the stolen copper at more than $1 million. “They were trying to steal every piece of copper that they could,” said the Genesee County prosecutor, David S. Leyton.

But even after the arrests, no additional security was posted at Flint North until August, when thieves returned and the arrests resumed. Seven adults and four juveniles were arrested, including one person who had been convicted and sentenced to probation for participating in the earlier burglaries, the police said.

Since the latest intrusions, Motors Liquidation and G.M. said they had hired more armed guards to patrol the complex. The 400 workers at the only functioning plant, meanwhile, will either be transferred out of the plant or laid off by November.

Meanwhile, no politician has stepped forward to take credit for the million dollar economic stimulus to Michigan’s valued copper thief community. And Motors Liquidation execs insist that they’re not dragging their heels on site sales for redevelopment because

It is nearly impossible to redevelop such properties for productive, job-creating purposes unless environmental remediation is complete

Luckily there’s $836m in federal money to be spent on that. In the meantime, taxpayers clearly understand that Motors Liquidation Corp’s assets technically belong to them… and they’re doing the dirty work of liquidation themselves.

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  • Tpandw Tpandw on Sep 16, 2010

    You can move a railcar with a crowbar and also with a device called a 'car jack,' which uses leverage against a wheel to move the car. I wouldn't want to move a car very far that way, but if there were a slightly down-grade, you could get it started and loaded it would probably have enough momentum to go pretty easily. It would still be rough going back even with it empty, especially given what is probably not very good track. I vote for the F350. I don't understand, though, why Motors Liquidation didn't sell all this stuff off. When a large tire plant closed here 15 or 20 years ago, a local entrepreneur bought it for, according to local legend, $1M. The former assistant tire plant manager told me that when other potential buyers walked through it, parts of which dated back to the early 20th century, they saw junk. This guy walked through it, saw scrap, and sold the innards as scrap for $1.5M. At its peak after WWII the place employed 8,000 and by its demise around 1,300. The buyer used the proceeds from the scrap sale to remake the place into a multi-use facility, which now has everything from warehousing, to offices, to day care, to small manufacturing, to trendy loft apartments, etc. Apparently around 1,000 people work there now in a variety of businesses, and it's much more attractive than when it was a tire plant.

    • Japanese Buick Japanese Buick on Sep 16, 2010

      Can you give more information about this ex-plant, like where it is and what it's called today? That sounds like a fascinating story to look into just for general interest.

  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Sep 25, 2010

    So.. the best contribution that GM has made to average Americans in 50 years and ppl are bitching?

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