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Decatur firm makes surprise closure announcement, leaving hundreds out of work

More than 400 people who work at Akorn Pharmaceuticals in Decatur were told Wednesday they are losing their jobs this week. The company announced it is filing for bankruptcy and closing all U.S. operations.

Published reports indicate the company's CEO Douglas Boothe made a surprise announcement in a video to employees. According to those who viewed it, Boothe indicated the company was no longer able to secure financing and will file Chapter 7 bankruptcy this week.

It went on to say employees will be paid through Thursday and for all accrued vacation time. Insurance benefits will end in a few days.

Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski met with some of the laid off workers Thursday at a job training center.

"There was a woman who was at the WorkNet facility...been there for multiple decades, was in tears. Because this company left her in the middle of the night with no severance, health insurance that's going to expire at the middle of next week," Budzinski said.

Founded in 1971, Akorn's website said it manufactures and markets specialty pharmaceuticals, including prescription, consumer health and animal health products. It manufactures branded and generic products in alternate dosage forms such as ophthalmics, injectables, oral liquids, topicals, inhalants and nasal sprays,

The Gurnee-based company did not issue an official statement. Akorn filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020.

Decatur’s mayor Julie Moore Wolfe told the Herald and Review she is "furious."

Illinois law required businesses with 75 or more full-time employees to provide 60 days advance notice of closures or mass layoffs. Reports are that Akorn never gave a notification.

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