The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

DCT Inc bankruptcy:
Detroit’s local mini-Enron scandal

Apr 15, 2002

In February, auto assembly tools supplier DCT (Detroit Central Tool) went belly up, laid off its last 400 workers with only 30 minutes notice, and left hundreds of its employees with no final pay checks, hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills, and no way to get money from their 401(K) retirement accounts. Hundreds of small vendors of DCT equipment were also left with tens of thousands of dollars of unpaid bills.

According to auditors looking into the DCT bankruptcy, DCT’s executives lived high off the hog for years, while cheating everyone they could. The company used a variety of subsidiary companies to provide perks like country club memberships and expensive company-paid entertainment and trips for its executives. The companies top brass were known in the industry to frequently enjoy more lavish perks than even those enjoyed by executives of the Big Three auto companies.

Just a month before the company went belly up, DCT executives, their families and friends were wining and dining in high style at the Detroit auto show preview at the company’s expense. Tickets to the preview alone cost the company over $10,000, not to mention all the money spent on transportation, dinner and drinks at the Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Point Farms.

The biggest losers in this shell game that the owners of DCT carried off were the DCT workers, who not only lost their jobs, their last paychecks and their pensions, but now also owe medical bills. After them comes the pension fund for Detroit city employees. It has been left with unrepaid loans plus interest of over 32 million dollars. The City of Detroit not only is ready to give tax money over to all the corporations, it does the same thing with its workers’ pension money.

The owners and top executives of DCT are clearly nothing more than common crooks and swindlers. They resemble the executives of Enron Corporation only on a smaller scale.

How many more Enrons and DCTs are there? Many. Their operations were in fact no different than those at most medium and large size companies today. It’s just that at Enron and DCT, the sad state of the economy revealed them for what they all are: crooks.