Rumor Central: Animation Collective Not Paying Artists?

Just a week after the news about Nick’s downsizing in New York comes this rumor about NY studio Animation Collective. A reliable Cartoon Brew reader writes:

“I wanted to let you know that I recently spoke to one of my friends and colleagues who works (worked) at Animation Collective in NYC. It looks like they shut down shop (whole staff) because they couldn’t pay their employees. Larry Schwarz (CEO) told the staff that one of their contracted clients can’t pay them. Word on the street is that Animation Collective hasn’t paid their staff in four weeks! Another gloom sign in the animation world. Ugh. Can it get worse? I’m guessing yes.”

Can anybody provide more details about the situation? Let’s hope this is not true because it would be a disgraceful and unacceptable way for any studio to treat their employees.

UPDATE: We received an email from an artist who had been working at Animation Collective. The artist asked for anonymity but allowed some of the information to be shared with Cartoon Brew readers. The artist says that not all the productions at the studio were affected, however the studio was never compensated for one of the productions that they completed for a French producer. Since being laid off, the artist still hasn’t received AT LEAST four weeks of payroll, some of it dating back to September and October. According to this artist, the studio hired accountants and lawyers to help them recover the money owed, but to date Animation Collective hasn’t delivered any of the backpay and isn’t offering details about what’s happening. They only apologize to employees and say their payments have been delayed.