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Creditor files suit to sell off Parsons

$658,000 promissory note unpaid

ASHLAND -- Parsons Industries, a local manufacturer of secondary wood products from mill ends, has failed to make payments on a $658,000 promissory note and the creditor is seeking liquidation of the firm's equipment, according to a suit filed Thursday in Jackson County Court.

A secretary at the firm on Thursday said company president Michael Rassmussen was not available until Monday and his whereabouts were unknown.

Heller Financial Leasing, a Delaware corporation with offices in Chicago, has filed suit against Parsons Industries, Rassmussen and his partner Bruce L. Engels.

The suit claims that Heller entered into a security agreement with the Ashland mill on Aug. 28, 1997, and that Parsons Industries has since failed to make monthly payments of $15,747.42 on Sept. 4, Oct. 4, Nov. 4, Dec. 4 and Jan. 4.

The suit seeks $550,489.49 plus interest at 11 percent per year from Aug. 4 until paid in full, plus $8,298.96 in late charges.

The security agreement also indemnifies Heller for any legal costs in collecting the debt.

Listed as collateral on the loan are the company's five slat lines, mousetrap line, trim end system, compressor, saw filing and maintenance equipment, and all rolling stock. Heller demands that the collateral be disassembled, crated and removed at Parsons' expense.

The suit states that their demands have not been met, and the equipment is wrongfully detained.

Parsons was purchased by a group of Portland investors headed by Rassmussen, formerly of GE Capital, in September 1997. At that time, Parsons claimed annual sales of $7 million.

The company has employed as many as 90 people, making items such as mousetrap blanks, wine racks and knife holders.

Parsons Pine Products was founded more than 50 years ago by Jim Parsons.

Parsons and then-President Jerry Sivin sold their interest in September 1997, citing problems with limited wood supplies and rising costs.