Denní Hlasatel -- February 03, 1909Bohemian-American Capital in Jeopardy
"If we cannot have on hand at least $10,000 by Friday evening, our business will be ruined," proclaimed the chairman of the Bohemian corporation known as the Hudson Coal Company last night. The concern owns coal mines in Indiana. This portentous message was, however, no news, as rumors to that effect had been current for a week and had been discussed at a meeting of the concern held in the Bohemian-American Hall, on West Eighteenth Street.
Another meeting is called for Friday in which the stockholders of the Hudson Coal Co. are to decide whether to produce the $10,000 in question, since they had on former occasions deposited about $125,000 for the enterprise, or to leave the business to its fate; and there is little doubt that the concern will perish if the money is not raised. This would mean a terrible blow for the stockholders, who number one hundred and forty, and some of whom have risked their entire savings, ranging from five hundred to sixteen hundred dollars.
We do not want to write of this matter in any other way than that in which it 2was treated at the meeting of the directors. We are merely pointing to the severe setback that Bohemian-American enterprise shall suffer, if the worst is to happen, and to the concomitant misfortunes for so many families.
At the first meeting called Friday last week, Mr. Vrba after the necessary explanatory remarks, ceded the floor to Mr. Winternitz, the secretary, for the report on the financial condition of the Hudson Coal Co. According to this report the assets are valued at $151,000, including stock as yet unsold to the amount of $45,000. The mines had been purchased for $125,000 two years ago; debts accrued were backed by first mortgage collaterals for $40,000; $10,000 on the mortgage was paid, leaving a mortgage of $30,000, owned by J. W. Rooth of Terre Haute, Indiana, on the property.
There is a host of creditors whose claims demand immediate satisfaction; for instance, miners with unpaid wages to the amount of $5,000; rentals for twenty small houses; taxes and other items, such as $2,000 for powder. The mines are not in operation now as the miners have not been paid for fourteen days and conforming with previous agreements have ceased to work.3
Commenting on these conditions Mr. Winternitz said: "The main reason for our predicament is to be found in the manner in which we started, that is, without money, which also caused the downfall of other Bohemian ventures into the realm of business. We are paying $6,000 in interest, which not only takes away the profit but is also steadily eating up our capital. It seems that fate is against us.
"First our property was damaged by fire, then we went thru a costly period of strikes and finally we had to buy our own money. Thus, for instance, we sold coal to a firm on a sixty-day basis; as in the meantime we lacked the money for wages, we had to grant heavy discounts to induce the firm to pay before due time. On another occasion we sold our claims to professional collectors at a commission of two percent of our earnings per month, amounting to twenty-four per cent per year. This is the price we paid for our own money. Time also had worked against us. We were producing from five to seven hundred tons of coal per day; than mild weather continually forced us to sell at a loss."4
Mr. Zahrobnik stated that the company had been in the hands of dishonest managers until the arrival of Mr. Vrba.
The only final decision reached was to send $400 in order to forestall the loss of utensils. The meeting which has been called for Friday next will have fateful results.
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