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A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware Wednesday approved a motion which allows former employees of defunct Klausner sawmills in Florida and Enfield to receive outstanding 401(k) reimbursements.

The approval of the motion by Judge Karen B. Owens in Wilmington is part of the wind down plan associated with the bankruptcy filings of Klausner 1 in Florida and Klausner 2 in Enfield.

The settlement requires a payment of at least $28,000 to a certified public accountant and says Klausner 1 and 2 “are willing to assist KTU (Klausner Trading USA Incorporated) for the benefit of the former employees … and to comply with federal law.”

KTU is identified in court documents as the administrator for the 401(k) profit-sharing plan and trust. 

The court documents further indicate that both Klausner 1 and 2 were aware that KTU did not have sufficient funds to pay the wind down payment of at least $28,000.

Under the plan Klasuner 1 and 2 agree to pay the estimate to accountants on behalf of KTU. Klausner 1 will pay two-thirds of the plan and Klausner 1 will pay the remaining third. “To the extent that additional costs are incurred by KTU to the accountants to complete the audit of the plan, (Klausner 1) agrees to pay (two-thirds) of the additional costs and (Klausner 2) agrees to pay the remaining (one-third) of the additional costs.”

Any distribution to KTU from the estates of Klausner 1 or 2 or any successors will be used to reimburse the mills on a ratable basis.

The court will retain jurisdiction with respect to all matters arising from or related to the implementation or interpretation of the order and the settlement.

Wednesday’s order has been one of many proceedings in the case, which include the sale of the Enfield facility to an Austrian company in December.

Binderholz was named as the successful bidder on what was promised to be a “state of the art” sawmill which used European technology.

Binderholz  submitted a bid of $83.4 million. Mayr-Melnhof Holz Holding AG is considered the backup bidder with a bid at auction of $82.9 million.

Binderholz is a family-owned company with headquarters in Fugen, a municipality in Austria, which has 13 other sites and around 3,000 employees.

It has five sites in Austria, five sites in Germany, two sites in Finland and two in the United States, which include Live Oak, Florida, and the location in Enfield.

Previous court documents have spelled out Halifax County government’s obligation at the time of closing, which include stipulations that the county deliver consent to the assignment of a railroad lease, consent to the assignment of a private sidetrack agreement and consent to the assignment of a pump station agreement.

At closing, the seller will deliver to the county the $4.6 million, an amount the county and Klausner agreed to in negotiations leading up to a court-approved settlement on the matter.

Klausner was announced by former Governor Beverly Perdue in 2012 as an economic development project which would bring 350 jobs to Halifax County and represented what was to be a $130 million investment.

Construction of the sawmill began in 2014. 

Several setbacks and delays occurred during construction over the next several years, and the debtor’s sawmill never became fully operational, which caused a drain on liquidity, previous documents reviewed in the case show.