EJM official writes response to article
Published 12:31 am Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday’s article on EJM Aerospace Services did not provide all the facts and presented our company in a very unfair light. In January of 2007, EJM entered into a partnership with the Andalusia-Opp Airport Authority to construct a state-of-the-art hangar at the Andalusia Airport. The facility was to be paid for by EJM through monthly rent of $31,425 or over $377,000 per year. That’s over $1,000 per day! With these funds, the Authority was to pay off the entire facility in only five years. Most homeowners pay on their homes for 30 years, can you imagine the monthly payment on a five-year mortgage? It would be much more than you could ever hope to rent the house for.
Yet, EJM entered into a five-year lease with the Authority at an inflated rental rate so that the community through the Airport Authority could claim full ownership of such a tremendous facility after only five years without any out-of-pocket costs to the community. We believed so much in the vision for our community that we were willing to invest such substantial sums of money in the lease.
Like most businesses in this economy, EJM struggled to generate new work and has faced difficult business decisions. From a peak of 105, our workforce has been reduced to 29. Yet, through these difficult times, we struggled to make each difficult decision with our employees in mind. Unfortunately, last month this meant we had to vacate the Andalusia facility because there was no work available to keep the facility productive. In this process, additional jobs were lost which I view as a personal tragedy. Yet, a worse decision would have been to continue to pay for a facility that sits idle knowing that it would ultimately result in the closure of the business and the loss of the remaining jobs. We chose to remain in business and to continue to provide employment for 29 families that depend on EJM for their livelihood.
During EJM’s time in the hangar, the Authority received over $1 million from EJM. These funds were used by the Authority to substantially reduce the debt owed on this cutting-edge facility which will continue to be a valuable asset to the community far into the future. I would also note that contrary to statements made in your article, EJM’s option to construct a second hangar was never exercised. Actually, this option was assigned to another company with the consent of the Authority. EJM does not now have, nor has it ever had, any obligation to pay rent on the second hangar. Your one-sided reporting of this matter was personally damaging to me and to the fine, hard-working employees of EJM Aerospace Services. I expected better.
EJM Aerospace Services