Former All Resort executive emotionally addresses shutdown
Mayor says ‘all of us are hurting with you’ as impacts are detailed
A former All Resort Group, Inc. executive made an emotional appearance at the Marsac Building on Thursday evening, addressing Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council a week after the large, long-established transportation firm suddenly closed amid financial problems.
Alicia Petersen Vernon, who was the director of business development, provided wide-ranging comments as she described the days before the shutdown, the impact on All Resort Group’s former employees and the predicted effects on the Park City transportation industry as the ski season nears.
Petersen Vernon’s comments were the broadest public statements made by someone with ties to All Resort Group since the closure on Sept. 14. The elected officials were not scheduled to address the shutdown, but the mayor offered consoling words after her comments. Her voice cracked several times as she spoke. She said there are hundreds of former All Resort Group employees out of work as a result of the shutdown. She said former employees have her contact information and she is attempting to connect them to employment opportunities.
“It’s my integrity and my promise to the community . . . is part of why I was doing so well in the business. And I feel as though I’ve made promises and I’ve let people down, due to, of course, no direct choice of my own,” she said.
She said it was known the firm encountered business challenges, explaining there was a deadline to sell the company. A deal was not reached by the deadline, she said. It was a “rough week,” she told the elected officials.
All Resort Group in late April filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code, a classification that is voluntary and is meant to allow a company to reorganize with the intention of paying debts. The filing listed between $10,000,001 and $50 million in estimated assets and the same dollar range in estimated liabilities. All Resort Group was the umbrella organization for numerous transportation companies, including All Resort Express, Park City Transportation and Lewis Stages. The shutdown occurred after an investment group in Phoenix opted against an acquisition shortly before the deal was expected to be finalized, an All Resort Group minority owner said after the closure.
The closure eliminated a significant player in Park City’s competitive taxi, shuttle and transportation industry. The timing approximately two months before the scheduled start of the ski season is notable as well. Many people headed to Park City during the early part of the ski season are likely beginning to arrange transportation to and from Salt Lake City International Airport.
Petersen Vernon told the mayor and City Council there is not a shared-shuttle service operating in Park City since the shutdown of All Resort Group. Shared shuttles represented approximately one-third of the All Resort Group business, she said, adding that she is talking with another firm to fill that niche.
“There’s always been a level of competition, and this year there’s no room for competition. We need to work together,” she said.
She also said there are other firms, described as black-car companies, that can absorb some of the former All Resort Group business. She said the transportation industry must cooperate. She said other companies are able to increase their capacities.
“We have the resources. All of these companies are willing to step up their inventory. Every single person I’ve spoken with is not only willing to step up their inventory, but they are actively stepping up their inventory,” she said.
Petersen Vernon also said she is attempting to contact All Resort Group clients who booked transportation prior to the shutdown. She said, as an example, another firm will provide transportation during the Sundance Film Festival.
“I’m trying to reach out to people that I know of that have paid for their groups and are expecting rides. We need to be aware that, moving forward, people are going to arrive at the airport expecting us to be there and we will not be there,” she said.
The mayor thanked Petersen Vernon for displaying integrity. The elected officials rarely speak at length about issues that are not scheduled for debate.
“All of us are hurting with you. Because we know what this means to you personally. We know what this means to your employees,” Thomas told her.
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A group of Park City residents on Monday night criticized the prospects of City Hall developing a workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town. The people at a Marsac Building event raised a range of issues.