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Friday, March 14, 2014

Strange new twist in the Copar saga

Copar CEO in the wind, quarry operation’s future unclear
love animated GIF
Time to go!
By Will Collette

For the past month or so, there have been rumors about severe financial problems at the infamous Connecticut-based Copar Quarry with operations in Charlestown, Westerly and Richmond. 

I found that Copar had taken on even more debt recently, that their deal to buy and ultimately build and run the Richmond Commons project had fallen through, and that the company was having more legal and internal problems.

The Westerly Sun reported that Copar had not been making payments to the court-appointed lawyer who was supposed to be monitoring the company to make sure it was abiding by the orders of the court. Copar made a partial payment after this lawyer filed a complaint with Judge Brian Stern who has been presiding over the Copar litigation.

Dale Faulkner at the Sun has been doing some great investigative work and he just published a new article confirming one of the rumors – the Copar’s founder and CEO, not to mention career criminal, Sam Cocopard was in the wind. Dale got confirmation from Randy Roberge, Copar’s resident agent who is not actually resident at all (he lives in Connecticut) that Cocopard had left the company, but Roberge would not say why.

Cocopard’s cell phone number is “no longer functional.”

Faulkner also reported on one of Copar’s most challenging legal problems to date. Hess Oil is suing Copar to collect $170,575 for unpaid diesel bills run up by Copar Trucking, the subsidiary owned by Copar to lease all those big purple trucks you see all over our area. 

Hess has taken steps to attach Copar assets to collect on their bills. Read the Hess Oil complaint against Copar Trucking by clicking here. To read their move to secure assets by clicking here.

That might be a little problematic since Copar Trucking LLC is somewhat fire-walled from Copar Industries and Copar Quarries. Plus, as I reported in an earlier article, all of Copar’s assets are pledged, sometimes more than once, to its many creditors.

Among those creditors is, ironically, Sam Cocopard himself, who made sure that he secured a piece of whatever assets survive Copar’s inevitable collapse for himself in a UCC filing in November 2010. The other element of oddness is that, at least technically, Sam Cocopard is Copar’s owner, although arguably its creditors, with Phil Armetta leading them, really own Copar.

In my August article, I listed 29 current loan-related documents filed by Cocopard’s various Copar operations between 2010 and June 2013. I noted that many of these loans appeared to use the same collateral.

I have found an additional nine loan-related documents filed by Copar since them. See the table below and note that for many of these new loans, Copar is pledging all of its assets as collateral, which is tricky business given that these assets are already pledged in various combinations to other lenders.

It makes Sam Cocopard’s abrupt disappearance a lot more understandable. It also makes Hess Oil’s effort to seize Copar assets very problematic.

UPDATED: COPAR borrowing, August 2013 – January 2, 2014
[Refer to earlier list by clicking here]

UCC File #
Performance Asset Group
Copar Quarries of Lisbon CT
Vehicles, Equipment, Fixtures, Machinery and proceeds
Westerly Granite
Copar Quarries of Westerly
None listed. This filing is an amendment
Railroad Resources Inc
Copar Quarries of Westerly
None listed. This filing is an amendment
M2 Lease Funds LLC
Copar Industries
Leased equipment & proceeds
Business Credit Direct
Copar Industries
All assets
Business Credit Direct
Copar Quarries of Lisbon
All assets
Business Credit Direct
Copar Quarries of RI (Morrone in Charlestown)
All assets
Crossroads Financial LLC
Copar Trucking & Copar Quarries
Assets, accounts, inventory, chattel paper & proceeds
Crossroads Financial LLC
Copar Quarries of RI (Bradford)
Assets, accounts, inventory, chattel paper, general intangibles & proceeds

NOTES to this table. The "Performance Asset Group" is linked to Copar's main financier Phil Armetta. They, Westerly Granite and Copar entered into an unusual deal where Westerly Granite underwrote the Performance Asset Group's loan to their Bradford renter Copar, putting their Bradford quarry up as collateral. This very complex transaction is detailed HERE.

These recent events leave a number of questions unanswered. One very large question is “who is running Copar?” There is activity at the Bradford site, but it is unclear who is in charge and who is making sure the company abides by the recent court-blessed settlement Copar signed with the Town of Westerly.

Who is running the Copar site in Charlestown (the former Morrone site on Route 91)? Who is running the Richmond site on Route 138?

It probably isn’t Randy Roberge since he is a disbarred mortgage broker, not a quarry manager.

What role is Copar financier Phil Armetta or his family playing in Copar’s operations?

Is Cocopard’s departure good news or bad news for Westerly, Charlestown and Richmond? Or could things get worse at Copar’s three operating local sites?

Finally, if Sam Cocopard IS on the run, he might want to take it slow or else he might get another one of these:

Connecticut Judiciary database