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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane-based Vandervert Construction placed in receivership

This apartment project in the 1300 block of West College Avenue is a Vandevert Construction project Photographed Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Vandervert Construction Inc., a Spokane-based general contractor responsible for hundreds of projects throughout the Pacific Northwest during the past 40 years, has been placed in receivership.

It was unclear Tuesday whether the company is headed toward liquidation or a financial restructuring that could save it.

Spokane attorney Barry Davidson has been appointed as the receiver for Vandervert Construction in Spokane Superior Court. The court appointment will allow him to manage Vanderverts’ assets and business affairs for the benefit of the company owner, Tim Stulc, and its creditors.

Davidson has the authority to file for bankruptcy under either a Chapter 7 liquidation or Chapter 11 business reorganization, according to documents filed Friday in Spokane Superior Court.

Neither Davidson nor Stulc returned phone calls seeking comment Tuesday. Company assets are listed at $14.4 million in court documents, and company debts are about the same amount.

Meanwhile, Vandervert’s financial troubles are rippling through the construction industry. The company owes money to about 300 subcontractors, according to court documents. Some said Vandervert fell behind on payments months ago.

Richard Skelton, general manager of Advanced Fire Systems in Spokane, learned about the receivership Tuesday morning at a work site. His company has a $50,000 contract with Vandervert to install a fire suppression system at the College Apartments in Kendall Yards, where construction continued Tuesday.

Installation of the system is 95 percent complete, but Advanced Fire Systems hasn’t been paid for work that began in November or December, Skelton said.

“It’s not devastating, but it’s certainly an amount we want to recover,” he said. However, “I’ll be surprised if we see any of it.”

Ammonit Decoration has been installing exterior facades on Puget Sound-area hotels where Vandervert is the general contractor, said Ben Yelfimov, a co-owner of the Fernwood, Washington, company.

Vandervert has been a good company to work with, he said, but it started falling behind on payments about seven to eight months ago.

The company’s claims against Vandervert are listed at $532,000 in court documents, but the amount owed is actually much larger, Yelfimov said. For a subcontractor, it’s a challenging situation, he said.

“I still have to pay my suppliers, my taxes and my employees,” Yelfimov said.

Other creditors listed in court documents include the state Department of Revenue, which has a $2.1 million tax warrant against Vandervert Construction, and the Internal Revenue Service.

Vandervert Construction, with corporate offices at 608 E. Holland Ave., was founded in 1975 by Dick Vandervert. In 2011, he sold the company to Stulc, who is listed as company president and sole owner in Friday’s filings.

“We were a very good, profitable company, doing about $90 million in business per year,” Dick Vandervert said. “I don’t know what happened after I sold it.”

Dick Vandervert remains the president and owner of Vandervert Developments, which owns hotels and manages commercial properties.

Vandervert Construction has a high profile locally. Among the company’s recent work are the renovation of Steam Plant Square in downtown Spokane and construction of My Fresh Basket grocery store in Kendall Yards.

The company’s website lists developments across the Northwest, including restaurants, hotels, offices, retail space and cinemas.

Business Editor Paul W. Smith contributed to this report.