In the six days since news broke that Axium, payroll company to a number of Hollywood studios, ceased operations after declaring emergency Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we have received countless tips about the company's spotty business practices over the last six months or so. Many of the tips revolved around John Visconti, one of the firm's principal owners and a former chair and CEO of the company. He sounds like a real peach! His CV is full of bizarre fun
facts allegations like this: there's a possibility that Visconti isn't his real last name (still digging on that one) and that he used to have bullet proof glass in his office on Wilshire. More goodies, including a handy cheat sheet of the events that led to the company's demise and loss of up to $500 million in liabilities, after the jump!
This handy summary of what went down in the last few months of Axium's history comes from a tipster.
Things are worse than they seem and I bet this story is going to get uglier and uglier. Nobody knows any of this for sure. But here are some rumors that had been floating around the company.
1. Axium 'forgot' to pay some pretty high tax bills recently.
2. The 2 formally in charge, John Visconte, and Ron Garber, used to work in Wilshire and had bullet proof glass in their office.
3. Those same two were let go from their positions about a month ago. No warning. No nothing.
4. Two months ago the company laid off all their contractors and many employees. I would guess the total number of laid off: 60
5. The company was spread VERY thin. We offered things like check-cashing services to personal loans to employees to a real estate division (that nobody really knew anything about).
6. Bottom line - the company was fucked. Most people believed there were shady things going on. But i guess what we didn't know - didn't hurt us.
Um, wow. Being the intrepid gumshoes that we are, we did some additional digging and found out that two of Visconti's other companies, Unity America Fund and Park Avenue Productions, were found to part of a 2005 campaign contributions reprimand that Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently received. Keep those tips coming, we'll have more on this story as the week progresses.