Bankruptcy Woes Trickle Down To American Airlines' Vendors - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Bankruptcy Woes Trickle Down To American Airlines' Vendors

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The effects of AA's bankruptcy are being felt on their vendors. The effects of AA's bankruptcy are being felt on their vendors.
American Airlines owes Roger Agee's printing company $30,000, but he's still accepting work from the ailing airline to help it get back on its feet for the good of the Tulsa economy. American Airlines owes Roger Agee's printing company $30,000, but he's still accepting work from the ailing airline to help it get back on its feet for the good of the Tulsa economy.
Businesses like Diversified Printing should file a notice of debt with the court handling American's case. Businesses like Diversified Printing should file a notice of debt with the court handling American's case.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Turbulent times at American Airlines. The company's money problems are trickling down to the small businesses that help keep the company running.

American Airlines and its parent company AMR contract with mom and pop shops all over the country to build parts and supply products.

Now, many of those businesses are waiting for payday.

Roger Agee says running a print shop is like turning a page; it's something new each time.

"You get to work with a lot of local businesses and help them out."

He considers himself lucky to count Tulsa's largest employer as one of his customers. Agee's Diversified Printing handles American Airlines' company newsletters and brochures.

"Kind of our bread and butter that supports us. Helps us keep the doors open and pay our employees daily."

Writing those paychecks is getting harder because American Airlines still owes Agee a check worth $30,000.

"It's a lot of money to most people I know and it hurts."

But to the airline, it's just another chunk of the $29 billion it owes to businesses large and small around the world.

Tulsa bankruptcy attorney Mitchell Garrett says there is a legal process which determines how vendors get paid.

"There's something a court has set up called order of priority for vendors. Secured vendors get paid first. Unsecured vendors get paid second."

Garrett says secured vendors - big companies like Boeing - get priority. Unsecured vendors - small guys like Roger Agee - have to wait in line.

Agee says, "It just basically sounds like it's gone and it's going to be hard to fill that void."

But, he says, instead of abandoning American, now's the time to double down. He has accepted and is already working on new jobs for the company.

"It's a big part of Tulsa. Without them, Tulsa's - it's a big part of the economy. I want to do my part to help support them."

Agee's keeping faith the company will pay its bills -- as he helps rebuild the airline that made Tulsa fly.

American Airlines did not return our calls to comment on this story.

The Tulsa bankruptcy lawyer says businesses should file a notice of debt with the court handling American's case.

That move gives owners a seat at the table when what's left of American's funds are divvied up.

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