Local News

Insurance regulators arrest owner of defunct airline

Posted September 22, 2009 4:09 p.m. EDT

— State Department of Insurance agents on Tuesday arrested the owner of Pace Airlines Inc. on charges that he abruptly ended health insurance coverage for company employees.

Pace, a charter airline and maintenance company that operated out of Piedmont Triad International Airport, suspended operations last Thursday after laying off its 337 employees in recent weeks. The layoffs followed the loss of a major maintenance contract with Continental Airlines Inc.

DOI agents arrested Pace owner and Chief Executive William Charles Rodgers, 59, of Liberty, Mo., when he arrived at the airport in Greensboro, authorities said in a statement. He was charged with willful failure to pay group health insurance premiums.

State law requires that companies provide a 45-day notice before terminating group health insurance for employees.

Additional charges are expected, authorities said. DOI investigators plan to meet with former Pace employees next Tuesday morning at Lawrence Joel Vets Coliseum in Winston-Salem to gather more information in the case.