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Staffing firms, others settling in Chimes case

November 06 2009
Staffing Industry Analysts North American Daily News

A number of staffing firms and others have settled claims from the bankruptcy of Ensemble Chimes Global, the former vendor management system that filed for bankruptcy in January 2008. But a significant number remain outstanding.

The claims involve monies paid out by Chimes back to 90 days before it filed for bankruptcy. Under bankruptcy law, those payments may have to be returned. Notices about the claims, called "inquiries/demand letters for preference" were mailed earlier this year.

Of  the 1,200 claims, bankruptcy trustee Howard Ehrenberg said Thursday he expects fewer than 500 of the cases will still not be settled by Jan. 8 when lawsuits must be filed on remaining claims.

"I am attempting to settle all the cases as efficiently and as reasonably as I can," Ehrenberg said. "To the extent that I can reduce the demand based upon evidence of a valid defense, I am, of course, doing so."

The 1,200 notices sent involved approximately $200 million in claims, but the total monies returned by staffing firms and others is less because of the settlements. Ehrenberg said the settlements are often for much less than in the individual demand letters. Many of those who received notices are also creditors to Chimes and are entitled to offsets, he said.

The notices were sent to staffing firms and other companies. Chimes' parent company, Axium International Inc., was also a provider of payroll services to the entertainment industry. Axium filed for bankruptcy the day before Chimes.

Ehrenberg said other legal actions against the former owners of Axium are proceeding.

Chimes at one time ranked as the largest VMS.

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