Creditor claims against Adelphia Communications Corp. total a staggering $3 trillion, or close to 40 percent of the national debt, Dow Jones Newswires reported. But many of the claims pending against the nation's fifth-largest cable company could turn out to be duplicates, and may be more like $18.6 billion when all is said and done.
Regardless, the company's structure is extremely complex and more than 60 accountants are wading through mountains of documents trying to reconcile claims against the Colorado company's 243 separate entities.
Company spokesman Paul Jacobson told Dow Jones that Adelphia's case is "arguably the most complex bankruptcy in U.S. business. It is a strange animal."
"A person is only entitled to be paid once, but trying to sort that out turns into an accounting nightmare," Paul Rubner, a Denver bankruptcy lawyer, told Dow Jones. He said creditors must correctly identify the entity that owes them.
"The good news is that you have to be specific about where you file it," Rubner said. "The bad news is that if the client is unsure, the lawyer is apt to file it in every possible case."
With more than 5 million subscribers, the cable company filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and expects to restate its financial statements from 1999 through 2001.
The company's founder John Rigas, and his son Timothy were convicted this year of conspiracy, bank fraud and securities fraud for looting the company and lying about its finances before the bankruptcy, Dow Jones reported.