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WINSTON-SALEM, NC (AP) — A mediation deal is increasing the chances that more than 400 former employees of a defunct North Carolina charter airline and jet maintenance company will collect their back pay.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports a bankruptcy trustee and the co-owners of Pace Airlines Inc. agree a $1 million insurance settlement will go into the accounts being divided up.

The company’s account would approach $2 million if the settlement is approved. The state Labor Department says the company’s workers are owed $1.5 million.

The company collapsed in in 2009. The bankruptcy trustee says the co-owners harmed the company in ways that led to its insolvency.

Former CEO William Rodgers faces criminal charges of failing to pay group health-insurance premiums and failing to give employees notice their health insurance wasn’t paid up.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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