Creditors pursuing Thames Printing for more than $600,000 owed

Posted Aug. 25, 2011, at 5:19 a.m.

NORWICH, Conn. — Three of the Thames Printing Co.’s creditors are seeking to force the company into bankruptcy in a bid to recoup more than $600,000 they say the company owes them.

The creditors, all manufacturers and suppliers of paper and paper products, filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Thames this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Hartford. The action, filed under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code, could lead to the liquidation of Thames’ assets, if a judge grants the petition.

Several other Thames creditors have filed civil suits against the company, its owner Neil Blinderman and others, claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of unpaid bills.

Thames Printing stopped operations Aug. 15 when Norwich Public Utilities shut off electrical service to the printer’s building at 1 Wisconsin Ave. in the Stanley Israelite Norwich Business Park. Work at the site has not resumed, according to Charles Timon of Norwich, a longtime Thames employee who said workers have not been paid for their last week on the job.

A spokesman for the state Department of Labor said Wednesday that the department has received no notice of a Thames Printing shutdown.

Earlier this month, sources close to the situation told The Day that an executive of GHP Media Inc., a West Haven printer, addressed a meeting of Thames employees, telling them Thames was transferring its business to GHP.

In the bankruptcy petition filed Monday, three creditors claim Thames Printing owes them a total of nearly $619,000. Lindenmeyr Munroe, whose headquarters are in Purchase, N.Y., claims it is owed $551,652. Case Paper Co. of Harrison, N.Y., claims it is owed $65,472, and Ariva Distribution Inc. of Cheshire claims it is owed $1,674.

David Van Grouw, a Roseland, N.J.-based attorney for the creditors, said involuntary bankruptcy is a way for creditors to pursue debtors in certain situations. At least three creditors have to be involved in the case and the amounts owed cannot be in dispute, he said.

Importantly, Van Grouw said, such cases involve the bankruptcy court’s appointment of a trustee to investigate the debtor’s finances and determine whether the debtor has assets that can be used to pay creditors.

A trustee’s probe of Thames Printing could affect the company’s transfer of its accounts to another company, Van Grouw said.

“They’ll look at transfers made prior to the transaction and what led to (Thames Printing’s) demise,” he said. “If there’s been a transfer of assets or property that’s improper … that would be something that a trustee would look at.”

An involuntary bankruptcy would be pursued under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code in the case of a debtor that is reorganizing and continuing to operate, while a filing under Chapter 7 involves a debtor that is being dissolved.

“We understand they’re cleaning the place out,” Van Grouw said of Thames Printing, where, he said, notice of the bankruptcy petition was served Wednesday.

(c)2011 The Day (New London, Conn.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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