Ex-Ezenia execs get $60k in severance settlements



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Ezenia has settled the severance claims of two former executives for almost $60,000, but the largest claim, of its former CEO, remains unresolved.The executives' claims have languished since last September, when the publicly traded software company, then headquartered in Nashua, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.Ezenia settled the smaller claim of former chief operating officer Tom McCann at the end of last month for $19,000. McCann started with the company on April 1, 2010, and was terminated on June 30, 2011.The company initially denied the claims on the basis that "it may have certain causes of action against Mr. McCann for certain acts and omissions made during his employment" -- allegations that McCann denied. McCann filed a priority claim of $12,725 and general claim of $34,425. The $19,000 lump sum settlement still has to be approved by a bankruptcy court judge, which has scheduled a hearing on it for July 24.The court in June approved the $40,000 claim of former President Peter E. Janke. It was half the amount Janke sad he was owed. Janke, a former Raytheon executive, first joined the firm as a board member in June 2010 and took over as president in September 2010 with a base salary of $240,000.Janke also signed a severance agreement entitling him to receive six months' salary if he was terminated by the company "without cause." Janke was terminated in April 1, 2011, as part of a restructuring agreement, but he didn't get paid the severance. The company claimed he violated the severance terms by receiving self-employment income. Janke disputed that and filed suit in July 2011 in a state court in Virginia. But that suit was stalled when the company filed for bankruptcy protection. Janke agreed to drop the suit as part of the $40,000 settlement.Nguyen also filed suit against the company in Virginia, for $1.5 million, alleging that the board forced him to resign in June 2011, but there were no settlements regarding his claims as of July 9.In his suit, Nguyen alleged that the board's termination of Janke from under him and denial of severance was a "change in control," effectively freezing him out, and thereby giving him no choice but to resign.The company also updated its bankruptcy filing in light of recent settlements and claims. According to the update, the company has $2.5 million in assets and owes $1.3 million. Its biggest asset is a $2.4 million licensing contract with Microsoft. Indeed, the company, which previously disclosed it was considering moving to Seattle, Wash., to be near the software giant, now lists corporate headquarters in Gig Harbor, Wash., while its finance office is in Salem, N.H.Ezenia stock is still traded on the Pink Sheets, where it is currently trading for 6 cents a share, up from the penny low it reached following the bankruptcy filing. -- BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

 

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