As reported earlier on SCIFI.radio, the shutdown of luxury gaming furniture maker Geek Chic this past summer took its customers by surprise. The gaming community soon discovered that the company had filed for Chapter 7 liquidation in Federal court. Many customers reported that they had made final payments on their orders. Some had even just scheduled delivery. But many more clients had been making installment payments. In all cases, these customers are left holding the bag and have to get in line behind other creditors.
Not a Word from Geek Chic
Despite founder Robert Gifford’s promise to be forthcoming with information regarding the next steps and contact information, the Everett, WA company’s Facebook page has not been updated since his June 13th announcement. Their website, GeekChicHQ.com went offline a few weeks later following their July 10 bankruptcy filing.
Since June, the only official information available regarding the bankruptcy has been gleaned from legal industry websites such as Inforuptcy. While the majority of the information is behind a paywall, it is still possible to see that Geek Chic hired a bankruptcy attorney and that the court appointed a Trustee to oversee the liquidation and sale of assets.
Information obtained through other sites showed that much of the unused lumber and a fair amount of tooling had also been repossessed after the shutdown. This reduced the amount owed to creditors, but likewise reduced the assets available for sale.
Impending Auction, Furniture on the Block
As of the end of September, the auctioneer handling the sale of assets had only listed a set of office furniture among the lots which were mostly powered wood working equipment. This lead to concern and speculation online about what had happened to the completed and nearly completed pieces that customers had paid off. Some time at the beginning of October, James G. Murphy Co. updated the page revealing some 30 custom tables will be among the lots to be sold. This is slightly over half the total lots.
A couple of these are the demonstration pieces that Geek Chic staff would show off at conventions, However, their business model was that construction would not begin until the piece was fully paid for. This means that among the lots are a tables that have been fully paid for. Other lots are tables that are partially completed and a handful that have been already packaged for delivery.
The auction will be held in the wood shop of its former location. In addition, bidders can take part online. It is perhaps adding insult to injury that clients who have fully paid for their furniture may have to buy it again and pay for shipping as well.
Geek Chic also offered matching chairs, but these are conspicuously absent from the auction lots as of the time of this writing. The Trustee’s office mentioned chairs as well as tables being inventoried, so there may be further additions. Posts made the Geek Chic’s Facebook page and elsewhere indicate that these were outsourced to at least one other firm.
Filing a claim
On September 27, the court-appointed Trustee, Virginia Andrews Burdette mailed out a letter to all current customers with pending orders. The letter advises them of the upcoming sale – tentatively scheduled for October 24. Claims should be mailed in before that date.
The letter instructs clients to mail in their Proof of Claim (PDF) as soon as possible. Claimants are specifically advised to pay special attention to paragraph 12 of the form. In the case of people who made deposits, the maximum amount that can be recovered appears to be $2,850. Given the approximate $7M in outstanding debt owed, it is doubtful that anything approaching this amount will be paid back.
The letter does not list the mailing address to return the completed form, but in conversations with the Trustee’s office, they should be mailed to the following address:
Clerk’s Office – US Bankruptcy Court
700 Stewart Street, Ste. 6301
Seattle, WA 98101
Referencing the case number, 17-13072-MLB, on the envelope is likely to help expedite the proper filing.