If the latest revelations are any indication, you're going to be hearing a lot more about dirty doings at what was, until a week ago, the largest payroll company in the entertainment business.
From a article in today's Los Angeles Times business section:
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, investment firm GoldenTree Asset Management said Axium's former principals, John Visconti and Ron Garber, treated the company "as their own personal piggy bank to finance their extravagant lifestyles."
Visconti and Garber, according to the suit, used Axium funds to lease private jets and ultra-luxury cars, including Rolls-Royces and Aston Martins, for personal use; paid for personal gifts and vacations using corporate credit cards; made personal political contributions with Axium money; maintained secret bank accounts; and spent the money "without any apparent business purpose."
GoldenTree said it extended $130 million in financing from 2004 to 2007. Last week, GoldenTree swept $22 million from company accounts that had secured the loan on which Axium defaulted, said Howard Ehrenberg, the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee who oversees Axium's finances.
New York-based GoldenTree said it was unable to determine the precise amount of monetary damages but believed them to top $87.5 million.
A juicy article on Defamer.com goes into some details that the Times probably decided weren't appropriate for a PG-13-rated newspaper:
... We got our hands on PDFs of the court filings. We read through the 35-page document and picked out the juiciest moments for your enjoyment. We're talking multiple identities, cash payments to former supermodels for "consulting" and all sorts of other general shadiness not seen since the halcyon days of Enron. Trust us, it's GOLD.
Given that this is a PG-13-rated blog, we'll leave it to the curious to follow the above link.
The Times article interviewed former Axium employees who have been left jobless by the sudden closing of the company, and probably far down on the list of debtors with claims to be settled. The IATSE has already staked its claim on behalf of its members, and as a large labor union will be higher on the creditor list than individual, non-union claimants.
So far, it doesn't appear that any TAG members have had bounced paychecks (if you have had any problems related to the shutdown, contact us immediately). If the worst has happened, of course, the Animation Guild and the IATSE will go to bat for affected members.