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(Aug. 1, 2001) -- The U.S. bankruptcy court in Los Angeles ordered Focus Media today to bring evidence on September 4 to present its case against a filing by its creditors -- TV stations and Sears Roebuck & Co. -- that would force the Santa Monica, Calif. -- media buying company in chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Last year, Sears said Focus had failed to pay more than $20 million in media invoices. Focus ceased operations last summer.

For a July 20, 2001 deadline, Tom Rubin, Focus founder and former chairman-CEO, failed to appear for a creditor's deposition. As a result, a court order now says he will not be able to appear to testify in the bankrutpcy trial.

The bankruptcy judge already has issued a sanction against Former Focus Chief Financial Officer Thomas Sullivan, and has set a hearing on what financial awards would be issued to creditors on August 28. -- Wayne Friedman

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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