Trustee wants Bellue’s son to manage Thinkstream during bankruptcy

    This story has been updated since its original publication to clarify the source of the listing of unsecured creditors that have been identified, add a link to the court document and include a response from Svendson Investments that was received after publication.

    A federal bankruptcy trustee wants Thinkstream founder and CEO Barry Bellue’s son to manage the troubled software company while it is in bankruptcy proceedings—but at a significantly reduced salary.

    In a motion filed late last week, trustee David Rubin asks for the authority to employ Lee Bellue, who prior to the bankruptcy filing was the COO, as well as a director and a stockholder in the company. Rubin proposes paying Bellue $7,000 per month plus benefits—a substantial reduction from his previously earned $200,000 annual salary. Bellue owns 6.39% of the outstanding stock in the company; his father, 26.55%.

    Bellue began working for Thinkstream in 2008 after owning and operating a convenience store construction business. Rubin notes that Bellue “provides valuable management services in coordinating projects between customers and the debtor’s technology employees. … The employment of Lee is in the best interest of the estate and its creditors.”

    Rubin is also asking for a federal bankruptcy judge’s permission to pay $46,000 in back wages, salaries and taxes to seven employees, including Paul San Soucie, vice president for customer relations, and CFO Morris Alexander. The motion seeks more than $15,198 for one employee identified only as Thinkstream’s “lead technology engineer whose services are vital to the debtor.” Court records indicate the company has a total of 10 employees on the payroll.

    Another of Rubin’s filings indicates that Thinkstream’s two largest creditors—First NBC Bank of New Orleans and TSB Ventures—may have overlapping claims on the company’s contracts, licenses, equipment and other collateral. FNBC alleges it is owed $6.74 million; TSB Ventures, nearly $9.1 million.

    Meanwhile, the names of those owed money by Thinkstream continues to grow. Among its 20 largest unsecured creditors in Baton Rouge, according to a listing the trustee filed in federal bankruptcy court: three local dentists—Dr. Robert Westerman, Dr. William Couvillion and Dr. Marty Saltzman; Glen Redd, a top executive with The Newtron Group; and Svendson Investments, whose members include grandchildren of Turner Industries founder Bert Turner. However, a Svendson Investments spokesman said Tuesday the firm is not a creditor of Thinkstream. See the trustee’s listing here.

    A hearing on Rubin’s motions is scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 12 in Baton Rouge bankruptcy court. Read a recent Business Report cover story on Thinkstream and its financial troubles.

    —Penny Font

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