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Koontz-Wagner files for bankruptcy, 110 South Bend employees without work

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --  A national company, with two branches in South Bend, is now a part of a massive bankruptcy filing. 

The Koontz-Wagner company, owned by parent company Williams Industrial Services, filed for bankruptcy early Wednesday morning. 

"It has ceased operations effective this morning," says Deborah Pawlowski, the spokesperson for the Williams Industrial Services Group. 

Google even showed the company as "permanently closed" just hours after the filing was processed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

"They have filed and have been assigned a trustee who will be determining what to do with the business and its assets," explains Pawlowski. 

She adds that employees were informed right away.

The company's Ameritech Drive location was empty Wednesday afternoon, there was one car in the parking lot. 

The other location, on Voorde Drive, had employees walking out of the building, boxes in hand.

ABC57 News tried to speak with those employees, but was shut down.

"Koontz-Wagner has explored various strategic alternatives that would allow for the continued operation of the business," adds Pawlowski. "It obviously wasn't our first choice."

What she means, is that for about nine months, the company did everything they could to save it.

In a quarterly report from May, the company even wrote "our business faces significant risks and uncertainties."

They explore selling the company as whole, and even breaking it apart. Nothing worked.

"There were no viable paths open to us, despite these efforts to continue the business," Pawlowski says. "As a result of the losses by the business, the lack of the ability to build its backlog and meet its forecast through the first half of this year."

With about 225 employees nationwide, 110 of whom are based in South Bend, the company is making sure to do whatever they can to help their former employees.

"A best effort was made by the company to continue the operations and unfortunately, it wasn't working," she explains. "[The employees] were paid their outstanding pay and accrued vacation through today. They were also offered 60 days of continuing pay."

Koontz-Wagner Services is not affected. 

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