Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — Fashion designer Rebecca Danenberg and her husband, Charles Helm, have filed for personal bankruptcy in Manhattan.
According to Friday’s Chapter 7 filing, the personal bankruptcy is connected to the liabilities of her firm, RDNYC Inc., which is still in bankruptcy proceedings after filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in Manhattan on May 4. Helm is listed as chief executive officer of RDNYC for the last six years, while Danenberg has been employed as a designer for Tahari Ltd. in Ridgefield, N.J., since May. Her monthly salary is listed at $10,750, with a take-home pay of $6,759. They live in a rent stabilized apartment in Manhattan, paying monthly rent of $1,370. Their total monthly expenses, according to the filing, are $8,386.
The couple has pegged total assets at $6,224, with total liabilities at $2.58 million. Liabilities include $76,371 in unsecured priority claims and $2.5 million in unsecured nonpriority claims.
Assets include $2,500 in household furniture and fixtures, $1,000 in savings and checking accounts, and the bulk of the balance from the present cash surrender value of multiple life insurance policies.
Among the creditors holding unsecured priority claims are: Internal Revenue Service, $3,189 in personal income tax liability for the 1998 tax year, and $57,773 for federal and F.I.C.A. employment taxes incurred on behalf of her firm, RDNYC, from 1998 to the present; and the New York Department of Taxation & Finance, $15,360 for withholding employment taxes since 1998, also on behalf of her bankrupt company.
The tally of liabilities to creditors holding unsecured nonpriority claims includes multiple creditors that provided funds or services to RDNYC, for which Danenberg and her husband might be subject to personal liability. RDNYC is listed as co-debtor. Some of those creditors were listed as: NYCIC, guarantee of $568,000; OSG Corp., North Woodmere, N.Y., guarantee of $395,000; Hilldun Corp., guarantee of $229,000; Fashion Clothing Service Inc., $124,000; Daniel & Samuel Bouzaglou, Brooklyn, N.Y., guarantee of $100,000; Paul Beatty, Uniondale, N.Y., $70,000; Andrew Clark, $16,600; Aetna U.S. Healthgroup, Philadelphia, $14,469; Chase Manhattan Bank, guarantee of a $12,000 commercial loan in 1998; Elite Model Management Corp., $8.700; Hermes Leather Corp., $8,087; Company Agenda, $7,365; and 213 Bowery Realty, $6,000.
Other unsecured creditors include Amex Corporate Card, guarantee of $417,000 on the card for RDNYC; and Amex Travel, Phoenix, $79,255 for goods and services also related to RDNYC.
RDNYC has a tentative court hearing on July 12. Paul Beatty, a creditor owed $70,000, is seeking bankruptcy court approval to lift an automatic stay so his action against the firm can be litigated. The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 16, 2000, in a state court in Nassau County, arose from a note personally guaranteed by Helm and Danenberg promising that the bankrupt firm would pay the $70,000 borrowed from Beatty to finance purchase orders. Beatty filed his request to the bankruptcy court before the designer and her husband sought Chapter 7 liquidation.
According to RDNYC’s petition at the time of the filing, the firm said it received $611,669 so far this year in sales, design and licensing fees. The amount for 1999 was $3.1 million compared with $2.7 million in 1998.
The firm has been embroiled in an unspecified legal dispute with Sankyo Seiko Co. Ltd., its Japanese distributor. The licensing agreement, according to the firm’s Chapter 11 petition, runs through Dec. 31, 2015, and the minimum annual royalty is $26,000. Sankyo paid $279,800 in November 1999 to buy 10 shares of stock in RDNYC.

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