Bidders gearing up for Axium auction Jan. 31

An auction for bankrupt payroll service company Axium International is scheduled to take place Jan. 31, with an opening bid of $2.5 million, according to court appointed trustee Howard Ehrenberg. He expects multiple bidders.

Fallout from Axium’s sudden closing earlier this month left entertainment companies holding worthless paychecks and about 400 Axium employees without jobs.

Wisconsin was counting on an Axium office opening in Milwaukee January to accommodate its anticipated flood of feature business. Last year it was rumored an Axium office would open in Chicago.

Former Axium owners are having additional problems. John Visconti and Ron Garber are being sued by Goldentree Asset Management, Axium’s chief lender, for allegedly “diverting untold millions of dollars in cash and other assets to secret bank accounts” and “using Axium as their own personal piggy bank to finance their extravagant lifestyles.”

Among the charges in the suit: The partners leased ultra luxury cars at an annual cost of $462,000; $500,000-$1 million was used for private jets for non-business related trips; Axium funds paid for an apartment and automobile for former SI swimsuit model who allegedly received numerous large payments for her work as a consultant, and the defendants used Axium funds to pay the IRS tens of millions of dollars in previously undisclosed tax liabilities.

Details of the suit are contained in a 35-page court document filed in the U. S. District Court (Central District of California division).