MARK TWAIN CONCERN GIVES UP THE GHOST
Plasmon Company of America Unable to Meet Obligations and Receiver is Named.
LIABILITIES ARE $27,000
"Take Plasmon into Your Stomach and Trust in God," Said Humorist Before He Bought Stock.
A petition in bankruptcy was filed yesterday against Plasmon Company of America which Mark Twain is Acting President. The petition is likely to end the business life of a concern in which the humorist became interested while in Europe through testing the merits of the company's product.
Mr. Clemens first wrote a testimonial to the effect that if you took plasmon into your stomach and trusted in God you were all right. Then he bought some stock in the English Company, afterward going into the American company.
The petition was filed by three former officers of the company. William B. McGann has a claim for salary as President to April 30, 1906, amounting to $2,500; William T. Robson, former Secretary and Treasurer, has a salary claim amounting to $1,000, and Ralph W. Ashcroft claims $855 for salary as General Manager and for money lent.
The petition alleges that the company was insolvent in December, and that its inability to pay its debts was admitted in the following letter signed by Mr. Clemens and addressed to Mr. McGann:
Dear Sir: Replying to your letter of the 4th inst. regarding your claim of $1,000 against the Plasmon Company of America, I beg to state that the company is unable to pay the same, as it has not sufficient funds to do so. Its available bank balance is $13.08. It has $902.49 on deposit with the Knickerbocker Trust Company, but, as you know, this will not be available for some time to come. Its accounts receivable amount to but $30.46, and it owes you and other creditors $27,023.69. Its nominal assets are $10,596.19; as follows: Patent rights, &c., $7,487.60; stale casein, $1,162.56; machinery, $1,000; cash in bank, $915.57; accounts receivable, $30.46. In other assets, furniture, &c., were this day sold by the Sheriff under execution. The company is therefore hopelessly insolvent, and it is willing to be adjudicated a bankrupt on that ground. Yours very truly,
PLASMON COMPANY OF AMERICA.
S. L. CLEMENS, Acting President and Vice President.
The Sheriff's sale referred to was in execution of a judgment for $1020, in favor of William Kermish, and realized $250. There has been a contest on between the English and American stockholders for some time and much internal dissension in the company. The concern went into bankruptcy in 1905, but the proceedings were dismissed a year later. Mark Twain has been acting as an officer and harmonizer since April, 1906. The company was incorporated in 1902 with a capital of $750,000.
Judge Hough, in the United States District Court yesterday appointed Charles L. Brookheim receiver and fixed the bond at $500. The company's plant is at Briar Cliff Manor.
At Mark Twain's house last night his secretary said that the author was only nominally the Vice President of the company. Mr. Clemens was then asked if it was tree, as reported by some of his friends, that he had been swindled.
"It is, " said Mr. Clemens.
"Out of how much?"
"Oh, about $32,000. I held $25,000 worth of the stock, and one of the members of the company swindled me out of $12,500 later. No, I won't say I was swindled out of the $25,000. The company failed because of bad management. I ought not to say I was swindled out of all the money. Most of it was lost through bad business. I was always bad in business.
"Please don't confound the bankrupt company with the English-Plasmon Company," went on Mark Twain. "That company is paying 5 or 6 per cent., which pretty good for an English company. I hold about $80,000 worth of the stock of that company."
Karen Lystra's DANGEROUS INTIMACY
(University of California Press, 2004).
available from amazon.com
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