Eclipse Aviation sent an email to staff late Tuesday that signals the end of a 10 year odyssey that started with the promise of a made-in-America everyman's jet that would revolutionize aviation and ended with a messy bankruptcy that involved the likes of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The email says the board of directors will support a move by creditors to convert the current Chapter 11 bankruptcy into a Chapter 7 liquidation. "All of the executive management team at Eclipse gives you our most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your tenacity and perseverance in trying to deliver this dream we know as the Eclipse 500," the email reads."We gave it one heck of a try. We are sorry that it came to this today." The email is signed by executives Mark Borseth and Michael McConnell. Notably absent is the signature of CEO and Chairman of the Board Roel Pieper, the architect of the failed deal that led to the collapse.
Pieper's company had approval to buy the company under the Chapter 11 filing but couldn't raise the money. The funding was supposed to come from a Russian bank, purportedly at the urging of Putin, but never materialized. Borseth and McConnell effectively confirmed that in the email. "Despite the efforts of many people at EclipseJet Aviation and ETIRC to obtain necessary funding to close the purchase of the assets of Eclipse Aviation, the closing of the sale transaction has stalled and our company is out of time and money," the email reads. As for the 850 employees that remained, the furlough that began Feb. 18 became a layoff on Feb. 19 and they won't be getting their next pay check. Their company benefits run out Feb. 28.