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Claims may soon be filed in Chimes case

November 26 2008

Legal claims may soon be filed against certain third parties in the bankruptcy case of the Ensemble Chimes Global vendor management system, bankruptcy trustee Howard Ehrenberg said Tuesday. "We're continuing to perform our investigations and I think we're getting pretty close to making claims against certain third parties," Ehrenberg said. The identities of those third parties are not yet being released.

Ensemble Chimes Global — at one time the largest VMS — filed for bankruptcy last January. Its owner, Axium International Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection a few days before after its lender, GoldenTree Asset Management, swept its bank accounts amid concerns over Axium's financial situation. A lawsuit by GoldenTree at the time said Axium's owners lived a lavish lifestyle that included $462,000 a year to lease luxury cars and weekly payments of $8,000 in cash delivered by armored car in addition to their salaries.

Tuesday, Ehrenberg said the Internal Revenue Service made $80 million in claims against the debtors in the Ensemble Chimes Global case — including $50 million as a priority claim ahead of unsecured creditors. And there are several hundred million in claims filed by other creditors, although some of those appear to be duplicate claims.

Ehrenberg also said $1.8 million in management fees owed under Ensemble Chimes Global contracts have been paid, but a few customers are continuing to dispute a court order to pay those fees. If those customers don't pay, the court has allowed for the fees to be collected from staffing firms involved.

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