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WASHINGTON -- Kane Co., a family-owned firm that became one of the nation's largest commercial movers, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Baltimore Thursday. The filing in federal bankruptcy court in Baltimore comes two weeks after company President John Kane said the firm would close most of its operations and lay off 950 people.

"The Kane Company and its subsidiary-related businesses are filing Chapter 7 today," Kane said in a statement. "We look forward to cooperating with the bankruptcy trustee to unwind the business and get as much money to creditors as we can."

In a Chapter 7 liquidation, a court trustee sells assets to pay creditors' claims and the company then ceases operations. Kane Co.'s shredding and storage business is to be sold to interested buyers as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. A local competitor, Suddath Workplace Solutions, said last week that it is interviewing 100 dismissed Kane Co. employees, and is in talks with Kane Co.'s bank about purchasing some of its assets. Kane said he has not filed personal bankruptcy.

Kane and his wife are well known in D.C.'s business scene and active in local politics. John Kane formerly chaired the Maryland Republican Party and his wife, Mary Kane, ran unsuccessfully for the state's lieutenant governor post.

The move is the end of a long journey for Kane Co., a family-owned moving firm that rose to local prominence through its Office Movers business, which plotted and implemented moves for some of the region's biggest employers. The firm was founded by John Kane's father, Eugene, who bought a defunct Baltimore trucking company and built it into a profitable business focusing on the Baltimore-Washington region. The company eventually expanded to more than a dozen facilities across five states and built a fleet of trucks that once numbered more than 250.

The business later split into three separate and distinct companies, each owned by one of Eugene Kane's sons. The other two Kane-owned businesses are not a part of the bankruptcy. Kane Construction, a $30 million-per-year contracting firm run by John Kane's brother Dennis Kane, and International Limousine Service Inc., an $18 million per year business run by Richard Kane, are still in operation.

In recent years, John Kane's moving company expanded into lines of business that stepped beyond the traditional responsibilities of a moving firm. The company hired security-cleared movers to safely dispose of classified information, opening up new business relationships with classified government contractors.

Kane Co. reported annual revenue of about $48 million but found itself short on cash as it prepared to move to a new office. The company came up short for $2 million in lease costs and couldn't cover the difference. Bankruptcy filings submitted Thursday indicate the company had total property assets of $15.77 million and total liabilities of $8.83 million.

"I made a couple of stupid mistakes. Our bank lost patience with us," John Kane said at the time.

Business on 12/23/2016

Print Headline: Kane Co. files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

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