Fuller Oil Files for Bankruptcy under Chapter 11

November 14, 2014

by Doug Robinson

Fuller Oil, Hudson, filed for bankruptcy on Monday, Nov. 10.  They filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws.

Chapter 11 allows for companies to reorganize while holding off creditors and potential law suits.  According to documents filed, Fuller Oil has up to 30,000 customers in New Hampshire.

The company has pledged to continue to service those customers who have pre-paid for their fuel.  As reported by the The (Nashua) Telegraph, “We are not going anywhere.  We are in business, we are servicing accounts.  We are operating business as usually and are hopeful to be re-emerging sometime in 2015,” said Jeffrey Varsalone, managing director of CBIZ MHM, a corporate-recovery firm.

Fuller Oil claims that their financial problems are due to “fuel delivery” issues, as well as a lawsuit stemming from one of their supplies in excess of $4 million.  Fuller Oil has approximately 1,500 creditors that are looking for payment.  Sprague Energy, Fuller Oil’s largest supplier, has filed a $4.7 million lawsuit against Fuller Oil as well.

In addition to allowing Fuller Oil to hold off creditors, the federal lawsuit against Fuller Oil’s president for sexual harassment, which was to begin Nov. 12, has been put on hold.

As reported in The Telegraph, “In 2012, Fuller pleaded no contest to a charge of simple assault stemming from Wilkins’ complaints.  According to the suit, Mulcahey was fired from the Hudson office when she intended ‘to file a” complaint.  It’s the second time the EEOC has sued Fred Fuller Oil in regard to sexual harassment.”  This first complaint was settled for $780,000 in favor of the employees in 2005.

According to state law, heating oil companies are not required by law to keep enough money in escrow to repay their customers.

Bankruptcy paperwork discloses that Fuller Oil owes taxes to the towns of Hudson and Milford, many local printing and advertising companies, and another $7 million to an undisclosed company.  In addition, monies are owed to Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, as well as Grappone and Quirk auto dealers.

“NH Attorney General Joseph Foster told The Associated Press that there are buyers interested in acquiring the firm,” according to The Telegraph.

“We are coming in and figuring out improvements and cost reductions and figuring out transactions – whatever needs to get done to reposition the company and put it on the proper path.  Here, the ultimate importance is making sure we’re servicing customers,” said Varsalone, as reported by The Telegraph.  “We are working arm-in-arm with the attorney general’s office.”