Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Erpenbeck boxes open at stadium

By James McNair, jmcnair@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The fall of the Tristate's fourth-biggest home builder has opened an opportunity for football lovers: a pair of skyboxes for Cincinnati Bengals home games.

If you have any additional information on the business dealings of the Erpenbeck Co. or Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky -- or on the involvement of any parties not yet identified in our coverage -- please email Enquirer business reporter James McNair at jmcnair@enquirer.com or Kentucky Enquirer reporter Patrick Crowley at pcrowley@enquirer.com.
        The Erpenbeck Co. had used its two catered, air-conditioned suites to entertain and to sublet them to other contractors, Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky and to the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau. The suites were under a long-term lease but were no longer affordable at $104,000 a year, a former Erpenbeck employee who asked not to be named said.

        With lawsuits and overdue debts raining hard on Erpenbeck, the company laid off 40 of its 50 remaining employees May 2 and is coping with an FBI bank fraud investigation. No charges have been filed.

        Under its former president, A. William Erpenbeck, the company became a pleasure vehicle for employees, spouses and friends. Once a year, it took more than 150 people on Caribbean cruises. It also owned an airplane and a suite at the Firstar Center, an earlier casualty of corporate belt-tightening.

        Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said the team does not discuss its current or former suite-holders.

        Tom Caradonio, president of the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the group dropped out of the Erpenbeck skybox before last season.

        “It wasn't working well for us, so we dropped out at that time,” he said.


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