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Leading construction company in Carroll files for bankruptcy

Charles J. Miller Inc., a 44-year-old Hampstead construction company that has paved more roads and parking lots than any other contractor in Carroll County, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization after months of legal wrangling over the dissolution of the family-owned company.

The filing this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore follows a flurry of litigation between majority stockholders Charles J. Miller Jr., president of the company, and his brother Donald Miller, and a bank's decision to foreclose on nearly $15 million in loans to the company.

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"We're confident Chapter 11 will be successfully resolved," said James A. Vidmar Jr., the attorney representing the company. "We need to get the creditors to come up with a plan of restructuring, which we'll take to the judge to approve."

He said major lenders, including Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co., and the company's top 20 creditors will form a committee to devise a strategy to lead the company back to financial health.

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"This is a company that has been very successful for 44 years," Vidmar said. "This company does excellent work and always has made money until it hit this last year."

Founded in 1959, C.J. Miller does excavation and paving work, and installs storm drain pipes, utilities and sewer systems. The bankruptcy filing did not include a complete listing of assets and liabilities. But in records from civil suits involving the brothers, Charles Miller said the company had been profitable for the past four years, and in 2002 had income of more than $1 million before taxes.

C.J. Miller and its affiliate, Miller Asphalt Products Inc., have 340 employees and are working on at least 90 construction jobs.

"We don't anticipate any layoffs, hiccups on wages or benefits," Vidmar said.


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