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Grading firm staffs play musical chairs

Two top grading companies are seeing many of their staff members switch teams following a recent change in ownership at one firm.
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Two top grading companies are seeing many of their staff members switch teams following a recent change in ownership at one firm.

Significant portions of the Independent Coin Grading Co. staff have joined ANACS and its new owner James Taylor, while several graders dismissed from ANACS have been hired by ICG.

Taylor purchased the assets of ANACS from Anderson Press, Inc. on Dec. 21 and moved the ANACS office from Austin, Texas, to Englewood, Colo., where ICG is located. Up until Dec. 3, Taylor had been president of ICG.
The switch in staffing may have legal repercussions, according to attorney Kevin Kline of the Miami law firm of Kline, Moore and Klein P.A.

Kline told Numismatic News on Jan. 7 that 20 or 21 members of the ICG staff moved to ANACS following its purchase by Driving Force, Taylor?s limited liability corporation.

In turn, Kline said, ICG has hired four or five of the ANACS graders that had been dismissed by Taylor Dec. 26 after his purchase of the ANACS assets.

Kline represents ICG owners Mark and Alan Yaffe of National Gold Exchange and their 3 Black Diamond holding corporation.

Kline said the firm ?was functioning pretty well,? despite the loss of a number of staff members.

?It?s the intention of the owners of the assets of ICG to keep it operating and to provide better service than people have come to expect,? Kline said.
Hiring the former ANACS graders was a step in that direction.

He said ICG has attempted to hire as many former ANACS graders as it could.

?Clearly one party is wearing the white hat and one party is wearing the black hat,? he said.

Kline said the story of the Yaffe involvement with ICG dated to late 2002 when the company was ?really struggling, near bankruptcy.?

Noncompete covenants were signed involving Taylor, grader J.P. Martin and former ICG owner Keith Love.

ICG management was left as it was. By the end of 2006 the finances started to turn around, and 2007 was even better, Kline said.

It was then, Kline said, that ICG management, including Taylor, asked the Yaffes to sell the company. The Yaffes were not interested.

On Dec. 3 Taylor submitted his resignation to ICG. On the same day he registered Driving Force with the Colorado secretary of state?s office, Kline said.

Kline said Taylor purchased ANACS? assets and paid partly with cash and partly with a note with a security interest to the seller.

The ANACS office was moved to an Englewood, Colo., site that is within two miles of the ICG office.

Kline said that Martin, who also resigned from ICG in December, appeared on the Home Shopping Network for three days at the end of 2007 offering 2008 first day of issue coins in ANACS holders and tags that are very similar to ICG holders.

?All this is set out in things we are proceeding on,? Kline said.
Taylor declined to comment.