What’s Going on with South Eastern Book Book Company, College Book Renter, and Chuck Jones?

Rumors are flying about South Eastern Book Company (which as of this morning has no active website), College Book Renter (website is still active), and Chuck Jones, and while not many answers can be found, here are a few of the stories that are being reported.

According to recent reports, Chuck Jones, CEO of South Eastern Book Company and College Book Renter, has stepped down. This is part of a lawsuit settlement with his former business partner.

The lawsuit, as reported, was filled by David Griffin and was filed in US District Court. According to documents, Jones used his network of companies for “his excessive personal gain” and “began to take steps to maximise his financial gains to the detriment of Griffin.”

The settling of the lawsuit by Griffin placed Jones’s companies into receivership, which has lead to additional lawsuits being filed in Circuit Four by Planters Bank for alleged breach of loan agreements.

Speaking with several employees inside both SE Book Co. and College Book Renter, it is clear that many of them are not really sure what’s going on, whom to believe, or even if they will have jobs next week. It’s a tenuous time and when asked if he expected the business to be open next week, a source replied, “Your guess is as good as mine.” Both companies already implemented a large round of layoffs earlier this year, which has of course led to much of the present uncertainty.

If history has anything to say neither, company should look to their competition for acquisition and bailout. When Borders was hanging on by a thread, rumors were flying that B&N would buy. Management watched as the company went into bankruptcy and then purchased the intellectual property in court. In 2008, Follett Corporation purchased Varsity Group for $0.20 per share in what amounted to more of purchase of the debt and very little cash for the equity. The industry hasn’t been kind to companies that have struggled.

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