Monday, Feb. 5, 2001 | 10:55 a.m.
The Las Vegas chapter of the Salvation Army is out $34,000 with nothing to show for it after the bankruptcy of a local company put on hold the nonprofit agency's purchase of a truck.
The Salvation Army had been looking for a new truck to haul donations that are not usable to the landfill at Apex. Instead, Controller Gary Zielinski said, all the Salvation Army got was a sales pitch and a promise from Great Basin Trucks of Nevada.
"We were told that they had the truck on their lot here in Las Vegas, but it turned out it was actually in Pennsylvania," Zielinski said. "They deposited our nearly $34,000 check on the second and it cleared our account on the third, the same day that they filed for bankruptcy."
The filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization froze assets, leaving the nonprofit group unable to get its truck, Zielinski said.
"If you're going to file bankruptcy, you know ahead of time, but they never told us. I just think it's a rotten thing."
The Salvation Army has been in contact with the Nevada secretary of state's office and with Mack Trucks in Pennsylvania, Zielinski said.
Great Basin Trucks of Nevada Manager Marc DeCol, who runs the company's truck yard on Losee Road near Cheyenne Avenue, said he could not comment on details of the bankruptcy.
"Everything will work out," DeCol said. "It's just a matter of time."
He hopes to get the truck to the Salvation Army in the next week or two, but could not give any guarantees.
"Everything we do is being dictated by the bankruptcy," he said.
Salvation Army spokesman Charlie Desiderio says that he feels his organization was treated unfairly.
"No one can tell me that one morning you get up and decide to file Chapter 11. It just doesn't work that way," Desiderio said. "That $34,000 is a lot of $10 checks and quarters in the red kettles. We work very hard, and when someone does something like this, it's really a shame."
The Salvation Army was trying to replace a 1979 International dump truck that has been through three engines and recently lost its transmission.
"We get a lot of donations that turn out to be junk, and if we take it to the dump we can drop it for free," Zielinski said. "Now we're going to pile up our Dumpsters faster and it will cost us more to have the city of North Las Vegas haul it away."