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Judge rejects Givens' bid to lead company again

Published Jul. 4, 1997|Updated Oct. 1, 2005

Nationally known financial guru Charles J. Givens Jr. won't be making a comeback as head of the troubled Central Florida company that once bore his name.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Karen S. Jennemann this week denied his bid to regain control of International Administrative Services Inc., the Longwood company formerly known as the Charles J. Givens Organization.

"I had filed a plan to go in and save it, but unfortunately, it's not going to make it," said Givens, a controversial and flamboyant lecturer who still owns the company, but stepped down as its chief executive five years ago. "It has no direction and no marketing. There's nothing really left of it."

Current president David Phillips will remain in charge under the bankruptcy reorganization plan approved this week. International Administrative Services, which sells educational materials about personal finance, has about 50 employees and 96,000 clients.

Givens is the author of several investment books, including the best-selling Wealth Without Risk, in which he claimed to have made and lost $1-million in three ventures before learning the secrets of wealth he shared with others.

However, he and his company have been the targets of lawsuits and investigations since the mid-1980s. California investors sued him for misrepresentation and last year won a $14-million judgment, now under appeal. He paid nearly $400,000 in refunds and costs two years ago to settle the state of Florida's accusations of fraud and deceptive business practices.

Givens and his wife still live in the Orlando area, where they have started a non-profit company called Health Technologies 2000 to educate people about alternative cancer therapies available outside the United States. Givens, 56, said he found a successful treatment for his prostate cancer _ volcanic ash injections he received in the Dominican Republic.

He said he also has visited 309 countries during the past five years and is spending time with his 3-year-old daughter.

"I did everything I wanted to do in the financial field," he said. "After I wrote all the financial books and put all my strategies out, there was not much left for me to do."

Under the reorganization plan, most of International Administrative Services' unsecured creditors would receive 25 cents on the dollar. Some additional compensation could come from creditors' lawsuits seeking to seize Givens' overseas assets.

"This plan represents an earnest attempt by current management to operate an honest business, serve its members and repay its creditors," Judge Jennemann said.

When the company sought protection from creditors last summer, it cited liabilities of $15.3-million and assets of $14.5-million.

In January, creditors blocked Givens' access to his assets via a court order in Guernsey, an island in the English Channel. Givens is trying to get that ruling lifted and reverse Jennemann's order that allowed the Guernsey court to play a role in the case.

_ Information from Times wires was used in this report.