Meridian-Chiles public relations and advertising firm closes and files for bankruptcy in Lexington

ctruman@herald-leader.comMay 21, 2014 

Lexington public relations and advertising firm Meridian-Chiles filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Wednesday after closing its doors on Tuesday.

The company's attorney, W. Thomas Bunch Sr., confirmed that the business had closed.

The company listed total liabilities of nearly $5.2 million in its filing in United States Bankruptcy Court in Lexington. It listed $676,324 in assets.

Lawrence Chiles, chairman of the board, could not be reached for comment.

Bunch said a bankruptcy trustee would be appointed by the court in the next few days. Notices to creditors will probably be sent out in the next week, he said.

The bankruptcy petition includes a document stating that Chiles is the sole owner of shares of the company. Meridian Communications merged with Jordan-Chiles Advertising in 2008 to create one of the top five advertising firms in Kentucky. At that time the company's annual billing was $10 million to $12 million.

The bankruptcy petition was filed under the name Jordan-Chiles Inc., but noted that the company had done business as Meridian-Chiles and Meridian Chiles Communications.

Only one secured creditor is listed: Thomas Johnson of Milwaukee, who holds a $375,000 claim against the company.

Creditors listed as holding unsecured claims and amounts owed include $2.5 million to Central Bank; $262,528 to WKYT-TV in Lexington; $252,259 to IMG College; $224,749 to WLEX-TV in Lexington; $175,191 to Time Warner Cable Media; $103,756 to Clear Channel radio; $45,228 to WHAS-TV in Louisville; $28,514 to the Lexington Herald-Leader; and $28,003 to WTVQ-TV in Lexington.

The list of creditors also includes $14,701 owed to Fortune Business Centre, where the company had its offices, on a rental agreement. The company also owes various state and local taxes and unemployment insurance contributions.

Among its personal property, the company listed $50 petty cash, $13,000 in a Central Bank checking account and $23,000 in a Republic Bank checking account.

Chiles is cited as a creditor with an estimated $32,630 in unreimbursed business expenses. Lawrence and Jane Chiles are listed as creditors with a $312,647 loan to the business.

Bunch said that since the business filed for bankruptcy, the individuals within the business can be listed as creditors. In some cases those claims are placed behind those of other creditors, he said.

Cheryl Truman: (859)231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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