In Bankruptcy News

You’ve probably heard of ITT Educational Services, the nation-wide technical college. For years their ads have appeared on the back pages of magazines. In September they had 8,000 employees, 40,000 students and 138 locations. In a two week period they went from that to just five employees.

ITT filed Chapter 7 in September. The cause of their demise is primarily due to the Department of Education’s drastically reducing and eliminating student aid to the college. The case was filed in Indianapolis, where ITT was headquartered.

The court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, Deborah Caruso, is faced with consolidating literal mountains of documents spread across the 138 locations into one central depository, where she and her team will spend months reviewing records to get a clear picture of what ITT owned and who it owed when it closed its doors. That’s why every day for weeks pallets of documents have been delivered to an unheated warehouse. Each pallet contains 40 bankers boxes of documents.  In addition to student records there are financial records, pension documents, correspondence and lawsuits to contend with.

ITT began digitizing its records in 2001. However, it’s been in business since 1946, so you can imagine the volume of paper that’s out there. In addition, the 138 locations had classrooms with computers, desks, fixtures, furniture, filing cabinets, lamps and all the other physical items found in a business.

Besides the papers, Ms. Caruso has taken control of the $72 million pension and $100 million 401(k) plan ITT had for its employees.

Initially, Caruso expected about 20,000 boxes of documents. That estimate has since doubled. Caruso put it this way: “When the plane crashes, there’s going to be scattered wreckage.”

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